International Business Case Study: China and Caterpillar

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Running Head: POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT

Politics Doesn’t Affect Me…Does It?: The Affects of Counter-Attitudinal Advocacy on Students’ Political and Civic Engagement Attitudes

Elizabeth L. Chupp

Illinois State University

December 10, 2008

Com 424: Seminar in Persuasion

Final Paper

Abstract
The youth of our nation have been experiencing a decline in their levels of political and civic engagement over the past several years. Several scholars argue that it is the responsibility of higher education to increase the political engagement levels of our country’s youth. Further, the basic communication course provides the optimal environment in which to incorporate political engagement skills since they compliment the existing communication pedagogy. Many students enter college with negative attitudes towards political engagement, and this study seeks to explore whether educators can change students’ existing attitudes through the use of counter-attitudinal advocacy mechanisms in the classroom. This study uses a pre-test, post-test design to measure students’ attitudes towards political and civic engagement at the beginning and the end of the semester in the basic communication course to determine if counter-attitudinal advocacy mechanisms are influential in changing students’ attitudes. Results of the study along with directions for future research are also discussed. If CAA proves successful in altering students’ attitudes towards political and civic engagement, this research will provide educators with a concrete mechanism to implement in their classrooms.

Politics Doesn’t Affect Me…Does It?: The Affects of Counter-Attitudinal Advocacy on Students’ Political and Civic Engagement Attitudes
The democracy we enjoy in the United States is one of the core elements that makes our country great; however, it is also a privilege, and a democracy cannot function without the participation of its citizens. According to Colby, Beaumont, Ehrlich, and Corngold (2007), democracies are only as strong as the “citizens, actions, and goals that animate them” (p. 25). They go on to note that a democracy is “fundamentally a practice of shared responsibility for a common future” (Colby et al., 2007, p. 25). In order for a democracy to function to its fullest potential, it not only needs participation from its citizens, but it also needs those citizens to be informed and responsible. As American citizens, preserving and maintaining our democracy should be one of our primary goals. One of the key factors in preserving and maintaining our democracy is passing down our democratic values to the younger generations of our country. It is the responsibility of the older generations to teach our country’s youth how to become politically and civically engaged so they can in turn impact the democratic values of future generations.

Unfortunately, the youth of our nation have been experiencing a decline in their levels of political and civic engagement over the past several years. As reported by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), “youth voter turnout among citizens varies substantially across states…However, youth turnout still remains substantially below turnout for adults 25 and older” (Donovan, Lopez, & Sagoff, 2005, p. 1). In fact, “nationally, youth voter turnout in 2004 was 47 percent, and voter turnout among adults over age 25 was 66 percent” (Donovan et al., 2005, p. 1). These statistics show a disturbing trend among the youth of our nation which desperately needs improvement; however, there is reason to hope that the levels of youth political engagement may be improving. According to CIRCLE (2008), the youth vote accounted for a substantial percentage of the overall voting total in the 2008 presidential election. While this is certainly promising, there is still much work that needs to be done to continue to...
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