This book examines how our inherent sociability shapes our behavior as citizens.  Utilizing a wide variety of experimental and survey data from settings as diverse as the wealthy suburbs of Illinois to the streets of South Los Angeles, this book identifies the social influences that underlie a variety of political activities ranging from voter turnout to political contributions.  Its central finding is that, rather than being merely a source of information, people’s social networks have a direct and immediate influence on people’s political behavior.  In particular, it is often people’s non-political social connections that shape their actions as citizens.  Because people form social bonds around a variety of common interests and because most people value these relationships and want to avoid disagreements, they often adopt similar behavior to those in their social networks, even when they conflict with their own individual preferences.  The Social Citizen not only documents when such social influences occur but examines what implications they have for the democratic process.




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