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Citizen Participation: Home

Covers political, social, environmental and economic activities aimed at building a better and more democratic and sustainable society

What's It All About?

Active citizenship is an umbrella concept that looks at the rights and responsibilities of citizens, regardless of the place they call home. Activities can be local or global in focus. Keywords include citizenship, participatory rights, engagement, activism, civil society, volunteerism, grassroots, etc. This page pays some attention to theory, but more to case studies, approaches, tools across political, social, economic, and environmental spheres of society.

Check out the Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice for background material on the many forms and approaches to the topic.

Related Subject Gudies

MSU Libraries' Human Rights Guide - A brief guide to human rights research tools.

About this LibGuide

Created by Terry Link.

Participatory and/or Citizen Rights

What rights might we have that are largely considered basic human rights, whether they are currently exercised or constrained in our society? Global bodies like the United Nations have spelled some out especially for groups that have historically been left out including the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Disabled Persons, and Children. Specific participatory rights have also been noted by area of interest, e.g., in decisions regarding the environment. These rights are also sometimes considered as rights to assembly, to petition, to associate, and to vote. See also guide to the broader topic of "Human Rights".

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - See particularly Article 29 "Participation in Political and Public Life".

Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development - from the 1992 Earth Summit, see especially Principle 10 "Public Participation" in decisions regarding the environment

UN Convention on Rights of the Child - a fact sheet that illuminates rights of children to participate in decisions.

Finding Journal Articles

Whether looking for scholarly articles, case studies, recent news, or simply the insights of activists, there are numerous tools to use. Below is a short targeted list, but if you aren't finding what you need, consult with a librarian to assist your research.

SearchPlus pulls together a large number of databases (including the Library Catalog) into a unified search engine, increasing one's chances of finding results by keyword or phrase.  Whenever possible, links are provided directly to the online source identified.

Expanded Academic ASAP (1980 to date).   Provides coverage of 3,000 indexed and 1,900 full-text titles in a wide variety of disciplines including: social science journals, humanities journals, science and technology journals, national news periodicals, general interest magazines, newswires, The New York Times and many others. More than 1,400 journals are peer reviewed, and more than 20 years of backfile coverage are included.

Proquest Research Library (indexing: 1971 to date; full-text: 1991 to date).  Provides online access to an extensive collection of published material. You can search for information in thousands of different journals, periodicals, dissertations, newspapers, and magazines. Complete articles -- in full text, page image, or UMI's unique Text+Graphics format -- are available for many of the most popular and important sources. Provides full text coverage of over 400 journals. However, full text coverage varies by date from journal to journal..


Workers' Rights

Rights of employees to participate in decisions in the workplace vary widely. These are some basic resources.

Employer/Union Rights and Obligations. National Labor Relations Board.  The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining or assisting a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes, or from working together to improve terms and conditions of employment, or refraining from any such activity. Similarly, labor organizations may not restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of these rights.

Workers' Rights: A Bibliography - a somewhat dated, but still useful compilation from the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Library at the University of California - Berkeley.

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