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The aim of this study was to investigate why communities vary in their ability to mobilize their residents for community development purposes. Social capital and age stratification perspectives framed this research. The density of local acquaintanceships, the percentage of the baby boom generation in a community, and the percentage of the “long civic generation,” born between 1910 and 1940 (Putnam 2000) in a community were hypothesized to predict levels of community mobilization. Data from a mail survey completed by residents from 99 rural towns in a Midwestern state were used to perform correlational and multivariate regression analyses. Results show that the acquaintanceship density in a community was significantly and positively associated with community mobilization. Acquaintanceship density was also found to mediate the relationship between community mobilization and the proportions of boomers and the long civic generation in a community. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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