The merits of teaching local history: increased place attachment enhances civic engagement and social trust

Anna Stefaniak*, Michal Bilewicz, Maria Lewicka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Low levels of civic engagement and social trust in post-communist countries constitute an important limitation to national economic growth and the well-being of inhabitants. In the current paper we propose that discovering local history should result in greater place attachment which constitutes a viable strategy for stimulating indicators of social capital. Specifically, we tested the influence of teaching local history on the development of interest in history, place attachment, and civic engagement. Two intervention studies (N1 = 486; N2 = 1098) confirmed that young people who learned about local history displayed increased interest in that history, greater place attachment, civic engagement intentions, and generalized social trust. We also demonstrate the relevance of place attachment as a link between greater interest in local history and increased civic engagement. The importance of stimulating youth civic engagement and generalized social trust are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-225
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume51
Early online date10 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Place attachment
  • Interest in history
  • Local history
  • Civic engagement
  • Social trust

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