In this article we examine generalised helping and specifically the importance people attach to helping other people, the extent to which they help in practice and their perceptions of how much people living locally help each other. We consider the extent to which the value of help is associated with other civic engagement activities such as, for example, volunteering, signing a petition and contacting a politician. Our findings suggest that the importance people attach to helping others and the extent to which they help in practice (in terms of helping with or attending activities in their local area) varies considerably across Europe. People are more likely to see helping other people as important than actually help in practice. However, helping in practice is more strongly associated than helping as a value, with other civic engagement activities. It seems that the value of help is detached from what people do in their everyday lives. Both the value of help and helping in practice are associated with the extent to which people in their local area are perceived to help each other. Our findings concerning generalised helping have important implications for the understanding of civic society and the contribution citizens can make. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
- civic engagement
- Europe multilevel modeling