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The effects on residential opportunity structures on participation patterns in voluntary organizations Scheu, William John

Abstract

The major focus of this investigation is to explore two alternative models of individual-environment articulation for explaining individual participation in voluntary organizations. The primary question posed is whether varying voluntary organizational opportunity densities of local residential areas operate to encourage organizational participation to the same degree for all residents; or whether the density of organizational opportunity elicits differential participation depending upon an individual's personal resources, or attachments to the local residential area. The development and analysis of the problem is informed by the theory and methods of "contextual analysis." The hypotheses were tested with data from 822 respondents randomly selected from eight different "social areas" in Metropolitan Vancouver. The areas were purposively chosen from a stratified typology—similar in nature to Wendall Bell's Social Area Typology. In general, the analysis suggests that the opportunity densities of a residential areas do not act independently of, but in combination with different individual characteristics to produce differences in organizational participation of urban residents. Increased organizational opportunities present in the immediate residential environment only conditionally affect an increase in organizational memberships for the better educated or the more wealthy.

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