Why do individuals choose to participate in politics and public life? This is an important question, since much of public policy depends on direct or indirect citizen support in the form of compliance, engagement, or collective action. Without it, even sound policies can fail to be broadly implemented. This course provides a “bottom up” view by exploring the motivations and constraints behind various kinds of civic engagement. We will cover voting, political mobilization, cooperation with the state, and the role of public opinion in both the American and international policy contexts. We will primarily read book chapters and articles in the field of political science, but the ramifications of our discussions will extend far beyond the field of politics and should be useful to a broad range of students interested in policy-making, implementation, and social change.