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Political Character of Adolescence: The Influence of Families and Schools

Political Character of Adolescence: The Influence of Families and Schools

M. KENT JENNINGS
RICHARD G. NIEMI
Copyright Date: 1974
Pages: 372
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x0sjz
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  • Book Info
    Political Character of Adolescence: The Influence of Families and Schools
    Book Description:

    This book shows how specific agents shape the political character of adolescents, how response to these agents varies according to sex, race, and other factors, and how political learning changes through the life-cycle and across generations.

    Originally published in 1975.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6879-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. iii-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. I Introduction

    • CHAPTER ONE Political Learning, Individual Behavior, and the Political System
      (pp. 3-34)

      The summer of 1971 witnessed a signal event in American political history. With the ratification of the twenty-sixth amendment, full-scale national suffrage became a reality for eighteen-year-olds. Just what the electoral consequences of that enfranchisement would be no one could be sure. Nor was there certainty about the form and magnitude of other political, legal, and social ramifications which would probably follow in the wake of the extension. If nothing else, however, the action had great symbolic importance for it indicated to both young and old that the age of political maturity had dropped and that the eighteen- to twenty-year-olds...

  7. II Adolescents and Their Parents

    • CHAPTER TWO Attachments to the Political Parties
      (pp. 37-62)

      The nature of parties and of the party system have come to be recognized as critical features of the adult political world. Attachments of the electorate to the parties have been related to events at the micro level of the individual voter and to events at the macro level of the functioning of political systems.¹ Comparative studies have shown that partisanship is an important phenomenon in many countries² and historical studies have begun to outline the impact of party affiliations in earlier years.³ At the adult level, then, there is little doubt that partisanship is a singularly important political orientation....

    • CHAPTER THREE Opinions on Public Policy Issues
      (pp. 63-92)

      It might be argued that specific public issues are too transitory to warrant a prominent place in the study of political socialization. As Hyman noted over a decade ago, the “mere socialization of the child into a particular attitude or even a cluster of attitudes is bound to be an inadequate mechanism to provide the individual with a fully prepared view to meet future political issues in adult life. The world is ever changing and the specific events that will emerge in the political arena in future decades cannot all be anticipated. The individual would thus have to face some...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Political Knowledge and Conceptual Sophistication
      (pp. 93-118)

      How knowledgeable are high school seniors about public affairs and politics? This blunt question is asked often and in a variety of practical and theoretical contexts. It was frequently raised, for example, in discussions of the eighteen-year-old vote. Proponents argued that high school graduates knew as much as or more about politics than many adults and that with several additional years of disenfranchisement their knowledge probably deteriorated anyway. Opponents countered that recent graduates knew many facts about our government and political system, but they lacked a kind of knowledge and understanding that comes only with experience.

      More general, if less...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Citizenship Roles Within the System
      (pp. 119-152)

      Defining one’s relation to the political community is an important stage in the development of the political self. Just as the individual develops a repertoire of expectations and skills with respect to other individuals, so too with respect to political institutions. Since the dawn of civilization humanity has had to contend with various forms of organized authority relationships, but it is only with the advent of the modern nation-state that these relationships have been so shot through with questions of civic obligation and participation, national loyalty and support, and the common good.

      Given the fact that children are born into...

    • CHAPTER SIX The Consequences of Parental Agreement Patterns
      (pp. 153-178)

      Past thinking about families and political socialization has often made two interrelated, dubious assumptions. The first is that a single parental or family force shapes the political character of the child. From this point of view either parent may be taken indiscriminantly as a focal point in studying the socialization process. Thus, in accounting for the familial sources of a child’s political orientations, the relevant social, personal, and political attributes of the mother and father are not clearly differentiated. At the same time, little consideration is given to the prospect that the attributes of each parent may work together in...

  8. III The Impact of the Educational System

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Effects of the High School Civics Curriculum
      (pp. 181-206)
      KENNETH P. LANGTON

      The founders of the American republic stressed the importance of education to the success of democratic and republican government. Starting from its early days the educational system incorporated civic training. Textbooks exposing threats to the new republic were being used in American schools by the 1790s. By 1915, the term “civics” became associated with high school courses which emphasized the study of political institutions and citizenship training.¹

      Throughout this period to the present, however, there has been controversy over the objectives, content, and impact of government courses. While most educators can agree that the development of good citizenship is important,...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Social Studies Teachers and Their Pupils
      (pp. 207-228)
      LEE H. EHMAN

      Of all high school teachers those in the social studies are perhaps the most maligned. This dubious distinction rests on two main bases. First, the very nature of their subject matter makes social studies teachers obvious targets in the community. They may easily stray into areas of sensitivity and controversy, thereby arousing the enmity of parents and other interested parties. Closely connected with this danger is the fact that these teachers also deal with topics about which laymen often feel remarkably informed. Whereas parents would seldom challenge the performance of a high school chemistry teacher on strictly professional and pedagogical...

    • CHAPTER NINE The Political Texture of Peer Groups
      (pp. 229-248)
      SUZANNE KOPRINCE SEBERT

      In the previous two chapters we dealt with the more formal, pedagogical side of the educational system. But schools are not just settings for academic learning. Rather, schools are dynamic social systems which involve, among other things, frequent peer group transactions and extracurricular activities. In this chapter we take up this other side of school life in an attempt to see how it conditions the political character of late adolescents.

      Adolescence is a time of trial and experimentation, a time during which, to use Erickson’s overworked term, the search for “identity” quickens.¹ It is also a time when the child...

  9. IV Longitudinal Perspectives

    • CHAPTER TEN Political Development over the Life Cycle
      (pp. 251-284)

      In Part II we commented frequently on differences in the aggregate distributions of student and parent orientations. Only by implication, however, did we confront the question of why those differences existed. Here we take up that question directly by focusing on the developmental pattern of political orientations over the life cycle. In particular, we wish to utilize our data as well as other available evidence concerning age and political behavior and attitudes in order to specify the variety of developmental sequences through which political orientations move.

      Initial studies of political socialization focused attention on three major aspects of political development.¹...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Re-Creation and Change of the Political Culture
      (pp. 285-316)

      How faithfully does the younger generation reproduce the pattern of political orientations found in the older generation? Conversely, how great is the change in political attitudes and behavior from one generation to the next? These are deceptively simple questions, and ones that deserve our full attention in this chapter. In a sense, of course, much of Part II was devoted to this topic. There we examined in detail the transmission of certain political attitudes between parents and their children. Had we found a high degree of parent-child correspondence, our opening questions would already have received a clear answer. But the...

  10. V Conclusion

    • CHAPTER TWELVE Political Learning in Perspective
      (pp. 319-336)

      Much of our discussion has concerned, in one way or another, the sources of the late adolescent’s political character. In particular the role of the family and the school came under scrutiny. Surveying this vast array of findings, we are left with something of a paradox. No single source stands out as obviously dominant across all political orientations; indeed it sometimes seems as though no source has contributed to the formation of the adolescent’s political make-up. The similarity between students and their parents was often modest and even in the best of circumstances less than half of the variance in...

  11. APPENDIX: Study Design and Execution
    (pp. 337-348)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 349-357)