Political Socialization: Modeling Teen Political and Civic Engagement

By Warren, Ron; Wicks, Robert H. | Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Political Socialization: Modeling Teen Political and Civic Engagement


Warren, Ron, Wicks, Robert H., Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly


Research on adolescent political and civic engagement has focused on a wide variety of socializing agents, including parents, school, peers, and the media. This study builds an explanatory model that connects macro-level (e.g., religion, education) and micro-level (parents, school curricula, and media) socialization agents. Using the ecological systems model of child development, the study shows a pattern of influence involving parents' political engagement and civic engagement, as well as teens' use of online political media. Media influence in the context of other factors is noted, along with the model's implications for further research on political socialization.

The past three decades have been a time during which many have decried an erosion of political and civic engagement among the citizenry of the United States.1 In addition to declining voter turnout, citizens eschew working for candidates and causes, choosing public service, and following public affairs presented in the news. This apparent decline has been most pronounced among younger Americans who have historically been the least engaged. However, Zukin, Keeter, Andolina, Jenkins, and Delli Carpini have made a compelling argument suggesting that "citizens are participating in a different mix of activities from in the past, and this is due largely to the process of generational replacement."2 Specifically, they argue that young people are "matching their elders in the public expression of their civic voices,"3 aided in part by the Internet. Civic and political engagement among the young has spread to a "wider variety of channels" that may require "different listening skills among political and social analysts."4 In sum, the trends identified by Putnam may be reversing as a generational turnover takes place, warranting consideration of new types of civic and political engagement among youth.5

The 2008 presidential election provided an excellent opportunity to investigate political and civic engagement on the part of adolescents in the United States. First, it should be noted that general declines in voter turnout since 1960 were reversed during the past decade with a 62% turnout in 2008,6 including the third consecutive increase by voters younger than 30 years of age.7 The 2008 presidential campaign featured unprecedented events, such as the nomination of the first African American and the credible bid for the nomination by former First Lady Hillary Clinton. A wide range of important issues, such as a collapsing economy, universal health care, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, provided for spirited debate. Democratic societies encourage political and civic engagement among young citizens because they will become future political and social leaders. Citizens who are politically and civically engaged may have a long-term impact on society. Hence, understanding factors contributing to teens' political and civic engagement is an important area of study as youth emerge as voters and leaders.

Political and civic engagement requires an interest in the public policy sphere, along with an effort to learn about the underlying dimensions of important political, social, and economic issues. Not all citizens are willing to exert the effort needed to understand these dimensions of important policy debates. In this study, we address the notion of "generational replacement"8 by employing a theory of human development. We operate against the backdrop of ecological systems theory9 advanced by child development psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner to evaluate the relationship between both traditional and online media, along with the wider variety of channels that adolescents may utilize with respect to political engagement and civic engagement.10

Guided by ecological systems theory, we consider important traditional socialization elements, including parental political and civic engagement, school activities, and discussion of politics within the home. We also examine newer channels, such as teen online political activity, to understand how newer technologies may be relevant with respect to political and civic engagement.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Political Socialization: Modeling Teen Political and Civic Engagement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.