Comparative Politics Today: A World View

By Gabriel A. Almond | Go to book overview

Chapter 3 Political Socialization and Political Culture

Social scientists use the term socialization to refer to the way children are introduced to the values and attitudes of their society and how they learn what will be expected of them in their adult roles. Political socialization is the part of this process that shapes specifically political values, suggesting how each member of the society is expected to participate in the political system. Most children, at a relatively early age, acquire distinctive political attitudes and expectations. One recent study1 of British and French children in their early teens revealed some striking differences in attitudes toward political authority.

The interviewer used a story-completion technique in which the child was given the beginning of a narrative and asked to complete it.

Interviewer: One day the Queen was driving her car to a meeting. Because she was late, she was driving very fast. The police stop the car. Finish the story.

Susan: Well, really, the police wouldn't really stop the Queen driving the car, because somebody would be escorting the Queen to the meeting and that would stop the rest of the cars so she wouldn't really need to be going fast. People have got time to wait for the Queen. She wouldn't really be late.

Interviewer: Let's suppose for the purpose of this question that the Queen was driving by herself in a car and she wanted to go out and away from all the other people and the police stopped her for going fast.

Susan: Well, the police might have stopped her, but as soon as they saw it was the Queen they

____________________
1
Fred I. Greenstein and Sidney Tarrow, "Political Orientations of Children: The Use of a Semi-Projective Technique in Three Nations," in H. Eckstein and T. R. Gurr (eds.), Sage Professional Paper in Comparative Politics Series, vol. 1 ( 1970). The excerpts from this study are reprinted by permission of the authors and the publisher, Sage Publications, Inc., Beverly Hills, California. See also Fred I. Greenstein, "Children's Images of Political Leaders in Three Democracies," paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans, September 4-8, 1973.

-43-

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Comparative Politics Today: A World View
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Part I Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 the Study of Comparative Politics 3
  • Chapter 2 Issues in Comparative Politics 14
  • Part II Political Processes 41
  • Chapter 3 Political Socialization and Political Culture 43
  • Chapter 4 Political Participation 57
  • Chapter 5 Interest Groups and Interest Articulation 73
  • Chapter 6 Political Parties and Party Systems 88
  • Chapter 7 Policy Making and Implementation 113
  • Part III Country Studies 129
  • Chapter 8 Politics in England 131
  • Chapter 8 Politics in England 131
  • Selected Bibliography 443
  • Index 449
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