Political Socialization Part 1 What is political socialization? • The learning process by which people acquire their opinions, beliefs, and values. • The process: primacy tendencychildhood learning • Structuring tendency- cumulative • Age-cohort tendency: breaking from the parents. The Agents of Socialization: • School: individual rights get more liberal in college • Family: the strongest • Peers: friends, co-workers • Religion: • Protestant conservative • Catholic more liberal The Agents of Socialization • Gender: Men more conservative, women more liberal (more nurturing?) • Ex: Nascar Dads & Soccer Moms • Race: The lighter the more conservative. Blacks most solid group • What about Hispanics and Asians? • Income: The more wealth, the more conservative. The Agents of Socialization • The mass media: news coverage and commercials. “Spinning” The Agents of Socialization • Political leaders and institutions: the importance of charisma and lobbying. It can be fickle! How Americans think politically • Reminder: we have a deeper commitment to individualism • Ideology: a consistent pattern of opinion on particular issues that stems from core beliefs • There are four major ideological types… End of Part One Leave already! Conservative • Individuals who oppose an activist role in govt. for economics, but look for the govt. To uphold traditional social values Conservative • “The Big L” • Like big tax cuts Classic Liberalism v. Modern Liberalism • Classic: from 18th century, wanted protection of property and limited role of govt. • This is similar to today’s conservative! • Modern (New Deal) Liberalism: wanted an expanded role of govt. • Corporation seen as threat to liberty Liberal • Favor activist government as an instrument of economic redistribution but reject that it should favor certain social values(?) Populist • Individuals who share a with conservatives a concern for traditional values, but like liberals, favor an active role in economics • Most committed to activism Libertarians • Are opposed to government intervention in both economic and social spheres • Most committed to ind. freedom Discussion: Which group opposes all forms of government activism? How does US voter turnout compare? • Though the process has become more democratic, rates still low • Avg. 50% in Presidential elections • 30-40% in Congressional midterm elections Surprising, given most barriers to voting have been broken down… • • • • • • Religion & property (Jackson) Race (15th amendment) Sex (19th) Income (24th) Literacy (VR Act of 1965) Age (26th) So why do so few vote?! • US, unlike most countries requires voter registration? • National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (Motor Voter Law) = no change • Too long of a ballot? • Difficulty obtaining absentee ballot? • Too many elections? • Lack of political efficacy? (our twoparty system?) What trends do you see? What reasons can you conclude for this?
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