Political Learning in Adulthood: A Sourcebook of Theory and Research

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Roberta S. Sigel
University of Chicago Press, 1989 - 483 pages
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In the wake of World War II, the issues of political stability in general and the survival of stable democracies in particular captured the attention of American political scientists. An inevitable offshoot of this interest was the study of political behavior—how it is acquired and how and why it persists. In its early stages, work on political socialization focused exclusively on childhood and adolescence, as if the learning process ends when adulthood begins. Only recently has adult socialization emerged as a legitimate field of study within political science.

In Political Learning in Adulthood, social scientists for the first time examine the changes in political outlook and behavior that take place during the adult years, providing an invaluable overview of the problems, theories, and methodological approaches that characterize the field of political socialization. They consider which political values remain constant and which are subject to change, and they explore the ways in which both ordinary and extraordinary life events affect adults' political worldviews. Among specific topics considered are the effects of age and aging, the relation between participation in the work force and the development and expression of political views, continuity and change in the wake of revolutionary social and political movements, and the effects of such traumatic and life-threatening situations as war and terrorist activity.

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Part I
Generations and Sociopolitical Change
The Importance
Part II
Work as a Source of Political Learning Among WageLaborers
Political Socialization in Social Welfare Work
Military Service and Political Socialization
Psychological Perspectives on Theories of Adult Development
Part III
The Civil Rights Movement and Black Political Socialization
Gender Politics and the Socializing Impact of
Adult Socialization

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About the author (1989)

Roberta S. Sigel is Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University. A pioneer in the study of adult political socialization, Sigel is the author (with Marilyn Hoskin) of The Political Involvement of Adolescents and the editor of Political Socialization: Its Role in the Political Process and Learning about Politics: Studies in Political Socialization.

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