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Table of contents :
Consensus and Dissent: Trends in Political Socialization Research
I: Homogeneous and Supportive Outcomes
1 : Assumptions about the Learning of Political Values
2 : The Child's Image of Government
3 : Children and Politics
4 : The Development of Political Attitudes in Children
II: Subcultures of Discontent
5 : The Malevolent Leader: Political Socialization in an American Subculture
6 : Becoming a Radical
7 : The Political Socialization of the American Negro
8 : The Political Socialization of Black Children
cfo •• ializatioK
Socialization Edward S. Greenberg, editor
First published 1970 by Transaction Publishers Published 2017 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business Copyright © 1970 by Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Catalog Number: 2009025739 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Political socialization / Edward S. Greenberg, editor. p. cm. Originally published: New York : Atherton Press, 1970. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-202-36323-3 1. Political socialization. I. Greenberg, Edward S., 1942JA76.P592834 2009 306.2--dc22
2009025739 ISBN 13: 978-0-202-36323-3 (pbk)
Many of us, I fear, almost instinctively see conflict and controversy as harmful or at best diversionary. I would argue, however, that controversy within an academic discipline is a sign of robust health. Conflict seems to be most in evidence in scholarly settings characterized by dynamic growth, new directions in research methods, and the formulation of new theoretical equipment. Conflict occurs primarily where people are actively engaged in research and teaching. A conflict-free academic discipline is usually static, uninspiring, and without enduring interest. Political socialization, a subfield of political science, is characterized by a healthy level of argument and contention. The conflicts revolve around numerous poles, yet for reasons of time, space, and inclination, this volume focuses on one major area of controversy-the nature of the products of political socialization in America. The primary question is whether orientations supportive of the present American political order are homogeneously distributed in the population, or whether subcultures of discontent and nonsupport are evident. The contention of this book is that the latter situation is closer to empirical reality. I consented to undertake such a vii
volume because of my belief that, in order to deal more effectively with the social problems that today confront us, we as citizens and scholars must jettison our inaccurate consensual picture of the American political order and recognize the scope and intensity of present discontents. I would like to thank Charles D. Lieber, the president of Atherton Press, for encouraging me to undertake this book. I would also like to thank both Heinz Eulau and Alex George. Their incisive, stimulating, and exasperatingly accurate observations have contributed to whatever merit this volume may have.
Preface Consensus and Dissent: Trends in Political Socialization Research
EDWARD S. GREENBERG
Homogeneous and Supportive Outcomes
Assumptions about the Learning of Political Values
The Child's Image of Government DAVID EASTON and JACK DENNIS
Children and Politics
The Development of Political Attitudes in Children ROBERT D. HESS and JUDITH V. TORNEY
Subcultures of Discontent
5 : The Malevolent Leader: Political Socialization in an American Subculture DEAN JAROS, HERBERT HIRSCH,
FREDERIC J. FLERON, JR.
Becoming a Radical
The Political Socialization of the American Negro
The Political Socialization of Black Children
EDWARD S. GREENBERG
Consensus and Dissent: Trends in Political Socialization Research EDWARD S. GREENBERG
Recent events in our cities, on our campuses, and in the rice paddies of Vietnam have seriously called into question many of the beliefs held by Americans concerning their political and social order. One senses over the past several years an erosion of the belief that we are in control of events, that we could look to the future with confidence, if not relish. As Americans, we have long believed that we were blessed with stable, prosperous, and just social and political arrangements, and that we could, so to speak, face new challenges with our flanks protected. The crush of recent events has forced many of us, however reluctantly, to re-examine some of our long-held and cherished ideas. The belief in American prosperity, its wide distribution and inexorable expansion, has been shattered by revelations of widespread poverty and hunger in the midst of plenty. The belief in America as world benefactor has been called into 1
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question by the Vietnam war and the stimulus it has provided for renewed analysis of American foreign policy in the third world. Finally, the belief in the stability and efficacy of the political order has been jolted by the recurrence of widespread violence and incipient guerrilla warfare in our cities. It seems to me that political scientists, for the most part, have been painfully slow in responding to these new realitiesrealities that have relevance for many interpretations of American political life advanced in recent years. I believe that it can be reasonably argued that several interpretations of the political process have become widely accepted in the discipline, but that recent events may well open these to challenge. First, there seems to be a fairly widespread belief in the stability of American political arrangements. 1 Second, while all political scientists do not agree, it seems that pluralism (the notion that political power is widely distributed in society and that all legitimate groups of people will receive a hearing at some point in the policy process) is the most widely accepted interpretation of American politics among scholars. Finally, most scholars seem to judge American politics as democratic. 2 It would be unfair to claim that all political scientists hold such views. Suffice to say that the above interpretationscomposed of impressions gathered in classrooms, from popular textbooks, and from published scholarly literature-seem to be generally true. Be that as it may, the picture of America as stable, pluralistic, and democratic must be called into question by the events of the sixties. The "calling into question," does not, of course, prove the case, but it is lamentable that these events have not as yet compelled a significant number of scholars to re-examine fundamental interpretations. I agree with Robert Dahl that we need a serious effort to evaluate whole political systems, including our own. 3 I would suspect that during the next few years we shall witness such reinterpretive efforts by political scientists. This volume concentrates on one subfield of political science, political socialization. Political socialization is a useful
case study because it reflects quite nicely the trends and movements that exist in political science in general. Thus, the bulk of the research tends to paint a picture of a homogeneous, supportive political socialization process in the United States, consistent with the general approach of the field. However, several works have recently appeared which fundamentally challenge the more traditional literature. The ensuing controversy will be reflected in this volume. Before beginning a discussion of this scholarly conflict, it is important that we deal with a number of prior fundamental questions, such as the meaning of political socialization and why it has become a framework of analysis with widespread popularity.
Is PoLITICAL SociALIZAnoN?
Socialization as an approach to the study of politics today enjoys widespread popularity in political science. While this adds to the wealth of research evolving around this pole, it also adds to conceptual and definitional confusion. For some reason, each scholar feels that he must start at ground zero by defining anew the concept of socialization. As a result, the student has a myriad of descriptions from which to make his selection. 4 While such a state of affairs is highly desirable in a restaurant, it is hardly useful in scholarly inquiry. To recognize the range of definitional treatment yet not be hampered by it, we will define political socialization quite loosely as the process by which the individual acquires attitudes, beliefs, and values relating to the political system of which he is a member and to his own role as citizen within that political system. Such a definition encompasses a wide range of conceptual approaches and theories without a commitment to any one in particular. In a sense, despite great terminological differences, political socialization has long been of interest to the political an-
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alyst. Plato's Republic, for instance, can be seen largely as an effort to design a suitable civic education program to insure the longevity of the ideal polis. To the present day, philosophers and political leaders have shown interest and concern for the political orientations acquired by the young. The stimuli for the current widespread interest in socialization can be traced to a number of sources, but any explanation must of necessity lead to the behavioral revolution in political science. s That revolution has witnessed a shift from the study of constitutions and institutions to the careful observation of human behavior within institutions; and a shift from consideration of "ought" to "is" questions in political life. As part and parcel of this movement, scholars became interested in elucidating individual attitudes and beliefs related to political life. Inexorably, this led to the consideration of how these beliefs and attitudes were acquired, and thus to what we now know as political socialization. Many names stand out in this processEaston, Hess, Greenstein, and Eulau, but one must credit Herbert Hyman and his book Political Sociali.zation for providing the main impetus to current interest. 6
THE UTILITY OF POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION AS A FRAMEWORK FOR POLITICAL ANALYSIS
Having defined political socialization, we must next ask why such a framework is useful and important in political analysis. I will argue that every political regime seeks to instill in young people values, beliefs, and behaviors consistent with the continuance of its own political order; that childhood political learning is relevant to later adult orientations; and finally, that individual political attitudes and aggregates of individual attitudes have an impact on the operation of a nation's political life. 1. All political regimes seek to instill what they consider proper political orientations in their young members. Certainly, this observation is neither new nor surprising. It is a recurrent aspect of political life that has long been observed
by political analysts. Civic education programs of one form or another have commanded attention since antiquity: the concern for such efforts stretches at least from Plato to Max Rafferty. Attention to political education and learning is no less central today. While, as Americans, we tend to disparage Soviet political education as "indoctrination" and commend our own efforts in "citizen training," both forms of government consider it one of their important functions to teach the central values, beliefs, and behaviors of their respective societies. In our schools, children are introduced quite early to the flag, the Founding Fathers, patriotic myths, and affirmations of the rewards and virtues of the "American way of life." Such a state of affairs is not at all atypical; all societies, from the meanest tribal village to the most advanced nation state, view it as one of their principal tasks to convey to new members a clear awareness of the proper and accepted procedures for reaching common decisions. Each member is not free to begin anew on these matters. He is either consciously guided and instructed as to proper conduct, or such instructions are implicit in the life training the child receives. We might conclude, with some degree of assurance, that the proposition that "all political regimes attempt to instill a set of accepted political orientation" is one of the best established in the literature of political science. 7 While there are stark differences in methods, goals, and degrees of success in these efforts, one can hardly deny that such efforts are made. If for no other reason, political science ought to turn its attention to political education and learning. A process common to all forms of political society needs no other rationale for study. Yet, there remain equally important reasons why political socialization has become such a popular approach in the study of politics. 2. Adult opinions are, in large part, the end product of youthful political socialization. It has been fairly well established that with respect to basic political orientations such as identifications, loyalties, and values, the child is father to the man. 8 This does not imply that the adult is a carbon copy of the child, writ large. Rather,
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much as in the biological sense, the child is an entity containing the basic outlines, the seeds of future growth, and the boundaries of behavioral possibilities. With regard to political orientations, the child represents the first stage in a developmental process of attitude formation and as such is an excellent predictor of future attitude and behavioral configurations. 9 The importance of political socialization seems fairly obvious in this context. If we accept the proposition that governments are affected in some manner by the political opinions of its citizens, then knowledge of the processes of formation of political opinion becomes essential. Knowing the end-products of socialization is important, but it is surely not sufficient. Only by understanding the processes, conditions, and influences leading to the development of certain attitude configurations can we hope to deal with future change. Knowing only adult opinions is a rather static enterprise, although important. 3. Individual political opinions have an impact on the operations of a nation's government and political life. Without this assumption, there would hardly be reason to conduct research into political socialization and public opinion. Most political scientists seem to accept the assumption that individual opinions (at least in aggregates) matter, 10 yet it is true that the details of the links between citizen and government are only now beginning to be delineated. There is great controversy over the extent, direction, and mechanics of the impact of individual opinions, yet little disagreement over the existence of an impact. CONTROVERSY IN PoLITICAL SOCIALIZA TION
We are now armed with a definition of political socialization and some sense of its utility and popularity in political science. We are interested, however, in examining the primary conflicts and controversies in the field. It will soon become evident that, as in all intellectually alive fields of inquiry, strife abounds. We might best proceed by classifying political socialization research, and thus its conflicts, into three categories: the prod-
ucts, processes, and agents of socialization. Such a classification allows us to focus more sharply on the extant controversies. This essay and the volume of which it is a part are concerned with controversies surrounding the nature of the products of political socialization in the United States. Yet significant dissension exists with respect to both the processes and agents of socialization. Considerable disagreement exists for instance, about the relative importance of various stages of the age cycle and their relationship to the acquisition of political orientations. At what stage of development does the child acquire orientations related to loyalty, to participation, to party identification, and so on? Moreover, scholars are not agreed as to whether socialization processes are manifest (conscious, deliberate activities, such as civic education programs) or latent (unconscious, nondeliberate activities, such as identification with the father and his political loyalties) or some mixture of the two. The relative impact of various agents of political socialization also elicits conflict. There is little agreement, for instance, as to which agents in one's environment-family, social class, or school-are most important, or under what conditions different agents of socialization are most influential. Although these controversies are interesting and important, we are most concerned with the conflict over the nature of the products or outcomes of the political socialization process in the United States. We selected this aspect because research is increasingly undermining or at least seriously qualifying earlier, and perhaps misleading, interpretations. The question of socialization outcomes, when seen in an aggregated sense, is closely related to the concept of political culture. 11 We can define political culture roughly as the characteristic pattern of political orientations found within a political community. Thus, political socialization may be seen from one point of view as the acquistion by an individual of the political culture which surrounds him. This book focuses on the major controversy surrounding the question of socialization outcomes: the extent to which America is characterized by a relatively
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homogeneous, supportive political culture. The dominant and well-known works in political science support just such a view. Recent research, however, increasingly rejects this portrait of the American political community.
POLITICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH AND HoMOGENEOUS SUPPORTIVE OUTCOMES
By and large, most scholars have concluded that the American political system is characterized by rather high levels of supportive attitudes and these attitudes are widely and homogeneously distributed. In the political socialization area, the series of articles by Easton and Hess and by Easton and Dennis suggest that the American child's basic attachment to the political system is firmly established at a relatively early age. 12 In his recent collaborative work with Judith Torney, Robert Hess concludes his discussion of children's orientations to the system by observing that: the young child's involvement with the political system begins with a strong positive attachment to the country; the United States is seen as ideal and as superior to the other countries. The attachment to the country is stable and shows almost no change through the elementary school years. This bond is possibly the most basic and essential aspect of socialization into involvement with the political life of the nation. Essentially an emotional tie, it apparently grows from complex psychological and social needs and is exceedingly resistant to change or argument. 13
Research dealing with adult respondents is consistent with these observations about American children. V. 0. Key has written "that the American characteristically manifests an uncommonly high degree of loyalty and satisfaction with things American." 14 He argues that such a configuration of attitudes is a major element in the success of the American political
experiment. He says that "crucial to a democracy is that there be a pervasive sense of national loyalty . . . , " a "sense of the collectivity or community." 1s Other scholars support this view. Fred Riggs characterizes the Alnerican polity as one of shared values and of high consensus. 16 William Mitchell sees America as blessed with a relatively homogeneous political culture. 17 Murray Edelman claims that "the unimodal value structure is the type to which the American population has most closely conformed through most of United States history." 18 Henry Teune writes that Americans respond in like fashion to the key symbols of their political system. 19 Robert Lane contends that the United States is one of the most stable political systems in the world. 20 He traces this stability to the lack of any significant polarization in American society and the triumph of the assimilationist, mobilist doctrines. He sees no evidence of "fragmentation" politics [extremist?], which calls for destruction or utopia. Indeed, the dominant habit of mind is incrementalist and continuityminded. In short, he argues that ideological support for political stability is strong. The Almond and Verba "Five Nation Study" deals comparatively with orientations toward our political systems. Their findings about the United States are fairly consistent with the work of the above scholars. Almond and Verba's summary description of the United States as a "participant" civic culture is particularly instructive. They argue that in the United States the role of the participant is highly developed and widespread; that there is a pervasive sense of competence to influence government; that Americans are affectively involved in their political system; and finally, that they take pride in their system of government. 21 Examples of scholars who support this general argument could be multiplied, but the point has been sufficiently established. The bulk of scholarly evidence suggests that the United States is characterized by high levels of supportive attitudes
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among its population, that these orientations are rather homogeneously distributed, and that this ultimately helps explain the long-term stability of the American polity.
EVIDENCE OF DISAFFECTION
There is reason to suspect, however, that supportive attitudes in America are not as homogeneously distributed as these works would lead us to believe. This conclusion is sadly but inexorably reached by witnessing the steadily increasing level and intensity of riots and insurrections that have recently erupted in America's cities and on her campuses. I will argue that extensive disorders are prima facie evidence of a breakdown in support for significant parts of the political system. Two possible arguments could be raised against the claim that riots represent breakdowns in support. First, one could argue that the riots we have witnessed the past several summers were not consciously directed against the system by participants, but represent the culmination of mounting frustrations and a desire to get some of the goods produced by the system (looting perhaps can be seen in these terms). Second, it is often pointed out that only a small, extremist minority is ever involved in a riot. It is said that the bulk of the Negro population rejects such activities as either morally wrong or strategically counterproductive. In response to the first objection, if one defines loyalty or regime support as the reservoir of good will directed toward the system, as a sharing of values and norms between citizens, and as an agreement by people to cooperate within a common political framework in order to solve their mutual problemsthen a riot by definition is nonsupportive. A riot represents a willingness to go outside the bounds of the accepted procedures for solving problems, a rejection of these procedures, and a breakdown in that "we-feeling" and mutual trust that is central to the notion of a political community.22
As to the second objection, although it must be conceded that only a small minority of the black community was physically involved in the rioting, a strong suspicion lingers that attitudes supportive of riot action were much more extensive than suggested by the number of active participants. Urban violence is probably just a surface manifestation of a wider malaise and disaffection. There are many reasons other than nonsupport for riots as a cause for nonparticipation in violent action, fear being the most obvious. These suspicions are supported empirically by several studies. Note the following statement from the UCLA study of the Watts violence. It is important to note that a high level of discontent seems to pervade the entire curfew community. This is particularly striking in the light of the often repeated refrain that problems of police brutality and exploitation by merchants are essentially confined to the poorer segments of the segregated community . . . . We have found that these grievances are indeed salient for the Negroes in Los Angeles and are related to support for the riot and participation in it, but they are not limited to those who form the "under class" of the Negro community.23
Other evidence suggests the rather wide support for riots shown by black Americans. McCord and Howard report that 51 percent of their Negro sample in Oakland affirm that "riots have helped." 24 T. M. Tomlinson successfully explodes the myth of black nonparticipation in rioting. In a post-riot study of Watts, he found that upwards of 15 percent of the sample were active and an additional 50 percent expressed a sympathetic understanding.25 It is also significant that 62 percent saw the rioting as a protest and 58 percent judged that riots had helped. Tomlinson adds that, compared to whites, there are dramatically lower levels of trust of elected officials and the police. Further evidence is found in Brink and Harris' nationwide survey of black and white attitudes. When black respondents
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were asked whether riots have helped, 34 percent answered affirmatively. The authors sum up their findings as follows: Perhaps the most revealing part of the Newsweek survey was the graphic illustration of just how large the danger is, and where it lies. It is perfectly true that the majority of Negroes remain committed to non-violence as the primary strategy of revolt. But nearly a third of rank-and-file Negroes are angered at the tactics of the white police. More than a third think Watts-style rioting has helped the Negro cause more than it has hurt, and a small but explosive minority of 15 per cent stand ready to join the fighting. Moreover, the majority of all Negroes think there will be more riots. 26
We have focused on the most obvious example of a population group that is not as supportive of the status quo as political scientists suggest. Other groups come to mind as likely candidates for nonsupport. Probably no oppressed or deprived group feels much warmth for the American political and social order. Would political scientists be as confident in their interpretations had they focused some portion of their research on Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Indians, or even poor whites? One need not be overtly oppressed or deprived to manifest nonsupport. Certainly, a significant number of the young and highly educated are beginning to bring into question the legitimacy of political, social, and economic arrangements. In a sense, the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement may be the most significant socializing events of our time, playing as powerful a role as did the Depression for the parents of the present generation. The destruction of the optimism of the early civil rights movement on the rocks and shoals of institutional racism and the bitterness engendered by the Vietnam war have compelled many young people to extend their analysis beyond immediate events to a consideration of the political and social order itself, often with radical implications for thought and action. While this group of students is small, it is, no doubt, significant and growing.
PoSSIBLE CA USES FOR THE EARLIER VIEW
Such a contradiction between the optimism of the scholarly literature and real world events has stimulated this writer to puzzle over the "causes" for the direction of earlier research. Several factors seem at issue: the dominant definitions of socialization, sampling procedures, and ideology. The definition of socialization utilized is of immense import, because to a large extent it determines the kinds of questions asked and the populations sampled. For some reason, most contemporary scholars are tied to definitions that predispose them to research results supportive of the status quo. Most of the following definitions suggest that the child is socialized only to orientations consistent with the dominant political culture. Orville Brim talks about the acquisition of roles expected in a society.2 7 Roberta Sigel talks about political socialization as related to the "Norms, attitudes and behavior accepted and practiced by the ongoing political system. " 28 ~ichard Rose conceptualizes political socialization as the transmission of the political culture through generations. 29 William Mitchell conceptualizes it as the process of civilizing members of a society; as the preparation of children for democratic citizenship. 30 The examples could be multiplied. The major pitfall in this line of analysis is the perhaps unconscious bias toward the status quo. Political socialization is conceived by many scholars as the acquisition of accepted roles and orientations, of the precepts of the ongoing political culture. This may blind one to the possibility that people often are socialized into political orientations and predispositions at variance with the expectations of the dominant political culture. Or if the possibility of such socialization patterns are granted, these scholars would perceive them as aberrations, given their conceptual frameworks. It is important to avoid the assumption that people are socialized only to orientations congruent with the ongoing political culture. We should further guard against the assertion
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that noncongruence represents some manner of social deviation. The first is clearly an empirical question; the second is a value judgment not open to research. The major political socialization studies of the past decade have almost uniformly focused on white, middle class children. This might best be explained by the definitions of socialization used, the inaccessibility of other populations, or, most probably, the desire at early stages of research to form a base of knowledge for later comparisons. It seems reasonable to suggest that the homogeneous, supportive findings are largely a product of sampling procedures and are not an accurate reflection of the state of affairs in mid-century America. As suggested above, it seems likely that contrary evidence would have been forthcoming had these scholars sampled black, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, or college students. This volume presents just such contrary evidence. Finally, it is not inconceivable that ideology has played a part. Post-World War II political science in general has been highly laudatory of the American political experiment, often portraying it as the model toward which other politics are or should be moving. Such a stance smacks of Cold Warism at its worst. Yet there is no reason to believe that scholars are completely immune from the main currents and demands of the age. While such a suggestion is only speculation on my part, it is a problem that calls for serious scholarly research and self-analysis in the future. The readings that follow reflect the current rethinking in the field of political socialization. Part I presents work representative of the earlier, homogeneous-supportive research. Part II offers work from scholars who, in effect, sample from various subcultures of discontent in America. As such, they serve as useful correctives to the readings in the first part. It seems reasonable to suggest that more and more research supportive of this point of view will become available in the not too distant future as scholars begin to turn their attention to hitherto forgotten groups.
REFERENCES 1. See Robert Lane, Political Ideology (New York: The Free Press, 1962) for perhaps the most explicit statement of this position. An even better indicator of the prevalence of this interpretation can be found in almost any American government textbook in widespread use. 2. Jack L. Walker, "A Critique of the Elitist Theory of Democracy," American Political Science Review, LX (June 1966 ), 285-295, argues quite persuasively that such a judgment has involved a redefinition of democracy itself to conform more closely to American practices. 3. Robert Dahl, "The Evaluation of Political Systems," in Ithiel de Sola Pool, ed., Contemporary Political Science (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967). 4. The interested student should turn his attention to the following: Fred Greenstein, Children and Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965 ); Dean Jaros, Children's Orientations Toward Political Authority: A Detroit Study (unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Vanderbilt University, June 1966 ); Jack Dennis, "Major Problems of Political Socialization Research," Midwest Journal ofPolitical Science, XII: 1 (February 1968 ), 85-114; John J. Patrick, "Political Socialization of American Youth: A Review of Research with Implications for Secondary School Social Studies," High School Curriculum Center in Government, Indiana University, Bloomington, March 1967, Mimeo; and Fred Greenstein, "Political Socialization," The International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (New York: Macmillan, 1968); Richard Dawson, "Political Socialization," in James A. Robinson, ed., Political Science Annual, Vol. I (Indianapolis: BobbsMerrill, 1966), p. 2-7. 5. The literature relative to this movement is vast. For a usefulmtroduction and summary, see Heinz Eulau, Behavioralism in Political Science (New York: Atherton Press, 1969). 6. Herbert Hyman, Political Socialization (New York: The Free Press, 1959). 7. I do not necessarily accept the "functionalist" argument that all regimes must do this in order to survive. All I am arguing is that as far as we know all polities do so behave. 8. See the discussion in Dawson, "Political Socialization," pp. 29-35. 9. I do not mean to imply that socialization during adulthood is unimportant, only that basic orientations are highly resistant to change. 10. Most contemporary work in public opinion focuses on attitude formation, yet the authors invariably make statements about the role of public opinion in democratic politics. In this regard, see Bernard Hennessy, Public Opinion (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1965 ); Robert Lane and David 0. Sears, Public Opinion (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964 ); Bernard Berelson and Morris Janowitz, ed., Reader in Public Opinion and Communication (New York: The Free Press, 1950); Robert Lane, Political Ideology (New York: The Free Press, 1962); and V. 0. Key, Public Opinion and American Democracy (New York: Knopf, 1961 ). This list is by no means exhaustive. Rather, it gives a representative taste of current thinking in public opinion research. All contain bibliographies to help guide the student to other relevant works. The prominent works in the field of voting behavior also tend to discuss the implications of individual attitudes with respect to the larger political
13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.
23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.
Trends in Political Socialization Research system. See, in particular, Bernard Berelson, Paul Lazarsfeld, and William McPhee, Voting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954 ); and Angus Campbell, Philip Converse, Warren E. Miller, and Donald E. Stokes, The American Voter (New York: Wiley, 1960). For discussions of this approach to political science see Lucian W. Pye, "Introduction: Political Culture and Political Development," and Sidney Verba, "Comparative Political Culture," in Pye and Verba, eds., Political Culture and Political Development (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965 ). David Easton and Robert D. Hess, "Youth and the Political System," inS. M. Lipset and L Lowenthal, Culture and Social Character (New York: The Free Press, 1961); Easton and Hess, "The Child's Political World," Midwest Journal of Political Science, VI (1962), 229-246; and Easton and Jack Dennis, "The Child's Image of Government," The Annals 361 (1965), 40-57. Robert D. Hess and Judith V. Torney, The Development of Political Attitudes in Children (Chicago: Aldine, 1967). V. 0. Key, Public Opinion and American Democracy (New York: Knopf, 1961). Ibid., pp. 546, 549. Fred Riggs, The Ecology of Public Administration (London: Asia Publishing House, 1961), p. 41. William Mitchell, The American Polity (New York: The Free Press, 1962). Murray Edelman, The Symbolic Uses of Politics (Urbana, IlL: University of Illinois Press, 1961), p. 176. Henry Teune, "The Learning of Integrative Habits," in P. Jacob and J. V. Toscano, eds., The Integration of Political Communities (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1964 ). Robert Lane, Political Ideology (New York: The Free Press, 1962). See Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Umversity Press, 1963), p. 440. T. M. Tomlinson, "The Development of a Riot Ideology Among Urban Negroes,'' The American Behavioral Scientist, 11 :4 ( 1968) finds that fully 38 per cent of his Watts sample utilized revolutionary rhetoric in describing the riot. Raymond Murphy and James Watson, "The Structure of Discontent," The Los Angeles Riot Study (Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles, 1967). William McCord and John Howard, "Negro Opinions in Three Riot Cities," The American Behavioral Scientist, II :4 ( 1968 ), 28. Tomlinson, "The Development of a Riot Ideology Among Urban Negroes," p. 28. William Brink and Louis Harris, Black and White (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1966), p. 67. Orville G. Brim and Stanton Wheeler, Socialization after Childhood (New York: WHey, 1966), p. 5. Roberta Sigel, "Assumptions About the Learning of Political Values," The Annals, 361 (September 1965), 2. Richard Rose, Politics in England (Boston: Little, Brown, 1964 ), p. 59. Mitchell, The American Polity, p. 145.
Homogeneous and Supportive Outcomes
Assumptions about the Learning of Political Values ROBERTA SIGEL
Every society that wishes to maintain itself has as one of its functions the socialization of the young so that they will carry on willingly the values, traditions, norms, and duties of their society. The newborn child is not born socialized. Socialization is a learning process. Such learning, however, is not limited to the acquisition of the appropriate knowledge about a society's norms but requires that the individual so makes these norms his own-internalizes them-that to him they appear to be right, just, and moral. Having once internalized the society's norms, it will presumably not be difficult for the individual to act in congruence with them. A politically organized society had the same maintenance needs and consequently had an additional function: the political socialization From The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, vol. 361, 1965, pp. 1-3.
Learning Political Values
of the young. Political socialization is the gradual learning of the norms, attitudes, and behavior accepted and practiced by the ongoing political system. For example, members of a stable democratic system are expected to learn to effect change through elections, through the application of group practice, rather than through street riots or revolutions. "Viewed this way political socialization would encompass all political learning, formal and informal, deliberate and unplanned, at every stage of the life cycle, including not only explicitly political learning but also normally not political learning which affects political behavior, such as the learning of politically irrelevant social attitudes and the acquisition of political relevant personality characteristics." 1 The goal of political socialization is to so train or develop individuals that they become well-functioning members of the political society. While the definition of a well-functioning members will vary with the political system-from obedient passive subject in one system to active participating citizen in another-a well-functioning citizen is one who accepts (internalizes) society's political norms and who will then transmit them to future generations. For without a body politic so in harmony with the ongoing political values the political system would have trouble functioning smoothly and perpetuating itself safely. And survival, after all, is a prime goal of the political organism just as it is of the individual organism. At no time in history has the importance of successful political socialization been demonstrated more dramatically than today. Old and new nations today are faced with the problem of rapid political change. This change has brought about disruption of old familial social patterns, ideological orientations, and economic conditions, to name but a few. Such changelike change in general-is always fraught with tension, discomfort, and disequilibrium. If it proceeds with a minimum of these, all is well for the political system. But the danger always exists that the tensions are more than the system can endure. Chances are that one of the factors which contribute to relatively tension free change-and hence to system stability-is
R 0 BE R TA
the successful political socialization of its members. One of the many difficulties besetting the newly developed nations is precisely this one : how to quickly train or socialize young and old alike so that they will internalize the norms of the new nation and thus assure its survival. And even for the older, stabler nations this is an important task, for they are confronted with the problem of how to insure the loyalty and engagement of their members in the face of rapid political, technological, and social changes and in the presence of government ever growing in complexity, geographical distance, and general impersonality. To the extent, for example, that in a modern industrialized nation the citizen finds political decisions to have become increasingly complex, technical, and difficult to understand, the danger exists that the citizen will lose his touch with the political system, that he will become disengaged, apathetic, or even alienated. An apathetic citizen in times of crisis, even in times of hardship and political or economic setbacks, forms a very shaky foundation for any political system. The system cannot count on his active support or loyalty. An alienated citizen is an even greater threat to the system, since he can become its active foe. Tanks and bayonets can and do keep disloyal citizens subdued but they can at best maintain an uneasy peace. It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that a nation's stability and survival depends in large measure on the engagement of its members. No wonder that both philosopher and practicing politican as long ago as Plato-and probably long before that-have devoted thought and effort to the question of how to bring about such engagement. Such practitioners and philosophers, however, did not call the training process political socialization; rather they called it civic education, lessons in patriotism, training for citizenship, or character-training. Every one of these terms indicates that political values and attitudes are acquired, not inborn-that they are the result of a learning process. The reason we today prefer to call this learning process political socialization rather than civic education is that the latter has to deliberate a connotation. It presumes that system-
Learning Political Values
appropriate political values are acquired as a result of deliberate indoctrination, textbook learning, conscious and rational weighing of political alternatives, and the like. It seems to assume that there is a definite point in time-a certain grade in school-when such learning can profitably start and a certain point when it is completed. This view is far too naive and narrow; it completely ignores what we know about the way in which people go about "learning" society's norms. For instance, it ignores the fact that much of this norminternalization goes on casually and imperceptibly-most of the time in fact without our ever being aware that it is going on. It proceeds so smoothly precisely because we are unaware of it. We take the norms for granted, and it does not occur to us to question them. What Cantril has to say about the learning of religious norms would probably apply with equal force to the learning of political norms. The relative uniformity of a culture from one generation to another, the usual slow rate of change, is clear indication that many norms of the culture are uncritically accepted by a large majority of the people. . . . For the norms of society are by no means always merely neutral stimuli from which the individual may pick and choose as he pleases, which he may regard as good or bad, as right or wrong when the spirit moves him. Most of them have already been judged by society, by the individual's predecessors, when he first experiences them. When people learn about a specific religion they generally learn at the same time that it is the "best" or that it is the "true" religion. 2
Easton and Dennis graphically describe the uncritical way in which norms are accepted: "In many ways a child born into a system is like an immigrant into it. But where he differs is in the fact that he has never been socialized to any other kind of system .... He learns to like the government before he really knows what it is." 3 No doubt this is the reason why for young boys in an American summer camp a word like freedom was not a neutral stimulus but one evoking positive feelings while the word power brought mixed reactions. 4 American society had prejudged for them and told them that freedom is a good thing. It had told them that when they had been much younger
R 0 B E R T A
S I G E L
than they were then, when they had had no basis-or desireto question the accuracy of such information. And if such learning takes place at "every life cycle," then obviously we cannot be content with studying adults only, but we must look at adolescents and even children to see what values and norms they acquire which may have a bearing on later adult political behavior.... Political socialization is a learning process which begins very early and is most influenced by the same agents or forces which influence all social behavior : first and foremost, the family; then socially relevant groups or institutions, such as school, church, and social class; and finally-last but not leastsociety at large and the political culture it fosters. Because the consequences are political, political scientists recently have begun to ask questions such as: How and when is such learning acquired? Who most influences the young? What is the content of political socialization across cultures and subcultures? What are the consequences for political system of different socialization processes and contents? Probably the least researched of all these questions is the one concerning the acquisition of learning. Unfortunately, political socialization studies are not yet sufficiently plentiful-nor sufficiently learning-oriented-to chart for us a detailed, empirically derived map which illustrates just how the above agents and institutions go about "socializing" the young.
REFERENCES 1. Fred I. Greenstein, "Political Socialization," International Encvclopedia of the Social Sciences (New York: Crowell-Collier Macmillan, 1968 ). 2. Hadley Cantril, The Psychology of Social Movements (New York: Wiley, 1963 ), p. 6. 3. David Easton and Jack Dennis, "The Child's Image of Government," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 361 (1965), 56, 57. 4. These observations are drawn from lengthy, unstructured interviews conducted at a Young Men's Christian Organization camp by Eugene B. Johnson and Roberta S. Sigel (Report to be published later).
The Child's Image of Government DAVID EASTON JACK DENNIS
Political socialization refers to the way in which a society transmits political orientations-knowledge, attitudes or norms, and values-from generation to generation. Without such socialization across the generations, each new member of the system, whether a child newly born into it or an immigrant newly arrived, would have to seek an entirely fresh adjustment in the political sphere. But for the fact that each new generation is able to learn a body of political orientations from its predecessors, no given political system would be able to persist. Fundamentally, the theoretical significance of the study of socializing processes in political life resides in its contribution to our understanding of the way in which political systems are able to persist, 1 even as they change, for more than one generation. From The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, vol. 361, 1965, pp. 41-57.
THE THEORETICAL SETTING
A society transmits many political orientations across the generations, from the most trivial to the most profound. One of the major tasks of research is to formulate criteria by which we may distinguish the significant from the less important. Once we posit the relationship between socialization and system persistence, this compels us to recognize that among many theoretical issues thereby raised, a critical one pertains to the way in which a society manages or fails to arouse support for any political system, generation after generation. In part, it may, of course, rely on force or perception of self-interest. But no political system has been able to persist on these bases alone. In all cases, as children in society mature, they learn through a series of complicated processes to address themselves more or less favorably to the existence of some kind of political life. But socialization of support for a political system is far too undifferentiated a concept for fruitful analysis. As has been shown elsewhere, 2 it is helpful to view the major objects toward which support might be directed, as the political community, the regime, and the authorities (or loosely, the government). The general assumption is that failure to arouse sufficient support for any one of these objects in a political system must lead to its complete extinction. This paper seeks to illuminate one of the numerous ways in which the processes of socialization in a single political system, that of the United States, manages to generate support for limited aspects of two political objects: the regime and the government (authorities). Ultimately, comparable studies in other systems should enable us to generalize about the processes through which members learn to become attached to or disillusioned with all the basic objects of a system. Within this broad theoretical context our specific problems for this paper can be simply stated: How does each generation
The Child's Image of Government
born into the American political system come to accept (or reject) the authorities and regime? As the child matures from infancy, at what stage does he begin to acquire the political knowledge and attitudes related to this question? Do important changes take place even during childhood, a time when folklore has it that a person is innocent of things political? If so, can these changes be described in a systematic way?
GOVERNMENT AS A LINKAGE POINT
In turning to the political socialization of the child, we are confronted with a fortunate situation. The area that the theoretical considerations of a systems analysis dictate as central and prior-that of the bond between each generation of children and such political objects as the authorities and regimehappens to coincide with what research reveals as part of the very earliest experiences of the child. As it turns out empirically, children just do not develop an attachment to their political system, in the United States, in some random and unpatterned way. Rather, there is evidence to suggest that the persistence of this system hinges in some degree on the presence of some readily identifiable points of contact between the child and the system. From this we have been led to generalize that in one way or another every system will have to offer its maturing members objects that they can initially identify as symbolic or representative of the system and toward which they feel able to develop sentiments and attitudes deemed appropriate in the system. If a system is to persist, it will probably have to provide each new age cohort with some readily identifiable points of contact with the system. But for this, it would scarcely be likely that children could relate in any meaningful way to the various basic objects in a system. In this respect our point of departure diverges markedly from the few past studies in the area of political socialization. In these it has been customary to take for granted the object toward which the child does, in fact, become socialized. Thus,
following the pattern of adult studies, efforts have been made to discover how the child acquires his party identification, his attitudes toward specific issues, or his general political orientations on a liberal-conservative or left-right axis. But such research has adopted as an assumption what we choose to consider problematic. How, in fact, does a child establish contact with the broad and amorphous political world in which he must later take his place as an adult? What kind of political objects do, in fact, first cross his political horizon? Which of these does he first cathect? For the American democratic system, preliminary interviewing led us to conclude that there are two kinds of initial points of contact between the child and the political system in its broadest sense. One of these is quite specific. The child shows a capacity, with increasing age, to identify and hold opinions about such well-defined and concrete units among the political authorities as the President, policeman, Congress, and Supreme Court. But we also found that simultaneously another and much more general and amorphous point of contact is available. This consists of the conglomeration of institutions, practices, and outcomes that adults generically symbolize in the concept "government." Through the idea of government itself the child seems able to reach out and at a very early age to establish contact both with the authorities and with certain aspects of the regime. In a mass society where the personnel among the authorities changes and often remains obscure for the average person, the utility of so generalized and ill-defined a term as "the government" can be readily appreciated. The very richness and variability of its meaning converts it into a useful point of contact between the child and the system. But the discovery of the idea of "government" as an empirically interesting point of reference for the child brings with it numerous complications for purposes of research. In the first place, any awareness of government as a whole is complicated by the necessary diffuseness of the idea; it applies to a broad and relatively undifferentiated spectrum of disparate events, people, structures, and processes. Government speaks with a
The Child's Image of Government
cacophony of voices. It takes innumerable actions both large and small, visible and virtually invisible; and these locate themselves at the national as well as at the local level, with many strata in between. Furthermore, the usual child is not likely to place res publica very high among his daily concerns. Thus, the child's marginal interest in things political combined with the complexities of the object itself discourages a clear perception of the over-all nature of government. This enormously complicates the task of isolating the specific image and attitudes that children do acquire. However, the points of contact between maturing members of the system and its basic parts are not so numerous that we could allow these obvious difficulties. to discourage a serious effort to explore the nature of this connection and the part it may play in the growth of supportive or negative attitudes toward the authorities and regime.
The children whom we have surveyed concerning what they think and feel about government, as well as about a number of other political orientations (which we will report elsewhere), are for the most part children in large metropolitan areas of the United States. They are, with few exceptions, white, public school children, in grades two through eight, and were selected from both middle-class and working-class neighborhoods. We have conducted many individual interviews and administered a series of pencil-and-paper questionnaires. The latter we read out to the children in their regular classrooms while they individually marked their answers. The data to be reported below are some fairly uncomplicated examples of these responses; we use them to illustrate the kinds of developments of greatest interest about orientations toward "the government." In some we are attempting to discern the pattern of cognitive development about government as
a whole; in others there is some mixture of cognitive and affective elements; and in a third type, the affective or supportive aspects dominate.
PREVIEW OF FINDINGS
The findings which grew out of this analysis will, perhaps, surprise those readers who are accustomed to think of children as innocent of political thought. For not only does the child quite early begin to orient himself to the rather remote and mystical world of politics, but he even forms notions about its most abstract parts-such as government in general. Our data at least suggest this. The political marks on the tabula rasa are entered early and are continually refurbished thereafter. We will, perhaps, disappoint as well those readers who are accustomed to think of the American as one who is brought up on the raw meat of rugged individualism, which supposedly TABLE 1: Development of a Sense of Confidence in Understanding the Concept of Government (Responses of Children by Grade Level)
Grade 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
27.29 19.01 17.61 11.15 12.41 8.36 9.79
1,655 1,678 1,749 1,803 1,749 1,723 1,695
a The questionnaire which contained this item was administered to a purposively selected group of 12,052 white public school children in regular classrooms in eight large metropolitan areas (100,000 and over) in four major geographic regions (South, Northeast, Midwest, and Far West) in late 1961 and early 1962. The children were in grades two through eight and from both middle- and working-class areas. We will refer to this questionnaire hereinafter as simply "CA-9," which is our code name for Citizenship Attitude Questionnaire #9. This question is item #55, page 12.
The Child's Image of Government
nourishes our national frame. We find that the small child sees a vision of holiness when he chances to glance in the direction of government-a sanctity and rightness of the demigoddess who dispenses the milk of human kindness. The government protects us, helps us, is good, and cares for us when we are in need, answers the child. When the child emerges from his state of nature, therefore, he finds himself a part of a going political concern which he ordinarily adopts immediately as a source of nurturance and protection. His early experience of government is, therefore, analogous to his early experience of the family in that it involves an initial context of highly acceptable dependency. Against this strongly positive affective background the child devises and revises his cognitive image of government. Let us first turn to some empirical evidence bearing upon this cognition.
THE CHILD'S EARLY RECOGNITION OF GOVERNMENT
In earlier studies of the child's growing awareness of political objects and relationships, it was found that the President of the United States and the policeman were among the first figures of political authority that the child recognized. 3 In part, at least, we would expect that attitudes toward political authority would begin to take shape in relationship to these objects. They are clearly the first contact points in the child's perception of wider external authority. In general, data collected since the earlier exploratory studies have supported these findings. We can, however, now raise a question which takes us beyond these findings. Does the child also establish some early perceptual contact with the more amorphous, intangible abstraction of government itself, that is, with the more general category of political authority among whose instances are counted presidents and policemen? Is the child's cognitive development such that he is likely to work immediately from a
few instances to the general class of objects? This would then put him in a position to apply his concept to new instances, as well as to refurbish it as the experiences of its instances grow. If this is so, we can anticipate that, in addition to such points of contact as the policeman and the President, in the American political system the child will also be able to orient himself to political life through perceptions of and attitudes toward the more generalized and diffuse object that we call "the government."
The Crystallization of the Concept When do our respondents first begin to recognize the general category of things labeled "government"? One simple way of exploring this is to see whether the child himself thinks he knows what the word "government" means, even if no verbalization of his understanding is called for. On this simple test we would contend that even the seven- or eight-year-old child is likely to feel that he has attained some rudimentary grasp of this general concept. This test is met in a question we asked on our final questionnaire which read as follows : "Some of you may not be sure what the word government means. If you are not sure what government means, put an X in the box below." The changing pattern of response to this question over the grades is shown in Table 1. What we find from these simple data is that 27 per cent of the second-grade children feel some uncertainty about the concept. This proportion declines rather regularly over the grades, however, so that for the eighth-grade children, less than 10 per cent express this uncertainty. In general, these data suggest that a considerable portion of the youngest children had already crystallized some concept of government prior to our testing, and with each higher grade level the likelihood that they had not formed some concept decreases. With these dataand similar data from other protocols-as a background, it is plausible for us to proceed to a more detailed consideration of the content of the child's understanding of government.
The Child's Image of Government
Symbolic Associations of the Concept "Government" Since it appears that the child is rather likely to develop some working conception of government in these early years, we can move on to ask: Is there any specific content to this concept, especially of a kind that is political in character? We might well expect that because of the inherent ambiguity and generality of the term, even for adults, considerable differences and disjunctiveness would characterize this concept for aggregates of children. Our findings do, in part, support this expectation. Yet there are clear patterns of "dominance" in these collective conceptions, and these patterns vary to a large degree with the age and grade level of the children. One way we have devised for getting fairly directly at which patterns are dominant in this period and at how these patterns change involves a pictorial presentation of ten symbols of government. These are symbols which appeared strongly in our extensive pretest data when children were asked either to define government or to "free associate" with a list of words, one of which was government. What we asked in our final instrument was the following : "Here are some pictures that show what our government is. Pick the two pictures that show best what our government is." This instruction was then followed for the balance of the page by ten pictures plus a blank box for "I don't know." Each of the ten pictures represented a salient symbol of the United States government and was accompanied by its printed title underneath the picture. The options in order were: ( 1) Policeman; (2) George Washington; ( 3) Uncle Sam; ( 4) Voting; (5) Supreme Court; (6) Capitol; (7) Congress; (8) Flag; (9) Statue of Liberty; (10) President (Kennedy); (11) I don't know. The pattern of response to these ten symbols of government is shown in Table 2. Several interesting facts emerge from this table. If we take 20 per cent as a rough guide to what we might expect purely by
TABLE 2: Development of a Cognitive Image of Government: Symbolic Associations (Per Cent of Children and Teachers Responding)a
Grade 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Teachers
George Police- Wash- Uncle Supreme man ington Sam Voting Court Capitol 8.15 4.09 5.74 2.74 2.36 3.03 1.66
39.47 26.77 14.19 6.93 4.94 3.44 1.72
15.63 19.01 18.02 19.40 16.78 18.26 16.40
N NNot Statue PresiI of dent Don't Respond- RespondLiberty Kennedy Know ing ing
4.32 8.36 10.83 19.23 27.99 39.44 46.77
4.51 6.38 10.25 16.77 16.84 13.54 15.87
13.65 16.13 16.57 11.57 9.94 9.39 6.93
5.93 12.94 28.97 49.08 49.66 44.22 49.14
15.75 16.49 13.33 11.57 11.38 12.84 11.78
12.11 14.26 12.92 11.18 17.07 18.61 19.60
46.26 46.81 37.25 38.51 30.52 27.89 22.91
15.69 12.94 13.15 4.86 4.66 2.98 1.54
1,619 1,662 1,726 1,789 1,740 1,714 1,689
36 16 23 14 9 9 6
•(I) Percentages should add to 200 due to the two-answer format, but do not, because of the failure of some children to make two choices. This is especially the case for
those answering "I don't know." (2) 113 children failed to respond to this question. Thus the N at each grade are those responding and the percentages are of that number. (3) We have added, at the bottom, the responses of the teachers of these children, for the sake of comparison. The teachers were given a similar questionnaire at the time of administration of the children's questionnaire.
The Child's Image of Government
chance as a maximum level of response to each of the ten symbol options (for two-answer format), we see that only four of these pictures were chosen with a frequency greater than chance. These four are George Washington, Voting, Congress, and President Kennedy. These four are considerably more dominant than any of the others, but this dominance varies by grade level. For the youngest children, the two most popular options are the two Presidents, Washington and Kennedy. But these choices drop in the later grades. It would appear that, in terms of these symbols, the youngest child's perception of government is quite likely to be framed by the few personal figures of high governmental authority that cross his cognitive horizon, probably both in the school (where the portraits of Presidents are often prominently displayed and outside. The young child focuses most directly upon personal or perhaps "charismatic" aspects of political authority for his interpretation of what government is. But as he moves into the middle years, there is a great likelihood that his attention will be turned to rather different, prominent aspects of the authorities. First, he revises his notions to include the Congress and drops George Washington-who suffers a precipitous decline after his initial showing. Undoubtedly, the growing adoption of Congress reflects an awareness of several things, and these are supported by various other data. First, the older children become more aware of the group character of government rather than simply identifying it with single persons. Second, the more frequent choice of Congress probably also reflects a greater awareness of governmental institutions-particularly the ongoing organizations engaged in law-making (as suggested undoubtedly in the beginning social studies, history, or civics texts). Children move, in a sense, from a very personalized conception of governmental authority to one better characterized as "legal-rational," institutionalized, or impersonal political authority, to continue the Weberian parallel. Third, children appear to reflect a greater awareness of the representative character of these institutions. Impersonalization
of authority is coincident with some growth in the recognition of regime norms, in this case of the rules of behavior that contribute to representation. This conclusion is borne out to some degree by the third marked shift which occurs-that concerning the older child's greater tendency to pick "voting" as the best picture of our government. Thus, by grade eight nearly half the children choose voting. This suggests some beginning awareness of the regime rules associated with popular democracy and the role of ordinary people in it. The child's conception of government is, therefore, brought in stages from far to near, from one small set of persons to many people, from a personalistic to an impersonalized form of authority, and toward an awareness of the institutionalization in our system of such regime norms as are embodied in the idea of a representative, popular democracy. There are obviously a number of further tests we would wish to make on these hypotheses. We would also wish to keep in mind that by no means all of these children appear to be going through these stages of cognitive development. But the patterns which emerge seem to us at least very striking, and they are supported in various ways from our other data. 4 Generally, therefore, in these data about the cognitive development of this rather abstract category of the individual's political thought, we detect more than a mere glimmering of a concept. Furthermore, the emergent conception in this instance seemingly reflects some fairly wide and regularly changing comprehension for aggregates of children. This suggests that considerable societal efforts are probably being made to transmit a concept deemed appropriate in the American political system. If we compare children with their teachers, for example, we find that the latter most roundly endorse the two options dominant for the eighth-grade children. The proportions are even higher for the teachers, however, so that in terms of the statistical norms, they stand perhaps closer to the end-state suggested by the direction of movement of the children. Thus the teachers-who are highly salient agents of the child's political and general conceptual develop-
The Child's Image of Government
ment-have a concept that is quite in line with the child's apparent maturational tendencies. One could hypothesize, therefore, that a part of society's efforts to inform the child is reflected in the teachers' responses.
The Concept of Government and the Law-making Function A supporting piece of evidence which is connected to the above, but supplements it from the standpoint of governmental functions (rather than from the structural aspects of the concept alone), has to do with the child's changing awareness of the chief law-makers in our system of government. One thing we find is the fact that, of the various kinds of political or other functions that the child most readily associates with goverment, the making of laws is very prominent. That is, when the child is asked, "What does the government do?" he is quite likely to answer that he, it, or they make the laws. A questionnaire item that we presented in this connection reads as follows: "Who makes the laws? Put an X next to the one who does the most to make the laws." The options were: ( 1) Congress, (2) President, ( 3) Supreme Court, ( 4) I don't know. The same pictures as before were used. In Table 3, we see the patterns of change over the grade span for this aspect of the child's understanding. Here the President's early dominance is apparent, but Congress gradually supplants him by grade five. Thus, by the middle grades the child is both increasingly prone to identify Congress as the chief source of law-making as well as a more representative symbol of our government than the President. If this trend should continue into adulthood, we would expect great support for Congress as the primary institution of government vis-a-vis the President. We would expect that, of the opposing observations of Max Lerner and Robert Lane, for example, those of Lane would be given support. Lerner observed (as cited by Lane) that "when the American thinks of
TABLE 3: Development of an Awareness of the Chief Law-Maker (Per Cent of Children and Teachers Responding)•
NNot N I Supreme Don't Respond- Responding ing Court Know
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
4.79 11.41 27.51 57.39 65.06 72.14 85.33
75.55 66.14 44.11 19.35 13.25 8.88 5.44
11.49 16.93 21.07 19.85 18.30 16.41 7.87
8.17 5.52 7.31 3.40 3.38 2.57 1.36
1,627 1,648 1,723 1,793 1,743 1,712 1,690
28 30 26 10 6
•CA.9, item 33.
his government, he thinks first of the President as its symbol."S If "first" means while he is a second- or third-grader, then Lerner is correct. But this does not appear to be the sense in which he is using the word. In light of the developmental trends we see in our data, our respondents seem to resemble more closely the "common men" in Lane's Eastport study. Lane found that his respondents were more likely to perceive government in terms of its legislative functions than its administrative or judicial ones. 6 As far as the common men in Eastport were concerned, Congress was the most important focus of their concept of government. Lane also found that government (and Congress) are thought of in terms of their products, namely, the laws they make. 7 His subjects consider government and Congress as benign, helpful, and responsive-an organization "working for the people, not merely restraining them." s All of these findings converge with our data as far as the developmental trends are concerned. The oldest children in our test group are those who most resemble the common men of
The Child's Image of Government
Eastport. One can therefore interpret what we find as an indication that this image of government is one not confined to the period of Lane's study but seems to have more general application. Our respondents tend over the grades toward the adoption of a vision of government which puts great emphasis upon Congress as the center of government, upon law as its most visible product, and upon benign, helpful, protective, and responsive qualities as those most appropriately describing its manner of operation. The latter, more affective image will be discussed shortly after we present some further findings concerning cognitive development.
Differentiation of the Public Sector Even though the children tested assert a growing awareness of government as an idea and object, are they in fact, able to distinguish it as a sphere separate from other areas of social life? If attitudes toward the authorities as an object are to have relevance for later ties to the system, we need some evidence indicating that even in their earliest years children are, in fact, able to recognize some minimal difference between that which is governmental and that which is not. Only under such conditions could we infer that attitudes toward government-to which we shall turn in a moment-refer to distinctively political bonds. To discover whether the child's declared knowledge of what government means includes a capacity to discriminate governmental from nongovernmental objects, we chose to test his awareness of the difference between what we normally view as the public and private sectors of life. A variety of contexts could be used to test for this differentiation-activities of various kinds, organizations, symbols, or personnel. We have chosen for our test the last because we found that the formulation, "people who do various jobs to help the community," is a rather familiar context for the child who has been exposed to
the beginning social studies texts. The child learns that a variety of "community helpers" exist, ranging from doctors and nurses to firemen and street sweepers. What we asked was very simple. Taking various occupations-milkman, policeman, soldier, judge, postman, and teacher-we said: "Here are some people. Which ones work for the government?" Then followed six questions with an appropriate picture for each such as: "Does the MILKMAN work for the government?" The options were: ( 1) Yes, (2) No. What we found is shown in Table 4. Only the first of these people was considered by us to be clearly outside the governmental system as determined by his occupation. 9 Of the rest, two were more directly local government workers-the policeman and the teacher; two were clearly national government workers-the soldier and the postman; and one was indeterminate as among levels-the judge. Several things are apparent from the table. Of these workers, the milkman is the one (as we would expect) who is least often identified as a member of the public sector. Around 70 per cent of the youngest children were able to make an accurate assessment of his nongovernmental status. From grade four on, this proportion steadily increased so that by grade eight, less than 10 per cent were in error. For the rest, the policeman and the judge are most easily recognized as belonging in the governmental system by the youngest children. Then come the soldier, postman, and teacher in that order. Both the soldier and postman-the more nearly exclusively national government workers-increase in the proportion of children endorsing them at successively higher grade levels, until, by grade eight, they are the ones who, with the judge, get the greatest governmental identification. The teacher, on the other hand, does not really make any major gains over the grades, but remains somewhat ambiguous with respect to her governmental status. And this effect holds for the teacher respondents as well. Somehow the status of the teacher is a more complex one.
4: Development of an Awareness of the Public and Private Sectors (Per Cent of Children and Teachers Responding)a
N Responding (varies by item)
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
29.12 30.77 28.03 20.54 16.24 12.85 8.38
86.04 89.11 90.98 88.99 87.84 82.47 80.95
68.33 79.16 83.17 90.18 93.28 95.52 98.11
86.42 88.35 88.70 90.45 91.70 94.16 93.72
56.87 62.74 71.35 80.02 85.53 89.02 93.20
48.01 54.95 58.29 62.65 64.48 64.03 59.31
1,601-1,626 1,627-1,656 1,702-1,730 1,778-1,792 1,730-1,747 1,697-1,718 1,681-1,692
•CA-9, items 49-54.
That something else is ;_:>robably at work is seen when we compare with the others the perception over the grades of the teacher and the policeman-both local-governmental in status. Both, over the grades, suffer some net decline in the proportions of children endorsing their governmental status while the other government workers show gains. Possibly the older child is more likely to direct his attention to the national level for his image of government, and, therefore, his differentiation is conflicted for local government workers. This would fit, at least, other somewhat similar findings about the child's greater awareness of the national than of the lower levels of government.10 It also explains the markedly lower percentage of teachers who identify policeman and teachers as working for the government. In general, the child in his elementary years attains the capacity to differentiate the governmental system of behavior from nongovernmental systems. This does not mean that he is able to do so in every conceivable way. Our data suggest only that he is increasingly able to do this for the personnel of government. His concept of government, therefore, does become a differentiated one, at least in these terms. Again, this suggests a development beyond that of only a rudimentary grasp of this complex object in these early years of political awareness. There is thus sufficient content in the child's perception of government for us to have some confidence that when we now come to talk about his attitudes toward this object, it will reflect affect toward a genuinely political (that is, public) authority. It will also prove significant for our interpretation that there is even a tendency to think of government at the national rather than at the local level.
Summary of Findings As a possible object toward which affect might be directed, the idea of government undergoes far-reaching changes in the
The Child's Image of Government
cognitive development of the child as represented in our test group. As he passes through grades two to eight, he begins with a rudimentary notion in which government is personal in character, represented by a few high-ranking and visible leaders. But as he grows older, the child sees government in less personal terms. He becomes increasingly aware of its group character and its major institutions; he learns something about the norms (voting) of a representative and popular democracy. In addition, it is crucial that the child proves increasingly able to identify government as something that is different from the private sector of life, however the latter may be defined in different epochs of society. All of these things suggest that, aside from any feelings that may be associated with government, the efforts by society to convey an adequate representation of this abstract object are by no means in vain. THE CHILD'S AFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO GOVERNMENT
Although analytically we are able to separate the cognitive aspects of the image of government from accompanying feelings toward it, empirically they go hand in hand. For an understanding of the way in which the American political system stimulates diffuse support for the political authorities, it is critical to appreciate the fact that from the very beginning of his awareness-at its conceptually most rudimentary stagethe child interprets government as something provided to further his welfare and that of the people around him. The benevolent, protective, helpful, and otherwise good qualities of government constitute the first and continuing over-all context of evaluation. Even at the end of this period-when the child is thirteen or fourteen years of age, and government and individual authorities, such as the President and the policeman, are beginning to be seen more realistically and less ideallythe child still regards them as great blessings, if slightly mixed ones.
The child thus continues to endorse government even though what he understands it to be is changing. Having started off his evaluation in highly positive terms, he seems reluctant to give it up. In this we see, perhaps, the early formation of a bond that it is hard to loosen. It is a bond that entails future diffuse support for the governmental system. 11
The Child's Approval of Government's Role In our pilot data, we found such a uniformly favorable affective image of government, from the earliest grades onward, that we felt no special large-scale effort was necessary to deal with this in our final instrument. Yet we do have some data from our eight cities which bear upon the question. First, however, we shall present a few examples of our considerable body of pilot data in order to show how highly consensual our young children's approval of government is over the whole grade range. In an instrument administered to children in the Chicago area, we proposed that the children either agree or disagree with statements such as these : The government is getting too big for America. The government meddles too much in our private lives. The government has too much power. The United States government usually knows what is best for the people. 5. The government ought to give money and food to people out of work. 6. The government should have more power over the people. 12
1. 2. 3. 4.
We attempted as far as possible to retain the original wording of statements of children in our pretest interviews-but reversing the items in several cases. The patterns of response to these statements are shown in Table 5. What we see is that children at all of these grade levels roundly approve of government. They reject, at a fairly high
5: Attitudes Toward the Role of Government 2.
"The government is getting too big for America."
"The government meddles too much in our private lives."
"The government has too much power."
"The government usually knows what is best for the people."
"The government ought to give money and food to people out of work."
6. "The government should have more power over the people."
3 4 5 6 7 8
16 14 10 7 13 11
113 125 118 146 143 149
28 21 17 19 19 14
36 19 22 10 12 15
116 122 118 146 139 147
80 77 87 84 91 84
69 119 117 145 139 147
70 84 80 78
69 119 117 143 139 145
22 33 24 13
69 120 117 145 138 145
116 145 139 148
level of agreement (75 per cent or more), the first three statements about the scope of government becoming too large. Statements 4 and 5, on the other hand, reflect approval of the role of government in guiding and caring for the people, and these statements elicit a high level of agreement. Only for the last statement do we see any impetus toward restricting the role of government; that is, the children like it the way it is. The over-all response is one which is better characterized as collectivist endorsement than individualistic disapproval of government. In spite of the great myth of rugged individualism which is supposed to pervade the American consciousness, these children, at least, seem to be inclined toward the opposite kind of feeling about government. Thus the child begins as something of a natural collectivist, and whatever individualistic tendencies he may exhibit are developed later on. The sixth item suggests, moreover, that the child is likely to be a "conservative collectivist" in that he is not much in favor of extending the scope of government beyond its present limits. He is rather happy with government as it stands and would not give it "more power over the people." Thus, the child's early contentment with government is fairly complete, and it is one which exhibits the characteristics of a high acceptance of government as a given, necessary part of the natural environment. If the child is to develop discontent and a desire for change, it is undoubtedly yet to be learned. It thus will be overlaid upon an early base of high regard for the government.
The Child's Rating of Government's Qualities The early positive regard for the government is shown, as well, over a larger group of respondents in some ratings of the government in our final "eight cities" questionnaire. Using five role atttibutes and qualities of government as descriptions, we asked the child to "think of the Government as it really is." The items (CA-9, items 32-36) reads as follows:
Think of the Government as it really is ... (Circle the number of your choice) 1
Almost never makes mistakes
Rarely makes mistakes
Sometimes makes mistakes
Often makes mistakes
Usually makes mistakes
Almost always makes mistakes
Would always want to help me if I needed it
Would almost always want to help me if I needed it
Would usually want to help me if I needed it
Would sometimes want to help me if I needed it
Would seldom want to help me if I needed it
Would not usually want to help me if I needed it
Makes important decisions all the time
Makes important decisions a lot of the time
Makes important decisions sometimes
Makes important decisions seldom
Almost never makes important decisions
Never makes important decisions
Think of the Government as it really is ... (Circle the number of your choice) (Continued) 2
Can punish anyone
Can punish almost anyone
Can punish many people
Can punish some people
Can punish a few people
Can punish no one
Knows more than anyone
Knows more than most people
Knows more than many people
Knows less than many people
Knows less than most people
Knows less than anyone
The Child's Image of Government
We asked for these ratings at grades four to eight. The results are shown in Table 6. Over-all, on these five ratings 1 3 approval of government is high across the grades. There is some decline for two of these ratings, however, and an increase on three. The most apparently affectively loaded item, "would want to help me if I needed it," for example, shows a greater tendency for the older child to rate the government's willingness to help him "almost always" or "usually" rather than "always." And the same is true for the somewhat affectively loaded item "make mistakes." The more cognitively directed, role-relevant items show steady increases in the more positive categories, although the perception of government's capacity to punish is seemingly never as high as the other two- "makes important decisions" and "knows more than other people." Perhaps the most interesting observation is that the most directly affective item, "would want to help me if I needed it," elicits a high regard for government over the whole span of grades, with a small drop of this support for the older children.
Summary of the Child's Affective Response to Government The child's affect in this context begins high but diminishes somewhat as he learns more about the political world. He begins with deep sympathy for government, and this early aura of approval is likely to remain at the base of his acceptance of the government, whatever later modifications and limitations he puts on his trust and approval. These limited data, at least, suggest that he certainly begins with highly supportive feelings.
To maintain a social construct as varied, extensive, and demanding of social resources as government, a broad panoply of forces need to be set in motion to provide the requisite support. The political socialization of new members is one of
Ratings of the Qualities of Government (Per Cent of Children Responding) 1. "Makes mistakes"
1. Almost Never
4 5 6 7 8
29.75 23.95 22.18 16.78 13.44
6. Almost Always
N Not Responding
.87 .39 .40 .12 .18
.53 .17 .63 .41 .36
2.02 2.10 2.12 2.21 2.31
1,499 1,787 1,740 1,716 1,681
250 16 9 7 14
N Not Responding
2.47 2.72 2.70 2.75 2.81
1,488 1,777 1,735 1,714 1,676
261 26 14 9 19
42.70 45.72 47.93 48.89 45.51
25.02 27.87 27.18 31.59 38.25
1.13 1.90 1.67 2.21 2.26
2. "Would want to help me if I needed it" 1. Grade
2. Almost Always
4 5 6 7 8
25.27 16.60 16.60 15.64 13.66
31.72 31.01 31.12 29.00 28.82
6. Not Usually
23.92 27.80 28.36 30.92 32.34
11.63 16.26 16,43 15.99 15.93
5.17 5.29 4.50 5.72 6.26
2.28 2.98 3.00 2.74 2.98
Ratings of the Qualities of Government (Per Cent of Children Responding) (Continued)
3. "Makes important decisions"
1. All the Time
2. A lot of the Time
4 5 6 7 8
35.01 38.75 47.70 54.32 57.81
47.93 46.89 40.39 35.06 35.16
13.92 12.00 9.78 8.75 5.72
5. Almost Never
2.21 1.63 1.32 1.46 .83
.54 .45 .35 .06 .18
N Not Responding
.40 .28 .46 .35 .30
1.87 1.79 1.68 1.59 1.51
1,494 1,783 1,738 1,714 1,678
255 20 11 9 17
N Not Responding
1,489 1,776 1,735 1,705 1,668
260 27 14 18
4. "Can punish"
2. Almost Anyone
4 5 6 7 8
13.90 13.68 19.83 22.46 26.44
29.28 33.67 31.82 31.79 30.58
3. Many People
4. Some People
5. A Few People
6. No One
24.11 25.45 23.29 23.75 21.28
19.01 16.61 14.47 13.43 12.83
9.13 6.53 6.22 5.34 5.52
4.57 4.05 4.38 3.23 3.36
2.94 2.81 2.69 2.57 2.50
Rating of the Qualities of Government (Per Cent of Children Responding) (Continued)
More Than Anyone
2. More Than Most People
3. More Than Many People
4. Less Than Many People
5. Less Than Most People
Less Than Anyone
4 5 6 7 8
13.68 11.35 14.02 16.05 15.34
44.67 52.11 52.05 54.09 58.24
36.35 33.56 29.95 27.34 23.83
2.88 1.46 2.25 1.65 1.56
1.41 .79 .75 .53 .60
1.01 .73 .98 .35 .42
2.37 2.30 2.27 2.18 2.15
1,491 1,779 1,733 1,701 1,662
258 24 16 22 33
The Child's Image of Government
the most far-reaching and most consequential of these forces. The political system must somehow provide a flow of information about and continuously create deep feelings of loyalty and obedience for its basic forms. One of these is its government or authorities. Government is a primary focus for the generation of politically supportive or disaffective orientations. Our data suggest that in the United States a supportive image of government is being widely and regularly reproduced for young new members. The average grade-school child of our test group appears to experience some rather basic changes in his conception of government -changes which move him toward a cognitive image that conforms to the requirements of a democratic political system. He begins, as a "political primitive," with a vision of government as the embodiment of a man or a small set of men who constitute a yet dimly recognized form of external authority. This authority applies to the immediate environment of the child in a rather abstract way as well as to the wider world beyond. Probably the first recognizable shadow that flickers across the wall of the cave of the child's unformed political mind is that of the President. He forms the initial visible object of the political world, and, from him, the child builds down, gradually incorporating more and more objects below him until the image becomes rounded and complex. The child, moving down toward a plural, complex, and functional conception of government (as our unpublished data show) runs upon representative and popular institutions. He raises Congress and voting in his mind's eye to positions of dominance as symbolic associations and thus elicits democracy in his interpretation of what our government is. At the same time, he is beginning to sharpen his knowledge about the boundaries of government by sorting what is outside the realm of government from what is within it. This finally adds up to a picture supportive of a democratic interpretation and evaluation, a picture that becomes rapidly and forcefully exhibited in these years, as other data, not reported as yet, confirm. The child is initiated into a supportive
stance by what is probably high exposure to cues and messages about government, even while he is essentially unconcerned with such matters and too young to do much about them even if he wished. He learns to like the government before he really knows what it is. And as he learns what it is, he finds that it involves popular participation (voting) and that this is a valuable part of its countenance. It is further reason for liking it; and liking it is what the child continues to do. The child has somehow formed a deep sympathy for government even before he knows that he is in some way potentially part of it. We know of course that such a process of changing understanding and feeling must go beyond these early years. And later experiences may upset these earlier formed images. Yet we know as well, from what little evidence there is directly about support for government per se, that adult Americans are also highly supportive of their government, whatever exaggerations may exist about their belief in limited government. 14 In these exploratory data that we have presented, we think we see growing the deep roots of this supportive sentiment. Furthermore, our data enable us to link up our discussion of the cognitive and affective aspects of the child's image of government, at least in a speculative way. Two things stand out in our data. First, the child begins with a view of government as composed of palpable, visible persons-such as the President or a past President, Washington. Second, as he makes his initial contact with government, it becomes a symbol of orientation to political life that is charged with positive feelings. If we now make the plausible assumption that a child of seven or eight is not likely to develop such feelings about impersonal organizations or institutions, we can appreciate the significance of the fact that his first glimpse of government is in the form of the President. It permits the child to express toward a figure of political authority sentiments that he is already accustomed to displaying to other human beings in his environment. From this we would draw the hypothesis that the personalizing of the initial orientation to political authority has important
The Child's Image of Government
implications for the input of support to a political system as the child continues through his early years into adolescence. As he fills in his picture of government, adding, to leading figures, such institutions as Congress and such regime rules as voting, we would suggest that the affect orginally stimulated by his personalized view of government subtly spills over to embrace other aspects of government and the regime itself. But for this process it is difficult to see how impersonal, remote, and complex organizations such as Congress or practices such as voting could possibly catch the imagination of a child and win his affection. Yet our data do show that positive sentiment toward government, even after the child has begun to see it in impersonal terms, is so high as to approach a consensual level. When we add to this the fact that children tend to view government as national rather than local in its scope, we can appreciate the unifying force that this image must have in a system such as the United States. This interpretation carries us far beyond its immediate significance for socialization into the American political system. In effect, we may have encountered here a central mechanism available to many political systems in building up diffuse support in each wave of children as they enter a political system through birth into it. In many ways a child born into a system is like an immigrant into it. But where he differs is in the fact that he has never been socialized to any other kind of system. That is to say, he is being socialized politically for the first time rather than resocialized as for an immigrant. The fact that the new member is a child rather than an adult with a pre-existing set of attitudes toward political life creates a need for special devices to build support for the regime and authorities. Each system will, of course, have its own specific mode of personalization. It may take the form of a monarch, a paramount chief, a renowned elder or ancestor, a charismatic leader, or a forceful dictator. But the pattern of making government a warm and palpable object through its initial symbolization as a person, the high affect that this permits for a child, and the possible subsequent overflow of this feeling to cold and impersonal
EAST 0 N
DE N NI S
institutions and norms may form a complex but widespread mechanism for attaching to the system those members who are new to it by virtue of their birth in it.
REFERENCE S 1. For the idea that persistence includes change, see D. Easton, A Framework
5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.
for Political Analysis (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1965) and A Systems Analysis of Political Life (New York: Wiley, 1965 ). Ibid. David Easton with R. D. Hess, "The Child's Changing Image of the President," Public Opinion Quarterly, 24, 632-644; "Youth and the Political Systems," Culture and Social Character, eds. S. M. Lipset and L. Lowenthal (New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1961); and "The Child's Political World," Midwest Journal of Political Science, 6 (1962 ), 229-246. Some of these supporting data will be presented below; other kinds of data will be shown in other publications. Max Lerner, America as a Civilization (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1957), p. 377. Robert Lane, Political Ideology (New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1962 ), p. 146. Ibid., pp. 147-148. Ibid., pp. 145, 149. Pretesting had indicated that "the milkman" was as good an indicator as numerous other private roles. See Fred Greenstein, Children and Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965 ), pp. 60-61. For the concept "diffuse support," see D. Easton, A Systems Analysis of Political Life, op. cit. These questions are from our pilot questionnaire "In My Opinion-# Ill," items 50, 125, 169, 170, and 151, respectively. We have the same five ratings, as well as others, for the President, the child's father, the policeman, the average United States senator, and the Supreme Court. We will present comparisons of these ratings in a later report. See V. 0. Key, Jr., Public Opinion and American Democracy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1961 ), pp. 28-32; M. Janowitz, D. Wright, and W. Delaney, Public Administration and the Public: Perspectives toward Government in a Metropolitan Community (Ann Arbor: Bureau of Government, University of Michigan, 1958), pp. 31-35; and Donald E. Stokes, "Popular Evaluations of Government: An Empirical Assessment," Ethics and Bigness, eds. Harlan Cleveland and Harold D. Lasswell (New York: Harper, 1962), pp. 61-72.
Children and Politics FRED GREENSTEIN
"The analysis of . . . political socialization in a particular society," as Almond comments, "is basic to the whole field of political analysis, since it not only gives us insight into the pattern of political culture and subcultures in that society, but also locates for us in the socialization processes of the society the points where particular qualities and elements of the political culture are introduced, and the points in the society where these elements are being sustained or modified. 1 In this study it has been possible to consider only a handful of the many aspects of political socialization that deserve inquiry. And we have examined only a single sample of fourth-through eighth-grade children, in one community and one culture at one point in time. From Children and Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965), pp. 153-160. [email protected] 1965 by Yale University.
G RE E N S T E I N
I now turn briefly to the implications of the New Haven findings and, more generally, to a consideration of the tactics of inquiry which might be fruitful in studying political socialization. The next step might be the specification of hypotheses for research, but, since virtually every aspect of adult political behavior can be studied in terms of its preadult antecedents, the universe of possible hypotheses is simply too large to consider here. Furthermore, it is an ever expanding universe. IMPLICATIONS OF THE NEW HAVEN FINDINGS
We have taken note of children's feelings toward political authority, the development of their political information and partisan motivations, the relationship between social class and political learning, sex differences in political learning, and change and continuity over the years in children's exemplars. Without attempting to be exhaustive, we may review certain of the main conclusions. The child's first conception of political authority seems to have more affective than cognitive content. The child, like the adult, has a quite firm impression that figures such as the President of the United States are important, but he has no clear understanding of what these individuals do. The affective response to political leaders is strikingly positive, more so than adult responses to leaders. Children's feelings toward politicians are unambivalent. The prevailing adult theme of cynicism toward politics and politicians evidently develops at adolescence or later. The precedence of affective over cognitive learning also is apparent in the development of partisan motivations, especially party identification. Children acquire party attachments before they can make more than the most fragmentary distinctions about the nature of political parties, about what the parties stand for, even about who the parties' public representatives are. Party preferences are fixed early; they precede the advent of issue orientations, or "mature" evaluations of candidates. Thus, from an early age, party preferences are available for
Children and Politics
shaping issue and candidate preferences and, more generally, for perceiving the world of politics. Information about political institutions begins with awareness of the names of a few conspicuous public officialsthe president, and in New Haven, the mayor. Gradually an awareness of their duties develops. At each level of government, it is the executive who is understood before the legislative body and the individual legislators. Among the levels of government, the federal is the first at which there is awareness of both executive and legislature; the state level is the last about which learning takes place. The leitmotif of our analysis of political development was the importance of early learning. Children seem first to become familiar with and adopt the orientations which are important in the behavior of adults: party rather than issue or candidate orientations; information about the national and local political arenas, rather than the state level, and about executives rather than legislatures. In addition, the positive side of adult orientations toward political leaders is learned before attitudes of political cynicism are adopted; and these positive orientations seem to have more bearing on adult political behavior than do the negative orientations. In part, political orientations which are important to adults are first learned by children because these are the orientations adults are most likely to display before children and to be able to explain to children. Orientations learned at an early age also may have reciprocal effects on adult attitudes because early learning occurs during a plastic, formative period, and can affect later learning. Differences in the political participation of adults of different social class backgrounds and of men and women are clearly presaged by similar differences among preadolescent children. In both cases, the pattern of childhood political differences, and the more general pattern of nonpolitical socialization differences, help us to understand the adult phenomenon. Lower-status child-rearing practices foster compliance to authority; upper-status socialization places a much greater emphasis on self-expression and individual aspiration. And we
F R E D
GR E E N S T E I N
find that upper-status children are a good bit more capable than lower-status children of criticizing political authority and more readily learn to perceive themselves as independent judges of political events. In addition, of course, lower-status children acquire from their parents less political information and fewer incentives to participate in politics than do upperstatus children. They also are less likely to develop the sorts of skills that facilitate politic .05). At best, these are modest trends. There is relatively little ground for saying, "The President is increasingly seen as a person whose abilities are appropriate to the demands of his office .... "36 Furthermore, the very high incidence of "don't know" does not decline significantly with age (see note to Table 1 ). Such a high rate was to be expected of a deprived, unsophisticated population. But the fact that it remains high even among high-school seniors (mean nonresponse rate is 27%) provides further evidence that, politically speaking, nothing is happening to these Appalachian youth as they mature. They certainly do not appear to be developing into adults devoted to symbols of extant political authority. Finally, the stark contrast of these data to those on other American children is heightened when the consideration of social class is introduced. It has often been observed that lower class children have a greater propensity to idealize political figures. 37 This may well be due to the fact that such children are less politicized than their middle class counterparts. Being less developed and less knowledgeable, they have developed fewer critical faculties and continue to exhibit the "immature" response of excessive deference. It is impossible to determine whether the same class phenomenon operates within Appalachia, for the sample as a whole is overwhelmingly lower class. 38 But because of their lower class position relative to the rest of the country, Knox County youngsters generally should be highly idealizing. The data, of course, reveal the diametric opposite. It is clear that Appalachia constitutes a distinct subculture, one in which there are operative variables sufficiently powerful to prevent the occurrence of what is by now expected as a matter of course. Table 2 describes the more generalized affect manifested in political cynicism. The scores of the Knox County youngsters
Political Cynicism Scores*
Knox County data (whole sample) most cynical 6 5 4 3 2 least cynical 1 Total
8% 11 19 19 23 21 101% N = 305
Knox County data (high school only) 26%
20 15 6
100% N =54
SRC national sample 5% 3 13 37 25 17
Smirnov two-sample test Knox County data (whole sample) and SRC national sample, D = .16,p < .001 Knox County data (High school only and SRC national sample, D = .40, p < .001
100% N = 1869
•It has been assumed that the Political Cynicism Scale generated Guttman scalar patterns in the Knox County Data as it did in the SRC National Sample. To compensate for the possible invalidity of this assumption, the items were conse1·vatively dichotomired and conservatively scored. Only choice of the most cynical available alternative was considered a cynical response. Failure of a respondent to choose the most cynical alternative for whatever reason, including nonresponse, resulted in the recording of a noncynical item score.
J AR 0 S
H I RS C H
F L E R0 N
are compared to those of the Survey Research Center's nationwide sample of high school seniors. 3 9 The greater cynicism of the subculture sample is evident. Since the Survey Research Center deals only with high school students, perhaps comparisons should be made only with the high school portion (grades 10-12) of the Knox County sample. Though this portion is significantly more cynical, the small number of subjects in it perhaps recommends use of the entire sample. One might think that the introduction of younger respondents would depress cynicism scores (age and cynicism are reportedly positively related in children), 40 but this does not happen to any great degree. In any event, even the entire 5-12 grade Knox County sample is significantly more cynical than the SRC twelfth graders. The implication of this, of course, is that in Appalachia, unlike the rest of the United States, there is relatively little change in cynicism with maturation. That this is the case is revealed by the nonsignificant re= -.02 between school grade and political cynicism score. Early in life these children appear to become relatively cynical and they stay that way. Thus, though at this point it remains unexplained, there is no doubt that Appalachian children manifest far less favorable political affect than do their counterparts elsewhere in the United States. Regardless of the index in question, the responses of our sample stand in sharp contrast to other research. Just as supportive dispositions in citizens have been asserted to have early roots, so may the Appalachians' often-noted rejection of political authority germinate during early years. Moreover, also in some contrast to findings of other research, the affective orientations of these subjects does not change greatly with increasing age. These negative images are relatively static. This nonvariant affect suggests the operation of a pervasive socialization agent early in the lives of these children. 41 This in turn suggests the desirability of examining the causal efficacy of variables related to an early agent frequently assumed to be an important socializer: the family. It is to this task that we now turn.
The Malevolent Leader
THE FAMILY AS TRANSMITTER OF SPECIFIC POLITICAL VALUES
What kinds of general explanatory propositions about the socialization process are consistent with these data? If parents typically transmit the substantive content of their values about government to their children, then the very negative political affect observed among Appalachian youngsters should be related to similar assessments on the part of their mothers and fathers.4 2 Evidence on this can be gained by examining the nature of the relationship between our family political orientation items and childrens' political affect (Table 3). Since responses to family political orientation items were recorded in terms of degree of agreement (from disagree very much to agree very much), they constitute ordinal variables as do the presidential image and cynicism measures. The evidence on the amount of impact they have on these child political affect variables, however, is mixed. Some fairly substantial taus are accompanied by others approaching zero. But it is interesting to note where the significant relationships occur. Primarily, they involve Presidential competence items and the cynicism scale. These may be the most important dependent variables. Several scholars have observed that childhood evaluations of the personal qualities of the President, which here do not relate to family political orientation, are "less functionally relevant" to future adult behavior than are assessments of role-filling capabilities. As stated above, these observers express no alarm at the decline with age of evaluations of Presidential benevolence. Similarly, the fact that parental values do not seem to influence them may not be great evidence about the inefficacy of familial values in conditioning important childhood orientations. If political cynicism represents a more developed kind of evaluation, it is significant that it appears to depend upon these parental variables. Regarded as an important encapsulator of
Relationship Between Family Political Orientation and Child's Political Affect
Family political orientation item "I don't think people in the government care much what people like my family think"*
"My family doesn't have any say about what the government does."*
Child's political affect measure
p < p > p > p
.001 .05 .001 .05
view of the honesty of the President
view of the President's liking for people view of the President's knowledge
view of the President as a person
> .05 p > .05 p < .01 p > .05 p < .01
political cynicism scale *Disagreement scored as positive value.
The Malevolent Leader
youthful political affect, this construct may be a crucial indicator whose antecedents should be known. Family political values, then, appear to have some effect on children's political affect. Especially given the fact that the affective variables in question appear to be among the most significant, the direct transmission hypothesis takes on some credibility. This suggests the desirability of more detailed investigations of the content of intra-familial political communication.
THE FAMILY AS PROTOTYPICAL AUTHORITY STRUCTURE
A totally different kind of dynamic is implied in the notion of relations with the family as a model for political affect. It is not, however, incompatible with the notion that the family transmits specific value content to the young. It is entirely possible that both processes operate simultaneously. Moreover, since the relationships are relatively small, our data on value transmission fairly demand that additional explanatory tacks be taken. Table 4 demonstrates the effects of father-image and integrity of the family on Appalachian children's political orientations. Again, evidence is somewhat mixed. Three fatherimage items 43 are placed against their Presidential-image parallels and against cynicism. There is almost a complete lack of relationship. Not only does the "great overlap of the images of father and President" 44 fail to appear among these children, but the more generalized political affect measured by cynicism does not depend on how they see their fathers. In short, there is no evidence at all to support the hypothesis that evaluations of family authority figures are directly projected to remote, political ones. If the father-image hypothesis thus suffers, another dynamic by which the family might serve as a model for regime affect fares even worse. The presence or absence of the father might be thought to have political consequences for children. A fatherless home is disrupted and generally thought to have nega-
Relationship Between Family Authority Characteristics and Child's Political Affect
Family authority characteristics View of father's liking for people
Child's political affect view of President's liking for people
View of father as a person
Father living with family*
view of President's knowledge
political cynicism View of father's knowledge
view of President as a person
view of how hard President works
view of President's honesty
view of President's liking of people
view of President's knowledge
view of President as a person
> .05 > .05 < .05 < .05
< .05 < .001 > .05 > .05
*This is a dichotomous variable-either the father lives at home or he does not. However, since the father's living at home constitutes a less disrupted family authority structure, we continue to apply ordinal statistics.
The Malevolent Leader
tive implications. Children might project their negative evaluations of such homes onto the political authority. 45 If this were the case, children from fatherless homes should have less positive views. Table 4 reveals exactly the opposite. There are generally low to moderate, but significant, negative relationships between having a father at home and evaluating the President in a favorable light. Fatherless children are more positive toward the political. How can this remarkable result be interpreted? One could argue that there is a cathartic process at work; that there is some sort of psychic necessity (possibly anxiety-related) to regard authority as benign. Perhaps unfortunate home life heightens this need which is then manifested in positive evaluations of the political. 46 This does not seem likely, for as we have just seen, specific negative evaluations of their fathers are not related to childrens' positive political orientations. Rather than resulting in negative authority orientations, father-absence could interfere with the transfer of specific political value content from family to child. A major agent in the transfer process may be absent. Though mixed, there is some evidence in previous research of "male political dominance" in the family. Fathers may be particularly important communicators of political values. 4 7 Children from fatherless homes become more dependent upon their mothers. But mothers are not typically strong political cue-givers. Hence, the typical adult political values of Appalachia will not be so effectively transmitted in the fatherless home. The adult values supposedly involve relatively unfavorable assessments of political authority. The fatherless child escapes close contacts with these values and emerges more positively disposed toward political authority. When this agent is absent, perhaps the media, or other agents bearing more favorable cues, assume a more prominent role in the socialization process. This interpretation, which of course returns us to the transmission-of-specific-values hypothesis, is strongly supported by additional analysis of the data. First, it is clear that there is no unknown process operating to produce more positive adult
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political values in fatherless families. Fatherless and twoparent families are identical in this regard (tau's between father at home and family political value items are-.03 and .00). Though the starting point is the same, it is also clear that the transmission process is greatly attenuated in fatherless homes. This can be seen by imposing a control for father-presence on the relationship between family political orientation and child's political affect (Table 5 ). The data for father-present children are very similar to the collapsed data shown in Table 3, except that the relationship between family value and child affect is generally somewhat stronger. But for father-absent children, the relationship generally declines and in several cases is actually reversed. Not only can the fatherless family not promulgate its political values, but it seems to leave its children very vulnerable to the socialization of other agents, agents with rather different (more positive) values. To be sure, child political cynicism, which is related to family political values, does not appear to be governed by these considerations. Other family-related roots may affect this variable-perhaps those which relate to generalized cynicism.
Children in the relatively poor, rural Appalachian region of the United States are dramatically less favorably inclined toward political objects than are their counterparts in other portions of the nation. Moreover, the image which these children have does not appear to develop with age in the fashion observed for others; there is no indication that a process conducive to the development of political support is operative in Appalachia. Here, children's views appear to be relatively static. These findings have two implications. First, they point to the possibility that the often-emphasized highly positive character of children's views of politics may be a culturally bound phenomenon. One should exercise much caution in accepting such views as a universal norm. Second, the occurrence of such
Relationship Between Family Political Orientation and Child's Political Affect, With Father-Presence Controlled
Family political orientation item I don't think people in the government care much what people like my family think*
My family doesn't have any say about what the government does*
*Disagreement scored as positive value. tRelationship not in predicted direction.
Child's political affect measure
Father-present children re
Father-absent children re
Significance of the difference
view of how hard the President works
view of honesty of the President
.23 .00 .10 -.18
.04 .06 -.11 -.26
p p p p
< .001 < .Olt < .001 < .OJt
. 24. 25.
26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33.
34. 35. 36. 37. 38.
The Malevolent Leader
very small. These schools had a total enrollment of less than fifty and a somewhat smaller number than this in grades five through eight. The questionnaire was administered by regular classroom teachers who had been instructed in its use. Every attempt was made, however, to convice the subjects that despite the context, they were not being tested. Teachers were asked explicitly to communicate this notion. This mode of administration probably produced fewer invalid responses than exposing the subjects to a nonindigenous investigator who would have aroused suspicion. Knox Country was chosen as the site for this study because it to some extent typifies Appalachia. That is, it is isolated, rural, and poor. No air or rail passenger transportation is available and only one U.S. highway crosses the county. Knox county has an annual per capita income of $501 as compared with $2223 for the U .S. as a whole. It is 84% rural while the nation isonly30%. (Source: U.S.CensusofPopulation, 1960.) For commentary on images of the President, see Fred I. Greenstein, "More on Children's Images of the President," Public Opinion Quarterly, 25 (Winter 1961 ), 648-654. For remarks on political cynicism, see Robert E. Agger, Marshall N. Goldstein, and Stanley A. Pearl, "Political Cynicism: Measurements and Meaning," Journal of Politics, 23 (August 1961 ), 477-506. Fred I. Greenstein, "The Benevolent Leader: Children's Images of Political Authority," American Political Science Review, 54 (December 1960), 936; Easton and Hess, Midwest Journal of Political Science, 6, 241. Greenstein, Children and Politics, p. 54. Hess and Easton, Public Opinion Quarterly, 14, 639. Jennings and Niemi, op. cit., p. 13. Ibid., note 30. The evaluation of the Community Action Program in Knox County involved the solicitation of data from a sample of adults. These data can be arranged with those on youngsters to form parent-child pairs. These data are being exploited by Herbert Hirsch. David Easton and Jack Dennis, "The Child's Acquisition of Regime Norms: Political Efficacy," American Political Science Review, 61 (March 1967), 25-38. Ibid., p. 32. Greenstein, American Political Science Review, 54, 938-939. Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), Chapter 6. John E. Horton and Wayne Thompson, "Powerlessness and Political Negativism," American Journal of Sociology, 67 (March 1962 ), 435-493. Easton and Dennis, op. cit. Hess and Easton, Public Opinion Quarterly, 14, 635-642. On father-absence, see David B. Lynn and William L. Sawrey, "The Effects of Father-Absence on Norwegian Boys and Girls," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59 (September 1959), 258-262; George R. Bach, "Father-Fantasises and Father-Typing in Father-Separated Children," Child Development, 17 (March 1946), 63-80. Hess and Easton, Public Opinion Quarterly, 14, 635-642. Ibid. Ibid., p. 639. See for example, Greenstein, Children and Politics, Chapter 5. No reliable information on social class could be secured from the children themselves. Information on occupation or estimated family income simply
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39. 40. 41.
44. 45. 46.
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was not given by these youngsters. Assigning class on the basis of the neighborhood in which individuals live, as Greenstein did, requires that virtually every subject be placed in the lowest social stratum. These rural residents are universally poor. Only 9% of the country's families have incomes over $6,000, and these are almost entirely to be found in the "urban" county seat, which was not sampled. (Source: U.S. Census of Population 1960.) Jennings and Niemi, op. cit., p. 15. Greenstein, Children and Politics, pp. 39-40. This nonvariance, a preliminary look at our data suggests, may be due to the homogeneity and isolation of the area. Family, peer groups, schools and other possible agents of socialization indigenous to the region probably manifest substantially the same configuration of values. Thus if families transmit an initial set of political notions to children, subsequent exposure to school, peers, etc., is likely to reinforce rather than change values. The remote location of the county probably insulates it from electronic or printed media and other external stimuli. Any value implications at variance with indigenous norms which such sources might transmit are thus prevented from having a widespread effect on maturing children. In the absence of additional data, it is difficult to show empirically that the parents of this sample have negative dispositions toward political authority. However, responses to the family political value items, when the distribution is dichotomized, reveal about equal number of agreements (negative dispositions) and disagreements (positive dispositions). Following each item is the percentage of respondents expressing agreement: "I don't think people in the government care much about what people like my family think," 58%; "My family doesn't have any say about what the government does," 43%. The authors are fully aware of the precarious nature of the family value measures. Their proxy nature makes them somewhat suspect. The data they generate are displayed, however, because they are suggestive and because they indicate the kind of research which, in the authors' opinions, should be performed more often. In subsequent publications based on the Appalachian data, direct information on parental values and children's perceptions thereof will be available (See note 25 ). The father-image items are analogous to the Presidential-image items used by Hess and Easton. Though there are five Presidential-image items, only three father-image analogies are used because of objection to asking respondents to evaluate their fathers' honesty or diligence at work. Hess and Easton, Public Opinion Quarterly, 14, 640. Davies, op. cit., 13-15. Judith V. Tourney, The Child's Idealization of Authority (unpublished M.A. thesis, University of Chicago, 1962 ). Greenstein, Children and Politics, p. 119; Kenneth P. Langton, The Political Socialization Process: The Case of Secondary School Students in Jamaica (Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oregon, 1965 ), p. 119. On the other hand, male dominance in the political learning of the young fails to appear in some research: Hyman, Political Socialization, pp. 83-89; Eleanor E. Maccoby, Richard E. Matthews, and Anton S. Morton, "Youth and Political Change," Public Opinion Quarterly, 18 (Spring 1954 ), 23-39.
Becoming a Radical KENNETH KENISTON
To pick out one period of life as crucial to becoming a radical is largely arbitrary. A review of the major themes in the early lives of these young radical leaders indicates the many precursors to their development as radicals. Yet it is possible, for all of those interviewed, to find a period-often of several years-during which they first came to think of themselves as radicals: when those from liberal backgrounds "woke up" to realize that they were part of the New Left, and when those few from radical backgrounds were first able to accept that tradition as their own. In no instance was radicalization sudden or dramatic; in every case, the process was gradual, unself-conscious, "natural,'' and at the time largely unexamined. None of these young men and women deliberately set out From Young Radicals (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1968), pp. 106-146. Copyright@ 1968 by Kenneth Keniston.
to become radicals; rather, they came to realize, as a result of their activities, that they were radicals. Precisely how long this process had been under way depends on how one defines it. In one sense, it had begun in early childhood, where the underpinnings of a later radical commitment were developed. In another sense, radicalization began with the growing sense of self-dissatisfaction and stagnation that afflicted most of these young men and women as they entered adulthood. Defined in still another way, real radicalization began only when these young men and women awoke to realize that, generally without specifically intending it, they considered themselves radicals or a part of the Movement. And certainly some within the New Left would argue that many of those who led Vietnam Summer were still not "real radicals" at all, because they were insufficiently committed to tactics of resistance and confrontation. Only by an arbitrary definition, then, can we designate a certain stage as the stage of radicalization. It is not possible to define a sharp beginning or end to this stage; but one can delimit a period of life when the individual did not think of himself as a radical, followed after an interval of months or years by another period when being a radical was a crucial and even central part of his concept of himself. I will call this intervening interval the stage of radicalization. This stage is important, partly because it is so frequently discussed by radicals themselves, by their sympathizers, and by their detractors. How does one recruit new radicals? Or how can the "spread of radicalism" be prevented? Furthermore, the question of radicalization is relevant to the broader question of how individuals previously inactive in political life come to be involved in, to take positions with regard to, and to be actors in the political process. The topic of radicalization or, more specifically, the question of how to radicalize others, was frequently discussed within Vietnam Summer, and is obviously a crucial question for the entire New Left. My own interest in this question helps explain the willingness of the leaders of Vietnam Summer to cooperate
Becoming a Radical
in this study, for the question seemed vitally relevant to their own continuing work. On long night car rides home from distant meetings, the organizers and office workers of Vietnam Summer sometimes asked each other, "How did you get into this?" and felt closer to each other for the effort to answer. And the more general question, "How can we get others into this?" of course underlay the summer's entire effort; how to build the climate, the organization, and the workers who would create the basis for a mass radical movement was continually discussed. The most common controversy in such discussions was the relative weight of emotion and intellect in radicalization. Some argued that their own involvement in the New Left had been largely the result of feeling, emotion, and passionindignation, idealism, frustration, and anger. Such individuals saw radicalism as a "gut reaction" that preceded the development of more articulated intellectual positions. Others considered that their entry into the New Left had been more a matter of conscious reflection and thought, primarily the result of an intellectual awareness of the discrepancy between America as it is and America as they believed it should be. Arguments within the National Office about how to recruit new workers into the Movement often became polarized around the issue of feeling versus intellect; discussions of tactics opposed emotional and intellectual appeals to the constituencies to be organized. What I have already said of the development of these young radicals should make clear the impossibility of choosing between intellect and emotion in the process of their radicalization. Those I interviewed were in many ways an unusually intellectual group, to whom ideas mattered probably more than they do to most of their contemporaries. All had had to fight the tendency to separate intellect from life; and all had worked hard to join knowledge to action. In this sense, their radicalization had important intellectual origins. But at the same time, all brought to their involvement in the Movement strong emotions, powerful fantasies, and intense feelings of indignation, anger, hope and commitment. Moreover, the psychological diversity of the leaders in Viet-
nam Summer entailed similar diversity in the relative importance of intellect and feeling in their radicalization. In general, each individual's views about how others became radicalized tended to reflect his own perception of how he himself had become radicalized. One, for example, stressed primarily his "need for intellectual stimulation," and his admiration of the intellectual qualities of those he met in his early days in the Movement. He had been involved in a conventional electoral campaign: Bill Westbury came and sort of complimented me for what he felt was a good job that I had played. . . . He said, "SDS is holding a series of seminars this year, and would you like to get involved?" I said, "I would love to," because I really felt the need for intellectual stimulation. . . . At the time, I was for peace, I was for dissent, I was for civil rights, and then sometimes, if the situation presented, I would wind up arguing for socialism. But I would also argue for better Medicare, higher minimum wages, or something like that. I considered myself a sort of liberal. A very militant political liberal. ... [He went to a national student radical meeting.) I heard several people whom I was unimpressed with, but it was Clarkson . . . who just overwhelmed me with his mind. He didn't turn me on and say I should become involved or anything like that. I was just impressed with his mind and his grasp of politics. So I decided at that point that I wanted to become part of that. That was what I was going to do, to be a part of, because I could learn a hell of a lot. And they were nice, they were good people. And I had a lot to learn. So what I did for the next year and a half, was just to listen .... I didn't say a word, I never even opened my mouth. I took notes, and I'd come back at night and study them and try to remember what was said. I read all the literature .... The thing that I was thinking about was what was I going to do with my life, what kind of job am I going to have? And I wound up feeling that I might want to go to graduate school, but I never applied . . . . I wanted to learn, I wanted to learn how America was organized and I wanted to find out more about myself. I figured that these guys and publications and the books that they read could help me to do that. ... Another thing I felt was kind of the ideology of the alienated: "The old values have been destroyed; the old structures and institutions of the past no longer fit our needs; therefore we must rebuild." That's how I personally connected into it.
Becoming a Radical
But even this account makes clear how intertwined were his intellectual needs with his personal needs: his admiration for the first radicals because "they were good people," his questions about "what to do with my life," his need to "find out more about myself." Another interviewee, in contrast, emphasized her primarily emotional reaction to her first meeting with civil rights activists: The initial reaction was just a very emotional one . . . . It wasn't at all intellectual with us. In fact, if we had thought about it, we wouldn't have done it. If we had reflected on it, we would have known the consequences. But it's just one of those things you have to do. . . . That emotional reaction was enough to get us started, but when it came to having any organizational skill or any kind of conception of what we wanted to be doing two or three years from now, that flopped miserably. That's when we had to learn politics. . . .
Here, tional tional tional
too, any neat distinction between intellectual and emoreactions falls down. Although she emphasizes her "emoreaction," she also stresses the more cognitive "organizaskills" and conceptions that she had later to develop. If it is difficult to define exactly the relative weight of intellect and emotion in the political development of these young radicals, it is even harder to provide any simple formula to explain how and why they became radicals. A majority came from politically involved, liberal, and socially conscious families, though not radical ones; but a few came from relatively apolitical families, and some from families with a strong radical tradition. How far these young men and women had to travel, what they had to overcome or to assimilate from their pasts, which emotional and intellectual resources they could take for granted and which they had to develop-all of these differed from individual to individual. But if the leaders of Vietnam Summer are taken as a group, it is possible to define a process of radicalization that applies, to a greater or lesser degree, to most of them. This process involves psychological continuity-indeed, a return to one's roots-at one level, and
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psychological change at another; it entails a major confrontation with unwelcome inequities in American society; and it leads to an activation and engagement whereby the individual comes to feel himself personally responsible for effecting radical changes and feels a part of a movement of others similarly committed. The task of this chapter will be to outline this over-all process of radicalization.
CoNTINUITY AND CHANGE
It is usually assumed that those who hold positions considered
"extreme" by most, whether on the Right or on the Left, are involved in some strong reaction against their past. The taking of radical positions is thus often interpreted as a way of repudiating important layers of unconscious feeling or fantasy, as an unconscious rejection of parents and family traditions, or as a search for an all-embracing ideology to assist the individual in suppression of his own neurotic difficulties. Studies of the "authoritarian personality" have interpreted fascistic ideologywith its black-and-white view of good and evil, strong and weak, heroes and sinners-as a complex working out and denial of the individual's repressed hostilities toward his own parents. Similarly, other writers have argued that there are many "authoritarians of the Left" whose psychodynamics are similar, and this epithet often has been applied to young radicals. The "true believer" is seen as an inwardly empty man, who seizes dogmatically and rigidly upon a utopian ideology in order to relieve his inner emptiness and/or assuage his guilt about his own privileged position. While there have been few empirical studies of radicals of the Left, the most common assumption brought to the analysis of radicalization is, as in the radical-rebel theory, an assumption of a profound and usually unconscious discontinuity. According to this view, radicalism serves the psychological function of rejecting some real attribute of the individual, like his wealth or privileged position, or else serves to repudiate crucial
Becoming a Radical
individuals in the past, like his father. For example, the mistrust of authority found among radicals of all kinds is said to be based on a rejection of, or intolerance for, the authority of their own fathers. My observations of this small group of New Left activists do not allow me to test the validity of such generalizations as they apply to the radical Right, to the Communist Left, or even to the New Left in general. But in the group I studied, explanations that posit a basic discontinuity between the young radical and his past or his tradition, or a major suppression of important aspects of his own personality, are not adequate. Equally irrelevant to this group are those explanations of political "extremism" that point to the role of an embracing ideology in allowing the individual to repress or deny his personal problems : in this group, formal ideology is almost completely absent. Missing as well in this group are those precipitate conversions that suggest a sudden reordering of the personality, accompanied by the suppression of what was previously dominant. In all these respects, the young radicals I studied are exceptions to most generalizations about the process of involvement in politics. In my earlier discussion of the "radical-rebel" and the "reddiaper-baby" hypotheses, I indicated that both continuity and change are present in the development of these young men and women. As I have noted, a psychologist who interviews a group of young men and women about the relationship between their past and present may tend to elicit statements of consistency and continuity. Yet I deliberately attempted to study both continuity and change; indeed, in focusing upon the process of becoming a radical, my questions were intended primarily to evoke statements of what had changed, of how far the individual had come, and of what in his past he had rejected. Since most of this chapter will be devoted to the changes that occurred in the process of radicalization, I will begin by underlining the more important continuities. In considering the relationship of these radicals to their families, two levels of belief must be distinguished. On the one
hand, families have what we can call core values: basic assumptions concerning desirable human relationships, feelings, and motives. Such values-like honesty, deference, success, kindness, achievement, getting one's own way, or humilityare more often implicit and expressed in behavior than formally articulated. On the other hand, families have publicly articulated formal values, which include more intellectual policy statements concerning attitudes to the wider society, formal religious conviction, and so on. Among formal values, articulated political beliefs must be included. Becoming a radical, as seen in this group, involves no fundamental change in core values. To be sure, the formal political beliefs of parents and children invariably differ, even in the children of radical families. But each of those interviewed was brought up in a family whose core values are fully congruent with his present radical activities. For example, the great majority of these radicals' parents currently applaud, approve, or accept their activities; and while some are dubious about the extent of their son's or daughter's commitment to the Movement, their reservations are most often based on "practical" considerations such as the need to obtain more education before plunging into the political world. Especially for those from radical families, the process of radicalization involves a return to the fundamental values of the family. As one young man from a radical family put it: Look, there never were any other values for me to make my own .... There were always just clear lines between those values [of the rest of the community] and mine, those of my parents. I could never adopt those, because they were always the things that seemed opposed to me. Even if I had been a political dullard, from a personal, ego point of view, I never could have done that. These are my values. In college, I began to claim them as my own. They were no longer my family's, because I had to defend them now on my own.
For this individual, as for those few others who came from clearly left-wing families, the process of radicalization did not involve acquiring new values, but rather an arduous effort to make his family's values his own.
Becoming a Radical
In most of the others, who came from politically liberal but not radical families, the continuity must sometimes be read between the lines, but it is nonetheless there. One young man, for example, dropped out of college and lived for a time in Europe. He described his thinking while in Europe as follows: I got really upset about Vietnam in Europe. I followed it in the Times, the Tribune, and Le Monde, and I thought it was for shit. The alienation was really closing in on me. I was seriously thinking of not going back. Or going back and bumping off my B.A. and getting right straight back to Europe and living a Henry Miller-Lawrence Durrell expatriate life. I could get some pad out there in Southern France, there were nice cultural people to talk to, and you could go to see the churches, and go to Greece and smell the lemons. But I just had too much social something in me. I would have missed a lot of things. . . . I wanted to be involved with people, I wanted to be fighting something, and I have a kind of a gut love for the United States .... I thought that if I'm going back to the United States, well, I had this feeling of responsibility. And now it seemed to me that there was some alternative. It didn't seem that one had to go into the foreign service or the party structures to be in public life. I thought, "Look, man, there are a lot of kids raising shit about the war and civil rights back there. There is no reason why I shouldn't be doing something about that. That's good, that's healthy. Only in America are people rising up to try to say something about it. They wouldn't do that here in France . . . . " So I decided to go back and do something about that thing that was bugging me, which is the war.
This same individual discussed his father's values as follows: My old man is very straight with the kids. That's been very important, because it has kept in the back of my mind all the time concepts like responsibilities, seriousness, "If you're going to work on this, you can't just do it on weekends." I have this whole complex of ideas about carrying through with what you start, being serious about it, being confident about it. I really never could have come close to just flipping out and becoming totally alienated ....
For others, the essential continuity was with religious values they had learned at home and in church. One young man, for
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example, described his first participation in a demonstration as follows: One time when I was buying books, I think, up on Central Street, a group of eight or nine people were picketing the local five-andten. I joined them for twenty or twenty-five minutes. I always felt that it was important to witness your beliefs in terms of the church. It was never a big deal for me to become involved. It wasn't a major conversion. It seemed to be relatively natural, something that I had never thought about. It was just there. [K. K. : When you say "witness your beliefs," what were those beliefs?] All people should be equal. And everybody was talking about how Southerners were uncivilized. I mean it wasn't a big deal. . . . Then later there was an announcement on the bulletin board to come to an organizing group called the Student Integrated Housing Committee. So I said, "Well, that should be interesting to go to." And then I said, "But if you really believe in something, you have to spend some time doing it. You've got to stand up for your beliefs." So I went to the meeting and because I had some experience, and was considered a strong personality on campus at that time, I wound up being a eo-chairman of this group of eight. We set out on a campaign to find out whether or not the university discriminated. . . . And we found out that the university did indeed do that. Then we organized a big campaign at the school with three hundred, four hundred, or five hundred kids . . . to get the university to remove housing that discriminated from its list. That was the first organizational thing that I got involved in, really.
One young woman discussed first the influence of her religious upbringing upon her current beliefs, and went on to describe her father's reaction to the Supreme Court decision in 1954 as follows: My father, I remember, in 1954 when the Supreme Court decision was made, he was defending the position of the Supreme Court ... the only thing I remember his saying is that Negroes should be allowed to go to school with whites. The argument came back to him about intermarriage. He said, "If you can educate a Negro, he won't necessarily want to marry a white person." That's what I remember. . . . I have a very deep admiration for my father, by the way. I feel very close to him .... [About her parents:] Their values are good, decent values. They
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worked hard all their lives; they never had very much, until now they live a fairly middle-class, solid existence. Later, she turned to her parents' attitude toward her political involvement: Well, they knew I was doing something, and they didn't feel too good about it. But they didn't know how much I was getting involved. So I wrote them a letter, and they were very good. I wrote them a long letter, saying, "Look, these are the things I believe, and probably that's because I have an education, probably it's because of the people I've been with in the last year. I don't expect you to understand this, but I do expect you to keep on loving me." After that there were never any real doubts. That laid it on the table. We never talked much about it face to face except on one occasion. . . . At odd times, I can sense that my mother is maybe kind of proud that I'm doing these things. Although for the life of her, she can't understand why her daughter works for four years to get through college (I had to go on scholarships; they didn't have much money), why I want to work for twenty dollars a week. She still doesn't understand it. Even in these last two instances, where parental approval is something less than complete, there are important ties between the individual, his family, and the values he learned as a child. And these ties are often illustrated, as above, by the fact (or fantasy) of parental admiration for the radical's activities. In understanding the continuity of values between these radicals and their backgrounds, it should be recalled that the basic values of the New Left are neither new nor startling. However revolutionary the objectives, however radical the tactics proposed to attain them, the basic values of the young radical are ancient and familiar: the only startling fact is that he takes these values seriously and proposes that American society and the world set about implementing them. Thus, for young men and women like these, who were brought up to believe that prejudice, hatred, and discrimination are wrong, that suffering should be alleviated, that all men should have equal opportunities and an equal say in the decisions affecting their lives, that peace and justice should be sought after, that
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violence should be minimized, and that men should seek to relate to each other in a human, open, direct, and personal way, the values of the New Left are not at all alien. Also, at the level of even more basic personal values, these young men and women had been brought up to cherish honesty, responsibility, seriousness, and thoughtfulness. Their work in the New Left, far from requiring them to repudiate these values, offered an arena in which they could act on them. A closely related area of continuity is the basic orientation to principle of these young activists. Despite their many doubts concerning their effectiveness in radical activities, none ever questioned the fundamental rightness of the principles upon which he was acting or the need to act upon them. For example, one individual discussed his doubts as follows: It always involves trying to get people to do things that you think it would be good for them to do, and yet they don't think so yet. And I don't have, way down deep inside, I don't have a whole lot of confidence that I can do that. There is a certain amount of tension when I do political work. [K. K.: You mean confidence that you can persuade them, or confidence that you are really right?] Oh no, I always have a lot of confidence that I'm right, but not a whole lot that I can persuade them.
Another interviewee spoke in similar terms of her work: There was a period when we thought, "Maybe we're all wrong. Maybe because we put so much personally into it, we can't expect anybody else to pick up on it." We wondered, "What kind of a base is there for this?" [K. K. : Did you ever wonder whether the assumptions on which you became involved were wrong?] No, we never questioned that idea. That's one of the things-you asked me before what kept us going-it never occurred to us to question the basic idea. That point was obvious to us from the beginning. It's obvious to us now. We never questioned that. ...
Another important continuity is around the issue of specialness. I have discussed the sense of these radicals as children that they were somehow different, special, or apart from the
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majority of their contemporaries, and often from much of the surrounding community. This issue continues during early adolescence in the form of fears of being especially sinful, especially lonely, and especially wrong. As the individual moves toward becoming a radical, this same theme remains important, but it is now transvalued into a positive sense of special rightness, of special belonging, and of participation in a special movement that constitutes a small minority of all Americans. Yet here, as in other areas, change is also present, for while the sense of specialness remains, feelings of loneliness, isolation, and sinfulness are largely dissipated by participation in a movement of other principled people. Other continuities will be apparent as we consider the process of radicalization and the "post-radical" careers of these young men and women. To anticipate only a few of these, the pleasure-denying asceticism of early adolescence has almost completely disappeared, but some of the same underlying impulse is still expressed indirectly in their capacity for dedication, organization, hard work, and the acceptance of responsibility. Another enduring theme is the continuing identification of almost all young radicals with the side of their fathers that is idealistic, effective, and actively principled. Still another theme is the continuing ambivalence of most young radicals toward the "merely academic," an ambivalence that has its precursors in maternal pressures for visible academic achievement, as in their perception of their fathers as being highly principled but inactive. Finally, and perhaps most crucial to the understanding of these young radicals and their work, their lives show a continuing concern with the issue of aggression, hostility, and violence, a concern that often begins in their earliest memories and continues throughout life until it is finally interwoven with their work to promote peace. In emphasizing here the personal, familial, and psychological continuities in radical development, I do not mean to neglect the equally important sense of historical continuity, of involvement with an honorable radical tradition, that has been evolved by most of these young men and women. Despite their
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many doubts about the particular ideologies and tactics of older forms of radicalism, many of these young radicals have identified themselves, from a very early age, with some tradition of radical protest against injustice. I have already quoted the young man who refers to his basically "theological rhetoric," and who likens himself to the seventeenth-century New England preachers. Others found in their own families individuals or values that they identified with radical protest long before they came to think of themselves as radicals. The earliest fantasies of another involved a pact with the poor whereby he would use his own abilities and social position to improve their condition. And still another recalls in early childhood attending with an admired relative a meeting of the editorial board of an Old Left journal. Many young men and women have had such fantasies and such identifications in their childhood, but what distinguishes these particular individuals is that in late adolescence and adulthood they began to pattern their emerging identities on such fantasies and identifications. Yet one feels, at least in retrospect, that when these young men and women made a pact with the poor in early childhood, they in some way "meant it" more than most children do, and that their continual allusions to early "radical" experiences and ideas are more than the retroactive search for continuity, although they obviously are that, too. In any case, as young adults, these men and women had found or created roots for their own radicalism that transcended the merely familial, and that linked them to a historical tradition wherein the well-born, the privileged, and the advantaged seek to correct the injustices and corruptions of society. In stressing the many underlying continuities in the development of these young radicals, I do not wish to minimize the many areas of discontinuity and change. My earlier discussion of psychological issues in the early lives of these young radicals gives some intimation of the important changes in their lives. For example, the rejection of that aspect of the father and of the family tradition seen as ineffectual, inadequate, or "merely
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intellectual"; the repudiation of academic performance as a criterion of personal achievement and work; the abandonment of asceticism and defensive intellectualization; the rejection of the Establishment options that each radical was clearly expected to seize. But the most important change, upon which this study was focused, was the change from not being a radical to thinking of oneself as one. It is this change that will concern us for the rest of this chapter. THE "NATURALNEss" oF CoMMITMENT
In considering the process of radicalization, "joining" must be distinguished from becoming committed to the Movement, just as becoming committed must be distinguished from staying committed. The kind of commitment we find in these young men and women almost invariably evolved after they first "joined" some radical organization; in some cases, there was a lag of years between joining and feeling oneself to be a radical. Most of those interviewed had belonged to (and sometimes led) reformist, liberal, or even radical groups in secondary school and the early college years. But few considered themselves "radicals" in any self-conscious sense at this point. I have already discussed the gradual but growing sense of nearing the end of the line that plagued most of these young radicals in the years before they became involved with the New Left. Out of this sense of stagnation, gradually, slowly, and unreflectedly, they "found themselves" more and more involved with radical activities. Many commented that at the time they were not aware of the direction they were taking, and that if they had been aware, they might not have taken it. For example, one young woman, in recalling a summer job that led directly to her increasing engagement with the Movement, said: Now that I look back on that job, if I had known what I was accepting, I probably would not have done it, because of the
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insecurities and what seemed to be so many threatening things and so many insecure things. [K. K.: Was it a rough time, then?] No, it was great. I was totally absorbed in the work. [K. K. : You mean that now, you would do it again, but at the time, if you had known, you wouldn't have done it?] Yes, that's what I'm saying. I think that one of the valuable things was that I was open. I was looking .... At that point I wasn't certain in my own values. It's nice to come home and not live in the slums. But how much money do you really need to be happy? How many closets full of clothes do you need? When you make a decision like this, you're not at all certain of what it is you're choosing.
For some, Vietnam Summer itself was an important part of the radicalizing process. One young man, at the beginning of the summer, explained that he was different from many others in the office and did not consider himself a "radical." After the summer, he wrote as follows: Little did I realize the "natural" steps that already had been taken. In the fall [of 1967], when I attended the Graduate Students' Conference, I could not keep myself from organizing people around the Vietnam issue. I ended up helping draft a statement calling for withdrawal, radical reorientation in U .S. foreign policy, and support for draft resistance. Surprisingly, two-thirds of those present signed; I then went to New York and got press releases to papers and magazines. If someone had suggested a year ago that I would be doing this, I should have laughed at them. . . . What I'm trying to say is that although I didn't realize it at the time, working for Vietnam Summer was the biggest and perhaps the most crucial natural step for me-a step whose importance I realized fully only after the summer was over.
And one young woman, asked about the "decisions" that led to her involvement in the New Left, replied: I'm probably not the best person for you to interview. [Laughs] I have a very funny way of making decisions. In a way it seems very casuaL But I operate on the assumption that you do what you have to do. And it was fun, it was good. Even though it was agonizing. . . . I remember once, I sat on a sea wall in Ocean
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City, and I sat and talked to Rick Cowell about what we were going to do. It was there, the job was there to be done. I could do it, and there was no one else at the time. That was another thing that all of us felt. All of us, from the very beginning, you know, thought that we were not the people to do this. There were other, brighter, more intellectual, more political people, who could have done it and could have done a much better job at it. We resented that fact in a way, that we didn't feel adequate for it and yet we were doing it. And we probably felt that other people knew that we weren't adequate for it. That was a hard kind of thing for us. But it was there. I can't discuss it, really, at all.
Again and again, young radicals used similar phrases to characterize what to an outside observer would seem a decision or a choice. Psychologically, the perceived importance and rightness of Movement work removed the need for conscious choice. Such a sense of acting "naturally" bespeaks a powerful fusion of conscious and unconscious motives in the service of the developing identity of the radical. Specifically, it suggests that for these highly principled young men and women, a new harmony was being established between will and conscience, between ego and superego, between self and principle. Reunions with old friends who no longer understood or sympathized with them were among the factors that made these young radicals aware of the changes they were undergoing. One interviewee, who had tried very hard to preserve her ties to her old friends, commented that, nevertheless, "Once I jumped into the circle it was a complete jump." And another young radical spoke similarly of meetings with former friends: I always felt very acutely the fact that I was leaving people behind [when I got involved in the Movement), and that was not an easy thing for me to do. Like when I was really becoming involved in civil rights, I knew that there were some friends that I had been close to who did not understand. I never liked that to happen. I never wanted to be different-that was the thing. I had worked so hard not to be different, especially in high school and college, that it was not an easy thing to be different again on my own.
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For others, who came from militantly liberal or radical family backgrounds, the awareness of becoming a radical was essentially a realization of reconnection with one's roots: You know, with all my background ... I never really felt a part of it on my own until last year. . . . Then, for the first time, I really began to feel a part of the Movement. . . . I began to be able to trace my own roots in terms of being able to feel actually of it, not only in it. . . . I saw that the type of work that was being done, the types of people that were being involved, and the goals that were being put forward-! began to feel that I was of these, that in terms of my background, that this was the thing from which I had sprung. That was a really good feeling. I began to feel, for the first time, that there was a kind of continuity in my whole political development. . . . The continuity was always there, but me being able to appreciate it, being able to use it, in terms of being aware of it and what it meant politically, and being able to call on certain things from my own backgroundthat came later. I began to be able to apply things that I already knew, had experienced with parents, uncles, and relatives. I began to be able to think about them and juggle them in my mind and apply them to a situation.
In only one individual was there a single event that dramatically summarized his entry into the Movement: I'm one of those people who was in a way trying to get into the System, but really couldn't make it for a whole series of reasons . . . . I had this idea that change was going to come about by the natural course of things. I mean, for example, there was going to be a Civil Rights Movement and it was going to get stronger. And I believed that it was important for people like myself, who were well educated and well connected, to get into positions of power so they could help facilitate things .... But all of this presupposed that our society in general and the government in particular would be open to things like this. Well, my hypothesis was really destroyed. It all hinged on whether or not the United States was going to get out of Vietnam. I was really convinced that Johnson would. The. bombings of February, 1965, were a real shake-up for me. I went to bed for two days. It seemed to me to utterly close that door. ... I had been working for the government before then, and I had
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taken two weeks off from my government job .... I realized that the only thing to do ... in effect was to burn some bridges behind me. I was willing to do that, but there was a lot of reluctance. I mean it was a gradual process before I decided that I would become a full-time worker .... It took me four months before I realized that I would never pursue my academic studies.
Yet for this young man, even more than for many of his fellows, the actual "decision" to enter the Movement was built upon an identification with radicalism that dated from his earliest years, and that had been repeatedly recognized both by himself and by his intimates. Although the actual process of entry into the Movement, and the concurrent development of a sense of oneself as a radical, was unself-conscious and "natural," it is possible to disentangle a series of more or less typical experiences and reactions that will help us understand what was experienced at the time as a natural process of development. Such an analytic separation of the components of radicalization, of course, does violence to the experience itself, inasmuch as it dissects an experience in which each of these components was inextricably related to all of the others. Nevertheless, in most of these interviewed, a process is visible that involves a confrontation with heretofore unexperienced aspects of American life, a growing disenchantment with existing institutions for social change, the development of a new interpretation of American life, a feeling of personal responsibility for social and political change, a complex process of self-modeling, and an engagement with the Movement. How these factors are experientially interwoven can be seen in the following account by one young radical of an experience at an activist summer camp: In the summer of 19.64, I went out to the Camp for Social Responsibility.... And it really turned me on. I had always been very socially conscious, but after that I became a real activist. Before, I had done specific things. I had participated in picketing, and gone on a peace march .... The other thing was that I was getting older, I was seeing things more clearly. [K. K.: Like
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what?] Myself, my values. And I liked a lot of the people I was meeting. I thought I was understanding myself a lot more than I ever had before. Like in grade school, I guess I had always been fairly alienated in part, because my values were not shared, nor my family's values. So when I got into high school, I started making new friends from other parts of town. I started understanding myself much more. And I understood that I felt very responsible for things. Like Birmingham, I just felt that I had to go down there and do something. People were getting killed, and there were the dogs, and I had to do something. I didn't know what I could do, but I felt responsible. . . . Part of it was that I felt more and more personally involved. Like before, when I heard about segregation in the South, it was esthetically repellent, but I didn't feel a part of it. [K. K.: Let's take that feeling of being a part of it. How did that evolve?] I don't know. It seemed like I already had done the reading. I was a bright young kid who had done all the reading and knew about what was going on, but I had an intellectual remoteness and a feeling of objectivity. Somehow-! guess maybe it was the Camp or around that time-at the Camp there were all these kids right there from the South that had been in the Movement, SNCC kids, kids that had got shot at, kids that were really working. And older people who had been through the McCarthy period and had lost their jobs. It began to be brought home to me much more. It began to seem much more real.
THE CONFRONTATION WITH INEQUITY
Although the fundamental values of these young radicals had not changed since their earlier years, their perception and interpretation of American social and political life had changed profoundly. Even before their entry into the Movement, most had been inarticulately dissatisfied with the options open to them, but they had lacked the vocabulary and, indeed, the perceptions necessary to formulate their dissatisfactions. Perhaps even more than most young Americans of their talent and social advantage, they had been initially inclined to interpret their dissatisfactions in psychological terms, blaming themselves rather than the surrounding society for their "hang-ups." In understanding the sense of disillusion and outrage with
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which they reacted to the concrete recognition of inequity in American life, their relative affluence, privilege, and fortunate backgrounds are crucial, for in their own lives they had had little immediate experience with poverty, deprivation, discrimination, or oppression. Even more than most young middle-class Americans, these young men and women, while they had "done the reading," were not psychologically prepared for a personal and concrete confrontation with injustice, social repression, and discrimination.
The Shock of Confrontation. For such young men and women, privileged and idealistic, the confrontation with social inequity-the first personal meeting with poverty, injustice, political manipulation, and institutional dishonesty-may have a disproportionate impact. As relatively empathic and compassionate young men and women, when concretely confronted with the toll of American society, they quickly lost their "intellectual remoteness and feeling of objectivity," and felt "personally responsible" for doing something to change things. One young woman, for example, contrasted her early peripheral involvement to the shock of confrontation with the poverty that surrounded her graduate school : I was only peripherally involved in college: I was going through a whole lot of personal things and I wasn't really that active. The only thing I did was I went on a kind of peace march. . . . [In graduate school] that was really different from college, because it was right in the middle of the slums, and you were immediately faced with the kinds of issues, with the things you were learning . . . I suddenly realized that poverty was, and it wasn't in the books. All of a sudden it became very real. It hit me ....
Another young radical comments similarly on the impact of a series of early meetings with civil rights activists: This was the first time I had any sense at all of what had been going on in the Negro community, of the extreme deprivation and repression of Negroes in the South. . . . I was very much impressed by the intensity of the people there. They said they were going to open downtown Atlanta, and they meant it.
Similar illustrations could be multiplied almost indefinitely. Whether it was working with the unemployed in the inner city, in voter-registration drives in the South, with Negro families in the slums, or in a detailed study in American policies in Vietnam, these young radicals were forced into an immediate personal confrontation with the injustices of American life and policies.
The Failure of the System. The traditional American political vision does not deny the existence of inequity, injustice, and unfairness in our society. But the liberal vision maintains that institutions already exist by which such inequities can be relieved; and it proposes that the discontented channel his efforts for social change into these institutions. In most cases, the first impulse of the incipient radical was to do precisely that: to seek amongst existing institutions channels for the remedy of injustice. Yet just as these individuals found the vocational options open to them in conventional American life unsatisfactory, so they were almost uniformly disillusioned in their efforts to work within the System. It might be argued that those who are on the way to becoming radicals may need to create confrontations in which their efforts to work through the Establishment will prove ineffectual. But this explanation, while perhaps partly true, hardly seems adequate to explain all of the incidents they recounted. What is most impressive is not their secret motivation to have the System fail, but their naive hope that it would succeed, and the extent of their depression and disillusion when their early reformist hopes were frustrated. In some instances, these early efforts involved working with existing poverty programs, as in the following incident: In the summer, by a fluke, someone called me up from Washington and said that they had heard about our school, would we start one? I didn't know what OEO was, but I began to talk to people. Then I got that very official letter that said, "Please submit for a proposal immediately." ... So we wrote a proposal up very quickly, and we got several thousand dollars to run a school. The school was really beautiful. There were only two
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white people, everyone else was black, and none of them had been to school. We started out with sixty kids and ended up with eighty. We were understaffed, and the money wasn't anywhere nearly enough, we realized afterwards. It was a place where teenagers came and made toys for the kids, the parents came and planned the program, and it was very well worked out. The curriculum was planned each week for the next week by the parents. And the parents started getting very concerned about what the public schools were doing. . .. They started going into the classroom and they told us what we should do. The next year we tried to get a new proposal to try to run this school full time, and I think we wrote a very good one. But it was refused. I had gone to a lot of poverty meetings and talked about parent-run schools: that's what it said we should do in the law. But the proposal was jumped on all over the place for having subprofessionals running the schools, because how could they do it when they don't know anything? Also, our buildings were not licensed. It was refused and they said the reason was "too many subprofessionals in decision-making positions," so we couldn't have the money . . . . It really destroyed that organization. If we hadn't spent months preparing our proposal it would have been all right. But the school sort of fell apart. . . . I was discouraged, but I felt closer to the parents, so that was important. I was really upset, and I didn't work for a couple of months ....
Another, who had for many years contemplated entering church educational work, faced a similar disillusion: I began to feel that [all of the church curricula] were irrelevant. ... They weren't conservative politically, but they were conservative religiously, and that had bad overtones in politics.... Another thing that happened was that there was this minister from Africa, he came from Rhodesia. And he was supported by one of the large town churches that had missionaries there. But he was not admitted into membership in that church. That really shook me up a little bit about the church. Basically, you know, I got all my instincts from my religious background. I really believed what the church had taught me all along; I took it for its face value. And then I was disconcerted to find that it didn't work, or that the church itself did not accept it. But all of my values first came from my religious background.
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Finally, disillusion with the American government played a major role in the radicalization of others: I went to Washington because I wanted to be relevant, I wanted to do things, and I felt that just being a student was not that. I wanted to try to be part of the world. So I went to Washington and I spent six very frustrating months trying to be relevant to a situation where I was intrinsically irrelevant. . . . I read books and made phone calls and got information and wrote chapters. But it was very unsatisfying. First, because in retrospect the stuff I wrote was just terrible . . . . It was couched in this Washington rhetoric that assumed that everybody was interested in the topic and wanted to do the right things .... I'd sit there in the office all day long and really think I was saying important things .... But then it began to dawn on me that even that wasn't really possible, because nobody really gave a shit. There wasn't going to be any change. And the person I was working for could tolerate only a minimal kind of critical analysis. I had to say more than I felt he wanted to say at that point. . . . I had very basic feelings and angers about the society, and I was in a position where I couldn't do anything about that. It was very, very bad .... But I was just determined to try to do this. I didn't let myself think about other things very much. It was only when I finally dropped it that I realized what a heavy burden it had been for me.
All of these anecdotes indicate that the first impulse of most young radicals was to attempt to work within the System; and it was often only after the apparent failure of such efforts, and only with the developing conviction that the System could not be trusted to remedy its injustices, that they turned toward a Movement that stressed the need for new institutions.
The Radical Reinterpretation. Concretely confronted with inequity and disillusioned with the System, the emerging radical tends to move toward a reinterpretation of the social and political world. To some, it initially appeared that American society was not rationally intelligible at all: its prime characteristics seemed to be aimlessness, random movement, and lack of any clear direction. In a paradoxical acceptance-and-critique of the prevalent academic views about consensus and the interplay of pressure groups in American society, some young radi-
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cals concluded that the policies and direction of the United States were largely determined by a kind of random crashing together of pressure groups, lobbies, and powerful corporations, individuals, and influences, so that the future was no more predictable than an individual molecule in a gas chamber. But this minimal analysis did not last long, and most of those interviewed had come to accept some variant of a "radical" interpretation of American life and politics. Although these young radicals rarely discussed their formal interpretations of American society at any length in our interviews, they tended to agree that American society is dominated by a loose combine of industrial, corporate, and military interests, a "power elite" that is economically and militarily imperialistic and more concerned with maintaining its own power and containing the "Communist menace" than with implementing the creedal values of our society. This interpretation has the double advantage of explaining the imperviousness and unwieldiness of the System, while at the same time indicating the groups that the Movement must vigorously oppose. A corollary of the radical reinterpretation of society is a progressive sense of estrangement from the mainstream. Although these radicals' fidelity to most of the creedal values of American society remained firm, their sense of connection to the institutions and practices of our society became attenuated. As the young radical begins to reinterpret American society, he also redefines his own relationship to it. Radical work intensifies his awareness of oppression by throwing him into daily contact with those for whom the American dream is an illusion. As he identifies with the oppressed, and as his initial efforts to work within the System seem futile, he loses his early hope that his reformist efforts will "make a difference." Having reinterpreted the System, he can no longer define himself as a part of it. Yet the extent of change should not be exaggerated: these young men and women had always considered themselves in some sense different, and despite their relative success within
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the System, they had never accepted it unquestioningly. The redefinition of relationship to the System, then, was in part an extension of a position they had held long before becoming radicals. Estrangement from the mainstream was further qualified because, despite their growing feeling of disillusion and disconnection, these young radicals did not feel compelled to break all ties with American life. Unlike a few other radicals whose estrangement has led them to leave the country, these remained, and have continued to be involved with colleges, graduate schools, political organizations, and even (in earlier years) government agencies that they considered useful in their personal and political development. The radical reinterpretation of American society, while it requires that the radical redefine his relationship to society and disconnect himself from the liberal vision of social change, led to an only partial estrangement. On the one hand, these radicals no longer believed they could count upon existing institutions to effect the changes they sought. But on the other hand, the radical commitment is a commitment to a vague vision of a more just, more participatory, and less violent America.
Outrage, Deprivation, and Guilt. In some accounts of the motivation of left-wing radicals, guilt over social privilege, affluence, and prestige is said to play a major role. It is therefore noteworthy that, despite their middle-class backgrounds, these young men and women felt indignation, disillusion, and anger far more intensely than guilt. Only one spontaneously mentioned guilt, and then it was in a stereotyped aside: "I suppose I must have felt guilty because my own life had been so good." The others stressed their shock upon realizing concretely that their own good fortune was not shared, their disillusion when the social myths they had believed began to seem false, and their indignation when they "really" understood that the benefits they had experienced had not been extended to others. In explaining the preponderance of shock, disillusion, and indignation over guilt, we must recall that all of these young
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men and women grew up in an affluent, post-World War 11 world. Although their unusual talents and family backgrounds had often given them special opportunities and privileges, their social situation was not fundamentally different from that of the majority of their fellows. They grew up in a society where the poor and the disadvantaged were a minority, and they usually lived in areas and went to schools where the concrete facts of poverty and injustice were screened away from them. Thus, as they had experienced it, theirs had not been a "privileged" position at all; and the "discovery" of inequity and the unwieldiness of existing institutions for social reform could hardly have made them feel guilty because of advantages and social position that did not seem in any way unusual to them. Put differently, these young men and women took affluence and opportunity for granted, so it rarely occurred to them to feel guilty about something that had always been a fact of their lives. The fact that these radicals do not come from impoverished, deprived, and disadvantaged backgrounds is not surprising, for it is a cliche that revolutionaries are rarely found in the most oppressed strata of any society. But it is often argued that expectations that rise more rapidly than the opportunities for their fulfillment provide a powerful motive force behind radical and revolutionary activities; that is, that the radical is in a state of "relative deprivation." Whatever the applicability of this thesis to other groups and to other nations, it does not seem to apply to the young radicals I interviewed. For them, economic security was a matter of course. Nor was this in any way a politically oppressed group. While many had been arrested after their radicalization for some form of civil disobedience, none had experienced more than minor inconvenience because of his political beliefs before becoming a radical. And later, when they were arrested, it was because they chose to be arrested in order to demonstrate their convictions. In these young radicals, then, identification with others who are oppressed is a far more important motivating force than any sense of personal deprivation. If these radicals can be said to
have been "deprived" relative to their own aspirations, it is only insofar as these aspirations include high principles involving the extension to others of the benefits they had experienced. But to define "relative deprivation" as having high social and political principles is to deprive the term of meaning; and it can safely be said that this hypothesis about revolutionary discontent does not apply to these particular young men and women.
ACTIVATION AND ENGAGEMENT
The process of confrontation, disillusion, and reinterpretation that I have so far emphasized is obviously not sufficient to "make" a radical. Many Americans share "radical" perceptions, disillusions, and interpretations of our society, but are embittered, soured, alienated, or apathetic: they are "curdled idealists," but not active radicals. Such individuals can at most be considered latent radicals, for they lack a commitment to action and a sense of engagement with others who seek to change society. A further process of activation and engagement is therefore essential in the making of a radical. Not only must the individual perceive social reality in a certain light, but he must come to feel personally responsible for effecting change, he must acquire models of commitment and action, and he must somehow deal with the issue of his effectiveness as a radical political actor. No doubt the great majority of latent radicals are prevented from radicalism because they lack these further qualities: they feel no personal responsibility for remedying the injustices they perceive, they possess no models for action, or they have little hope that their efforts will be effective, resigning themselves with "What is the use?"
The Extension of Responsibility. I have already discussed at some length the issue of personal responsibility in these young radicals. Their accounts of their parents in their early experi-
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ences point to a family emphasis on responsibility and "stickto-itiveness," and to the early acquisition of these qualities in childhood. In each instance, the origins of a sense of personal responsibility are complex and different. But the development of the following young man is not unusual. His family was highly involved politically. He learned from an early age to expect that adults like his parents and most of their friends would be actively engaged in the local community. But equally important, great responsibility for the care of a difficult sibling fell upon this young man during his early adolescence: [My sister] always felt she could call on me, and in many situations that has been the case. Even when my father can't talk to her, I've been able to. What I'm trying to say is that in terms of people and situations, I was forced into developing a kind of a sense of responsibility a hell of a lot earlier. I mean ... when she ran away from home, I was the one who went to get her ... .
His reaction to this responsibility was ambivalent. On the one hand, he was sometimes pleased and flattered, but on the other hand: I reacted very violently .... I just got furious . . . . [My parents and I] had these tremendous shouting matches, just pure shouting matches, as just where responsibility lay . . . . I was feeling very rejected and very unattended to. But my parents understood that, they knew it very well ....
It was later, in his early adulthood, that this same young man felt responsible enough for what was happening to Negro Americans to become intensely involved with civil rights work. And when I asked him how he had been able to persist so long in community organizing work, he said: One of the reasons is because I have this thing, this personal thing, about trying to finish things. I have a hang-up, you might say, ever since high school. ... I felt it was necessary for people who believe that certain kinds of organizing had to be done-for those people to stay on and to try to help that along. I don't know, it may just be a kind of stick-to-itiveness. Maybe that's a family trait. I just did.
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The sense of responsibility has an equally complex history in most of those interviewed. For some, one source lay in the parental expectation that they would be precociously responsible even as children. For others, the tendency to take responsibility was seen in early political activities, especially in high school, when many were leaders of activist groups. From an early age, most of these young men and women had grown accustomed to accepting responsibility. So when they were concretely confronted with injustices in American society, it was not a major step to feel "naturally" responsible for taking action. Without such a readiness, the most likely reaction to inequity that affects others is a defensive withdrawal into one's own private life.
The Finding of Models. Even given a pre-existing sense of responsibility and a series of catalysts that extend this feeling of responsibility to the social scene, the incipient radical must learn how to act. And in this process, the availability of individuals who could serve as models of radical commitment, tactics, and ideology was crucial. To be of genuine assistance in the process of activation, such individuals had to be physically available to the incipient radical: for no matter how important his identification with distant or historical figures, the latter rarely can substitute for real people whom he actually knows. In the early stages of radicalization, such real people serve to concretize the meaning of radicalism, to relieve the sense of aloneness, to focus vague discontent into a new interpretation of American society, to provide specific ideas, tactics, and models of effective action, and to enable the fledgling to begin to identify himself as a part of the Movement. When such models are not available in the immediate environment of the individual, the potential radical, no matter how personally responsible he may feel, is likely to become a lonely and frustrated eccentric operating in quixotic solitude. In the early radical experience of those I interviewed, slightly older and more experienced New Left figures had great importance. In some instances, these older radical leaders
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(generally those now considered part of the old New Left) had already been physically "available" to the novice for some time; but he only seized upon them as exemplars when his sense of personal stagnation and aimlessness increased, and he began semiconsciously to search for alternatives to the Establishment options. For example, one girl who was becoming disillusioned with graduate school met a group of young men and women working in a local community action project: I began to meet new people, and there was a graduate chapter of SDS that got started. I really liked these people. [K. K. : What was it about them?] I can tell you the names and then describe it. The first person I met was Steve Green .... He's about the most turned-on person that I've ever met. He's really excited about everything. I was going through such a slump, feeling, "This is crappy; I don't want to be in graduate school, and I'm not learning anything." . . . It was this group that provided the kind of thing that I had really wanted to get out of graduate school. ... The thing about those people was they really wanted to learn, and learn in a way that I felt was very relevant. Because I could go out from school and see that they were talking about real things ... so that group was a really important group for me .... I slept less and less time thinking about school. The courses were so bad, I would just take my exams and somehow pass them.
The qualities of these Movement models that most impressed the interviewees seem to have been three: commitment, human warmth, and intellectual relevance. Their relative importance varied with each individual, according to what he personally seems to have been looking for. One interviewee, for example, describes himself before his involvement in the New Left as "forcing myself to be on my own, forcing myself to be hostile and mistrusting of all people." He reacted positively to the warmth of the members of the first New Left group he belonged to : I was very impressed with them. Really, the isolated life is not very pleasant. At least it wasn't for me . . . . There happened to be, luckily, some very fine individuals who were completely the opposite from the way I was. They assumed everybody was good
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until proven otherwise. I was impressed by that. You know, they were nice to me, and I would never have been nice to them. I was accepted, I was new, I was an outsider. I liked that, working together. Here was a group I could throw my chips in with and say, "Ha-ha, I will identify with this group. I will allow my name to be associated with this group and with other people. So that a condemnation of one is leveled at all. One is attacked, the other comes to his defense .... " I said, "Okay, these guys are all right. I'll throw my chips in and work with them." This same young man was also impressed with the intellectual relevance of this group : There was a lot of intellectual stuff going on too ... we had some good internal education. . . . I was impressed by the kids who were involved. They were smart, they knew their cookies. I was impressed by the fact that the kind of learning-the way they were approaching intellectual problems-was vital to them, because these were real problems. They were not hypothetical or theoretical quandaries to be solved; they were not things you get aesthetic pleasure from working out. You got immediate pleasure because it was a vital thing, a pressing need. It spoke to their life work. It was associated with what they were doing. You know, there were a lot of things in academia that turned me off. I thought the best part of the university life was the student's life. I wouldn't, at this stage of the game, want to be purely a professor and spend my time in the library piling up file cards for my next book. There has to be some vitality to it or I just wouldn't do it. I just don't work well unless I'm motivated, because I go off to the other courses and get C's. For others, the qualities of kindness, warmth, and even saintliness of some of the Movement figures they met early in their careers were crucial. One young woman, for example, spoke at length of her admiration for a well-known civil rights leader: I became fairly close to Bill Washington that year, and really had an awful lot of respect for him, and liked him a lot. There was a big demonstration downtown one day, and eight of us were sitting in a church after it was over. There had been a lot of intimidation by young white thugs from the lower-income part of
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town: they had been hitting the demonstrators, hitting the girls, getting them caught in doors and pushing them, and the police weren't doing very much about it. We were sitting in the church afterwards, and about six of these young white guys walked into the back of the church. I couldn't believe they had enough gall to do that, and I said, "I don't believe those hoodlums have the audacity to do that." And Bill looked at me and with all seriousness he said, "Don't you dare call those people hoodlums. They're human beings like us and it's not their fault that they're that way." That really got next to me. There was blood all over the floor of the church, and he had been beaten time and time again. I just couldn't believe that anyone could be that good, could say that sort of thing after what happened that day. It made a very deep impression on me.
But whatever the particular characteristics most underlined in these early Movement models, the interviewees' encounter with them was fateful because it came at the right time. One young woman, for example, described her state of mind on graduating from college: I didn't like working in an office. I've worked in offices before, and I wanted to be with academic or intellectual people, but in a nonacademic atmosphere. This was a very vague kind of thing. I didn't really know what options were open to me .... I knew that having a house or car wasn't important. But I didn't know whether there was any other place, any other focus point. It was a very conscious effort to try to grab a hold of new roots, to try to look for them ....
She was offered several jobs, one of which involved a summer peace training institute. She described her first reaction as follows: I looked into this summer program, and they really wanted me. . . . My concern for peace was a very, very honest thing. But I wasn't really a pacifist. I didn't even know what pacifism really was .... Anyway, as soon as I met the person who was in charge of the program, I was very, very impressed with him. He was really a marvelous guy-not intellectual, but very nice . . . . And as soon as I went to the Training Institute, the people I met who
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were participants in the workshop-some of them were very intelligent, very political people. That whole week was something like I was living twenty-four hours a day. Before, I had been the only one on campus. But these weren't kooky people, these were solid American people .... The whole summer was very much an authenticizing process. It was in the first day, in fact, that I decided I wanted to take part in the program. I had talked to enough people to find out what was involved. Then I decided that that was what I was going to do. [K. K. : It sounds like you found kindred spirits.] It wasn't that I found kindred spirits, it was really that even though I didn't have these values, these were the kinds I wanted to acquire.
In connecting the effect of the summer institute with her search for "new roots," and in denying that she found "kindred spirits," this young woman makes explicit feelings common to many other young radicals. The young activist tends to seek out and accept Movement models only when he is unconsciously or consciously looking for a "focus point" or commitment. And he does not find his models among those who share his feelings of aimlessness, stagnation, and frustration. Rather, he is drawn to those who seem to possess conviction, commitment, human kindness, and intellectual relevance-qualities whose absence in himself increasingly troubles him. Like all of the developments I have described in this chapter, the finding of models of radicalism among one's contemporaries and those slightly older was neither self-conscious nor deliberate. Yet in retrospect, the process seems psychologically meaningful. For those whom these incipient young radicals took as models had a special charisma of commitment that spoke directly to their own search for a way out of personal stagnation and vaguely articulated guilt over the seeming meaninglessness of their futures. The models possessed the qualities these young men and women felt to be most lacking in themselves : passionate moral conviction and dedication to principle, personal kindness, openness and warmth, and intellectual strength combined with relevance. By identifying with such committed radicals, the novice does not identify with those who are like him, but with those whom he seeks to be
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like. Yet at the same time, his capacity to do so expresses a side of him that has not yet found expression. The process of modeling one's self upon others was usually transient. Upon acquiring independent stature in the Movement, after learning skills, developing positions, and gaining a reputation of their own, the young men and women I interviewed often reconfronted their earlier models as peers and contemporaries-sometimes as friends and sometimes as adversaries. This process also contributed to their awareness of their own radicalization : to realize that they knew more than their former heroes, to know that they were more effective than those who had once served as exemplars, was both saddening and deeply gratifying. To most, it signified that they were no longer merely in the Movement, but of it. The role of models in the development of almost all of these young radicals serves to underline the obvious importance of social and historical events in the process of radicalization. None of those I interviewed can be counted among the "founders" of the New Left. Although they have contributed to its development, the opposite is equally true: their radicalization was assisted by the fact that a Movement was already there, in contrast to the situation a decade ago. In the 1950's when committed radicals were few in number and largely invisible, they were obviously far less available to activate the latent radical. But once the Movement began, and especially as it grew and was publicized, there were more and more potential models to assist the incipient radical in his own development. In order to become a radical, one must generally be able to find, within one's own personal experience, exemplars of the radical commitment.
The Issue of Effectiveness. Finally, the process of activation requires some resolution of the issue of effectiveness. Most of those I have called latent radicals-those who share the radical perception of American society-are never activated because they assume that effective action is ( 1) essential but, (2)
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impossible. Given these assumptions, even the latent radical with a strong sense of personal responsibility, who has before him admirable models of radical commitment, is likely to conclude (with most of his fellow Americans) that any efforts on his part to change his society are doomed to failure, and that political action is therefore a waste of time. In a complex, rapidly changing, and confusingly governed society like our own, this feeling of personal and collective powerlessness is widespread, and prevents political action. But if either of these two assumptions is undermined, political action becomes possible. If the individual concludes that political action can be effective, either now or in the distant future, or if he decides that success is not really important, then the likelihood of making an active commitment to radical work increases. When the potential radical convinces himself that success is possible or inevitable, or if he resolves that winning does not matter, he is armored against the continual frustration and discouragement that inevitably beset anyone who attempts to effect massive and revolutionary changes in his society and the world. In response to this dilemma, many radical movements in the past have been premised upon the conviction that the success of radicalism is historically guaranteed, as, for example, among doctrinaire Communists and among many traditional Socialists. In the New Left, however, there is little belief in an inexorable historical dialectic that will guarantee the success of revolutionary efforts. To be sure, many new radicals derive support from the recent history of the nonindustrialized world, and identify themselves strongly with the liberation movements and revolutionary struggles of the oppressed abroad. Yet this identification itself is not enough to yield a sense of inevitable success in America, given their awareness of the many differences between the formerly colonial nations and modern America. With no conviction in the historical inevitability of success, then, today's New Leftists tend to alternate between hopes of effectiveness in the very long range, and the sometimes stated view that the essential rightness of the task makes the issue
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of ultimate success irrelevant. Later I will discuss the despair and weariness that inevitably beset the radical. Here, I will merely note that most of those who worked in the Vietnam Summer National Office had long ago lost any illusions about the possibility of early success for the New Left. On a day-to-day level, they were instead sustained by the satisfactions they derived from their work, from their associations with their friends in it, and from the deep, if usually unstated, conviction that what they were doing was politically and ethically important. A more long-range response to the problem of the effectiveness of the Movement was a continual effort to increase their own effectiveness as people. The interviews already quoted give some indication of the deliberateness with which many of these young radicals were attempting to shape themselves into more effective Movement workers. Those who felt they lacked a sufficient intellectual basis generally planned to devote themselves to study; others planned to return or turn to community organizing in order to retain contact with the grass roots; and most judged their own continuing psychological development in the context of their effectiveness in the Movement. In all these deliberate efforts at self-change, the explicit issue of personal effectiveness was intertwined with the implicit issue of the long-range success of the Movement. In fact, however, the question of long-run "success" was seldom discussed, either in interviews or in group meetings. When I raised this question in interviews, many of these young men and women dismissed it with a formula, turned to other topics, or discussed the short-range effectiveness of particular projects. Clearly, success did matter to them, and some gave hopeful examples of projects and movements-among them Vietnam Summer itself-that they considered effective. But many also voiced great gloom about the future of America, about the possibility of outbreaks of further domestic or international violence, and about the dim prospects for any mass radical movement. Yet they also seemed to resist the view that success did not matter, perhaps from an unstated awareness
that the individual who has abandoned all hope of success and acts merely to express his own inner principles courts both moralistic self-righteousness and political failure. The discomfort many young radicals feel about the issue of effectiveness may help explain other aspects of the new radicalism. Later I will consider the absence of a program and a clear vision of the future in the New Left. This nonprogrammatic outlook has many origins, but one reason for the heavy emphasis on immediate tactical questions, limited goals, and short-range effectiveness may be that this emphasis allows the radical to discuss the future without really confronting the issue of long-range success. Similarly, the characteristic vagueness of these New Leftists as to the specifics of their vision of a just, free, peaceful, participatory society may be related not only to their distrust of simple blueprints, but to the fact that contemplation of the distant future arouses feelings of frustration, discouragement, and despair that would undermine their effectiveness in short range. Even within Vietnam Summer, questions about the effectiveness of the summer were generally avoided. This was partly a result of the realistic difficulties in defining success, but partly it was because everyone realized from the start that ending American involvement in Southeast Asia, preventing any future interventions of this kind, allying America with the forces of "liberation" throughout the world, and radically transforming American society domestically was inconceivable as a result of one summer's efforts.
Engagement with the Movement. In discussing the effect upon these young men and women of their confrontation with inequity and the unwieldiness of existing institutions for social reform, I emphasized the radical's sense of estrangement from the mainstreams of American society. As his activation ac; a radical proceeds, his estrangement from the mainstream is countered by his feeling of engagement with the Movement. His earlier feeling of stagnation is replaced by a greater sense of being in motion, his feeling of aimlessness by a new sense of direction, and, perhaps most important, his feeling of lonely
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isolation by a new solidarity with others moving and searching in the same ways. Little by little, there developed a feeling of being a part of something bigger than oneself, something linked not only to one's individual life but to the broader social and historical scene. By identifying with others, by coming to feel responsible with them for doing something about the perceived inequities of our society, these young men and women came to feel more a part of the world in which they lived. One interviewee, for example, when talking about a singularly unsuccessful summer project, described her growing sense of participation : Everybody who has ever talked about that particular project has talked disparagingly. It was not the time. Definitely not. We should have realized that much earlier. And there were a lot of internal problems in the project. . . . It didn't have any effect at all. The thing that it did do, however, was to politicize Bill, myself, and those who were working on the project. We got to know what was going on in terms of the state-wide movement, and all across the country .... I became more aware of what was going on in the United States .... I felt more a part of that. I was not only watching it, I was a part of it ....
Insofar as the process of radicalization can be identified, isolated, and dissected, it seems characteristically to consist of two related changes. The first is a change in the perceptions of social reality, mediated through personal confrontation with social inequity, and leading through disillusion with existing institutions for social reform to the beginnings of a radical reinterpretation of sociopolitical reality. Concurrent with this articulation of a radical outlook, a process of personal activation and engagement occurs. The individual's pre-existing feelings of personal responsibility are extended to the oppressed and deprived; he seeks out and finds models of radical action from among radicals whose commitment gives them a special charisma; and he develops complex stratagems for dealing with the fear that none of his efforts can possibly be effective. The end product of this process is most commonly a growing
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awareness of the extent of one's radical commitment; a realization-sometimes slow and sometimes sudden-that one has changed; the common experience of "finding oneself' acting, reacting, thinking, and feeling in ways that at an earlier stage of life would have been inconceivable. To analyze the process of becoming a radical into aspects, stages, preconditions and end products is, of course, to impose a conceptual framework upon an experience that is itself largely unanalyzed, whole, and in many respects highly idiosyncratic. A general account cannot convey how much radicalization drew upon underlying themes of special personal significance to each individual. In everyone I interviewed, the general issues I have underlined in this chapter were intertwined with factors that could only be understood through a detailed study of that one person. For example, I asked one young radical what it was that had attracted him to the first New Left organization he joined. His answer illustrates the mixture of the personal and the public in this single act: Well, I was able to develop a couple of friends . . . . [He talks about them.] Secondarily, I could say it was because of the idea that, in terms of my religious training, when you are committed to something, you have to do it, even if you'd like to do something else, even if you're tired. When you're picketing, you have to keep going. That's what you believe and you have to do it . . . . And they were a really interesting group of people. They were people I could talk with . . . . One of them had a beard which made it a very interesting thing to belong to that group. And a couple of the girls had long hair and sort of looked as if they were beatniks [laughs] . . . and then, it wasn't difficult for me within a month or a month and a half to take some kind of leadership there. Because I talked relatively easily, and I had some kind of experience, I just took charge of things.
In this young man, as in his eo-workers in Vietnam Summer, the process of radicalization had been gradual, slow, and continuous. It was something that he experienced as "happening" to him, and it did not end with the realization that he was becoming a radical. For him, as for all of those interviewed, no
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matter how enduring and deep their commitment to the New Left, radicalization was still occurring, but increasingly now as a personal response to the social and historical facts with which the radical continually confronts himself. To an unusual degree, these young men and women had been historically conscious, socially aware, and politically involved from an early age : their lives and their most personal fantasies and thoughts were interwoven with the history of the post-World War II era. But with their radicalization, their sensitivity to the social, the political, and the historical increased still more, and their later development cannot be discussed except in the context of the tensions of Movement work.
The Political Socialization of the American Negro DW AINE MAR VICK
In the middle of the twentieth century, the political socialization of the American Negro is rapidly and drastically changing. In part, the trends involve and reflect a massive migration from the rural South into Northern metropolitan slums. In part the trends are embodied in the perspectives of successive generations-those under forty today, whose awareness of American political life is therefore exclusively post-World War II, and their elders, who grew up in a prewar or wartime climate of opinion. These key dimensions-migration and generation-will be repeatedly considered as we sift the findings available from recent research into how people are inducted into their political culture, which is what we mean by the phrase "political From The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, vol.
361, 1965,pp. 112-127.
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socialization." And because change is the outstanding feature in considering both dimensions, the findings raise questions about "resocialization" quite different from those involved in teaching civics to children or in other ways giving young people a "feel for politics." Protest, alienation, reconciliation, reintegration : these are all relevant terms when we examine how Negroes adjust to the rules and arrangements of American politics. Political socialization refers to one's induction into a political culture, and perhaps one's capacity to change it. As a learning process, it needs to be seen as often painful, embarrassing, and even stultifying. It is a school of hard knocks for those on the receiving end as American Negroes are. It is not a pleasant academic routine of lessons learned and grades achieved in a civics class. It is the process by which adults come to learn what is expected of them as citizens and, perhaps, leaders. Political socialization, then, is concerned with how a person "comes to terms" with the roles and norms of the concentric political worlds-local, regional, and national-into which he passes as he grows up. Necessarily it focuses on formative experiences-in the family, school, and primary group contexts of childhood-that shape ideals and give insight into political aspects of life. It requires consideration of a set of motivational factors-rooted in each individual's private problems of psychic management, including also the patterned goals and goads to which he responds with some regularity. Negro Americans in many ways are excluded from the dominant political culture of their community and nation, and are denied its rewards. Norms and roles for political performance are learned in a special Negro subculture, which is at present undergoing basic changes, creating for the next Negro generation new prototypes for political action, and creating also new tensions and new frustrations for the individual. But the psychological transformation-the "internalized revolution"-in the way Negroes are being inducted into American political life still confronts the would-be "new Negro" with some practicalities that can make all the difference. The study of political socialization requires attention also to
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situational insights and beliefs-sets of ideological, grouporiented, or self-interested calculations made by a person which largely determine the level of his involvement and participation in any specific occasion or process. Attitudes of skepticism may be widely prevalent among Negro citizens, but they are surprisingly differentiated from person to person, and from situation to situation. And linked to these situational appraisals also is the question of what resources can be marshaled. A full analysis of the changes occurring in Negro political socialization would take into account a long list of capabilities-skills, knowledge, contacts, style, energy, strength, reputation, access, control of organizations-each of which is distributed unequally within the Negro population, and each of which implies control by an active intelligence to be effectively invoked. Finally, political socialization is not simply the study of how people come to terms with the conventional practices and arrangements which are manifestly referred to as "political" or "governmental" in the institutional sense. It involves examination also of a set of functional equivalents, ways of doing indirectly what cannot be done directly. Because of the history of Negro exclusion-both nationally and in his residence localities-from active and accepted participation in the conventional processes of governance, it is especially relevant to look at his political education as it is functionally acquired, even though the ostensible processes are those of community service groups, fraternal associations, or church affairs. This, then, is a brief inventory of the range of problems embraced by the study of political socialization. Applied to an inquiry about the American Negro, it is, perhaps, a useful approach. But certain risks should be pointed out. First, learning what is expected and how to perform in either basic or specialized roles is an undertaking that seems to imply a rather homogeneous political culture, housed in monolithic institutions and with standardized induction norms. Second, it is likely to suggest that the things to be learned are, on the surface, straightforward, manifest political events and governmental patterns. Third, these, in turn, imply that learning depends upon the initiative of each student; some will get A's and
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others F s. Fourth, it conveys a rather static picture. Allowing for variations in milieu, the old textbook should continue to apply; if one is not politically inducted into the same culture, at least it is into a progressively unfolding political culture. These are all comfortable illusions. In any extensive society there is a plurality of political milieus into which a person coming to adulthood passes. They are not equally challenging, nor easy, nor stable. In the South, a Negro "knew where he stood" and what to expect-or he used to. In the North, impersonal treatment is functional on the surface. It means access to public accommodations, a chance to vote, due process of law, and so forth. It also means isolation, exclusion, hypocrisy, and ambiguity about where the Negro stands socially. Change does not necessarily mean revolutionary change. The actions of those in a political culture are largely what reaffirm or modify its norms and practices, and incidentally serve to integrate or disjoin it from other political cultures. The accretion of small changes in political practice, moreover, includes not only innovations made on purpose and by forceful leaders, but the modifications as well that result from improvisation, from fumbling, from short-sighted maneuvers, from unwillingness to continue in familiar roles, and so forth. To learn the political game only once is not enough, whether one treats it as a spectator sport, a hobby, or a vocation. Change is too basic; resocialization is too necessary. Especially is this so in the rapidly changing arenas of America's racial politics. Recent collective efforts at direct action have multiplied Negro opportunities for political experience; the organizational scaffolding of leadership and cadre roles has vastly increased the list of political tasks to be done at the same time that it has made those roles more desirable and more differentiated. New organizing skills, analytical abilities, and communication talents are being found and encouraged in the distinctive circumstances of "protest politics." Yet, in looking at the changing patterns of Negro role-playing and Negro skill-acquisition, it is still difficult to gauge the changes in Negro attitudes and
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motivations. It is necessary to remember the backlog of frustration, self-doubt, and anger which the neophyte must somehow control if he is to learn ~nything effectively. That he often fails, and in the process learns other lessons about himself and the political system, are other aspects of the problem. This inquiry, then, becomes a case study in the use of a new conceptual paraphernalia-that of "political socialization"applied to the complexity and recalcitrance of actual politicizing situations, as reported by Negro informants. Analyzing some of the available data in these terms is at least a way of highlighting the flimsiness of our theoretical apparatus in this area. And because it is impossible to consider the acquisition of political capacities, skills, and beliefs by a sizable segment of the population without asking what difference it is likely to make to the political system in which they will be used and are being used, this inquiry also links interpretation of Negro potentialities to the developmental prospects for the American polity. Let us turn then to a consideration of the resources and difficulties of Negro Americans in coming to terms with the political worlds that surround them.
THE NONCOMPATIBILITY OF NEGRO AND WHITE CIRCUMSTANCES
In special ways as well as common ones, American Negroes occupy inferior statuses. Almost from birth they are discriminated against and made to feel inadequate, useless, and undesirable by the dominant white community. As a group also they tend to be poor, marginally educated, and maladapted economically. In these latter respects, many whites living in the same localities are in similarly depressed circumstances. Some of the apathy and skepticism about American political life which we expect to find among Negroes is probably due to these socioeconomic disabilities. At the same time, the political viewpoints and roles of typical Negro citizens must substantially be seen as
Political Socialization of the American Negro
a response to the animosities and prejudices they experience because of their ethnic distinctiveness. Within the Negro community as elsewhere, there is a spectrum of affluence and poverty, prominence, and ordinariness. It is increasingly hard to find a "typical" Negro. How old should he be? Does he live in a Northern city? Does he work at a menial job? Does he earn less than $5,000 a year? For every such Negro, an equal number can be found in contrasting circumstances. Only a composite picture begins to convey at once the "central tendencies" and the "scatter" in Negro characteristics. Sample surveys, by interviewing representative cross-sections of the citizenry, secure just this kind of composite picture for the nation as a whole. Complications arise, however, when a segregated and disadvantaged subgroup like the Negroes in such a sample are compared with the larger majority-status sample of whites. In the spring of 1960, the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) undertook a national survey of the United States, as part of a five-nation study of contemporary patterns of political socialization. Reported elsewhere, that project has disclosed many fascinating parallels and contrasts between American, British, German, Italian, and Mexican publics. 1 Many subsidiary problems were scarcely touched upon in their transnational study, although their data are directly relevant. One such problem area concerns the American Negro's past and potential induction into politics. To investigate carefully those aspects of Negro political socialization that seem distinctive for the ethnic group, and at the same time identify attitudes and beliefs about political matters that equally characterize a set of whites in comparable socioeconomic circumstances, a matching procedure was followed. One hundred interviews had been taken with Negro respondents, as part of the NORC survey. These were now classified by region (South or North), by urban or rural residence, by age (over and under forty), by income levels (over and under $5,000 a year for family units), and by sex. Invoking all five
1: Composition of Negro and White Counterpart Samples and National White Cross-Section (1960 Survey)a Matched Subsamples
(Cases) 1. Sex: Male
2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
Age: Under forty Residence: Big-city dwellers Region: Southern Income: Less than $5,000 a year Rearing place: Rural or small town Married Dependents: Three+ children Intend to stay in current locale Birth region: South Lived in current locale "always" Occupation: Unskilled workers Operatives and service workers Craft and white collar workers Business and professional
National White Cross-Section (870)
49 47 53 55 57 50 67 38 76 89 36
49 47 53 55 56 55 67 38 78 50 46
47 40 42 30 24 54 73 35 83 27 47
37 39 19 6
30 28 28 13
20 20 41 19
Composition of Negro and White Counterpart Samples and National White Cross-Section (1960 Survey)a (Continued from p. 157)
13. Education: Only some grammar Full grammar (8 grades) Only some high school Full high school Some college
37 19 22 16 6
25 19 15 24 17
16 16 18 29 21
14. Group membership: Belong to no organizations Belong to one organization Belong to several organizations
41 36 23
57 23 20
43 24 33
15. Interviewer SES Rating: Low
•Data from NORC survey of American electorate in the spring of 1960 for Almond-Verba five-nation project.
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points of distinction as either-or dichotomies produced thirtytwo exclusive categories, each with two to five Negro respondents. The 870 white respondents in the national sample were then divided into the same thirty-two subsets. Random selection methods were used to choose as many white counterparts in each subset as there were Negro cases. Thus a composite group of one hundred whites was defined, deliberately matched with the Negro group on five dimensions. In each component, hereafter called the Negro and the Counterpart groups, approximately half were male, under forty, big-city dwellers, Northerners, and earning over $5,000 a year. The other half were not. So far as the national white cross-section was concerned, proportions quite different from fifty-fifty were found on most of these same counts (Table 1 ). A few other points of comparability deserve mention. In both Negro and Counterpart samples, approximately half grew up in rural, small-town, or farm environments. In both samples, two-thirds were married, and just under two-fifths had large families-three or more children. In both groups, also, at least three-fourths intended to stay in their current locality of residence. On all of these points, moreover, the national white crosssection registered quite similar levels. Once having come to terms with a community, a young adult marries, raises a family, and intends to stay there. In all these respects, both the Negro and Counterpart groups are typically American. Looked at from another vantage point, what sociologists call status-crystallization operates in ways that are dysfunctional to the Negro's most elementary solution-to move. This is illustrated by the impossibility-using the kinds of matching procedures noted-of securing a good match between Negroes and their Counterparts on either occupational or educational counts; there were simply not enough whites in menial job categories or with limited educational backgrounds, once age, sex, region, income, and residence area dimensions were stipulated.
Political Socialization of the American Negro
Cumulative social constraints box in an American Negro. Unskilled or semiskilled (76 per cent) and poorly educated (56 per cent), his problem is further exacerbated by the region and locality in which he lives and wants to remain living. Of the Counterpart group, only 58 per cent hold similarly lowstatus jobs, and only 44 per cent had comparable educational handicaps. For the larger white cross-section, these percentages dropped to 40 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively. The Counterparts are considerably closer to the Negroes on these counts than are most white Americans. Their disadvantages, nevertheless, are not so cumulative; they are not so "locked in." The "first solution" -migration-is, of course, widely used by Negroes. In our sample, only half now live in the South, but nine-tenths were born there. Nearly half the Counterparts but only 36 per cent of the Negroes reported that they had always lived in their current locality. The underlying point, however, relates to the generational aspect of the socialization phenomenon. For many Negroes, although not for all, "coming to terms" with a political world is almost irreversible. Basic life premises are involved. Some kinds of adult activity are so difficult, once forsworn, as to be impossible to undertake later in life. Some sets of events are so remote that they do not really touch one's daily life, however relevant, as news developments about public policy or group demonstrations, they may seem to the observer. Politics is the "art of the possible." And in school, on the job, in dealings with police or government officials, learning the art of the possible is not an abstract problem. Instead, it is a practical question of getting along with a specific teacher, a particular foreman, a well-known sheriff, a certain postal clerk or building inspector. Consider the evidence in Table 2. Asked in 1960 whether government officials were likely to give them "equal treatment" in matters like housing regulations or taxes, 49 per cent of the Negro sample and 90 per cent of the white Counterpart group said yes. On a parallel question, asking about encounters with the police over traffic violations or similar minor offenses,
a slightly reduced margin was found, with 60 per cent of the Negroes and 85 per cent of the Counterparts expecting "equal treatment." Probing to learn what kind of treatment was expected, that is, how considerate and reasonable, the same patterns were found. Among both Negro and Counterpart groups, substantially fewer persons expected either bureaucrats or policemen to "give serious consideration" to their explanations. Counterparts are close to the scores registered on these counts by the larger white cross-section; the Negroes are about half again as likely to be pessimistic. This is a level of caution and distrust among Negro Americans toward representatives of the law with whom they have dealings which may well be substantially realistic. It is when North-South contrasts and younger-older comparisons are made that the dynamics of Negro resocialization are suggested. While 60 per cent of the Northern Negroes expected equal treatment from officials in government agencies, only 40 per cent of the Southern Negroes were so optimistic. And, however equal the treatment might be, only 44 per cent of the Northern group and 18 per cent of the Southern expected agency officials to take their viewpoint seriously. Not only has the trek north to the metropolitan slums been accompanied by a measurable growth in confidence of equal official treatment, but also it represents a heightened feeling that the character of official treatment is not deaf or insensitive to their points of view. Northern Counterpart whites, to be sure, are more confident (93 per cent) than Northern Negroes (60 per cent) of equal treatment. When the quality of that treatment is brought into question, however, they register only 49 per cent confidence of being listened to. The 44 per cent level on this point among Northern Negroes thus approaches parity. If we look next at the parallel question of police treatment, the direction of change is just opposite. While only 4 7 per cent of the Northern Negroes expected equal handling by the police, 76 per cent of the Southern Negroes did. Moreover, this
TABLE 2: Expected Treatment by Officialdom: Comparisons of Negro and White Counterparts, with Regional and Generational Breakdowns
National White CrossSection Negro White 1. Government officials would give equal
treatment 2. Police would give equal treatment 3. Official would listen and take views seriously 4. Police would listen and take views seriously •N = North, S = South. bY= Younger (under forty), 0 = Older.
Regional Breakdown a Negro N
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latter figure approaches parity with the level of confidence scored by the white Counterpart-and even the white crosssection. Only 29 per cent of the Northern Negroes expected the police to listen to their story. Here again the level of confidence registered by Southern Negroes (44 per cent) matches that found among the Southern Counterpart. In sum, in the South of 1960 a random sample, economically and socially, of Negroes and their white counterparts reported roughly equal treatment by the police in their home communities. Equally, too, they reported that treatment to be reasonable and considerate. A glance at the generational breakdown on these points is useful. It is younger Negroes, not those over forty, whose confidence in the police had risen to a near parity with that registered by their white Counterparts. It is younger Negroes, too, whose expectations of considerate attention from officialsalthough not equal treatment-had risen to a parity level.
THE NEGRO MIGRATION INTO AMERICAN URBAN LIFE
By 1960 half of America's Negro population lived outside the states of the old Confederacy, and nearly a third lived in the twelve largest metropolitan centers. More than half of the residents of Washington, more than a third of those in Detroit, Baltimore, and Oeveland, and easily a quarter in Chicago and Philadelphia were Negroes. In a ten-year period, a million and a half Negroes had left the South. No immigrant wave in American history was ever so large or came so quickly into the urban centers of the nation. In 1930, half of the Negro population lived in rural Southern areas and another quarter in the towns and cities of the South. By 1940, the ratio was one Northern to every two Southern Negroes. And while the proportion living in Northern localities went, decade by decade, from a quarter to a third to half, the size of the Negro population in absolute numbers had nearly doubled.
Political Socialization of the American Negro
This massive influx of Negro citizens flooded the metropolitan slums with newcomers who, by reason of their opportunitydeprived upbringing, often lacked the incentives and goads to get ahead found among previous immigrant groups. Earlier ethnic minorities had come from culturally intact backgrounds in Europe which provided them with distinctive but, usually, well-defined standards of conduct for political life. The slaveperiod traditions for Negroes who had been field hands irt the Delta, members of a domestic class in a plantation system, or personal servants for white masters in the urban South were quite disparate, but in all cases were heavily weighted in terms of imitating white patterns. While this long spiral of migration continued, other trends were also at work. Technological advances in industry and commerce were displacing unskilled and semiskilled laborNegro labor-at an accelerating pace. Metropolitan programs for meeting transportation, education, recreation, and housing demands were inevitably displacing families-both longestablished and newly come-from blighted neighborhoods. Table 3 provides some glimpse of the magnitudes involved in the attitudinal reorientation of Negroes toward local government. In 1960, asked how important was its impact on their daily lives, nearly the same proportion-one-third-of Negroes and whites felt that the answer was "great impact." Among Northerners, whites (41 per cent) were somewhat more inclined to this view than Negroes (29 per cent). Asked to evaluate the contribution of local government, only 50 per cent of the Negroes, compared with 72 per cent of their Counterparts, felt it had generally been helpful in their lives. In the North, however, the 60 per cent scored by Negroes was rather close to the Counterpart figure of 69 per cent. On the other hand, only 42 per cent of the Southern Negroes made this evaluation, while 75 per cent of their white Counterparts did so. When generations are compared, the margin by which whites make more favorable evaluations is similar for younger and older sets. Those interviewed were asked to consider what could be done to prevent the village or city council from adopting a
3: Expectations about Local Government: Comparisons of Negro and White Counterparts, with Regional and Generational Breakdowns
National White CrossSection Negro White
1. Local government has "great impact" on daily lives 2. Local-government actions are usually helpful 3. It is almost impossible to change a bad local regulation by own efforts 4. Very unlikely to try to change bad local regulation 5. Never have tried to influence local policy decision
•N = North, S = South. by= Younger( under forty), 0 = Older.
Regional Breakdown" Negro N
Political Socialization of the American Negro
regulation which "you considered very unjust or harmful." For the national white cross-section, only 24 per cent felt it was almost impossible for them to change a bad local ordinance. Somewhat more (31 per cent) of the Counterpart whites and fully 38 per cent of the Negroes felt this way. Asked whether they had, in fact, ever tried, 70 per cent of the national cross-section of whites and 73 per cent of the Counterpart whites admitted never having done so, but 86 per cent of the Negroes had never tried. When attention is given to the regional and age breakdowns, again the attitudinal transformation can begin to be seen. Not alienation, but heightened involvement and substantial realism in the choice of methods and targets seem to be disclosed. While fully 53 per cent of the Southern Negroes felt that changing a bad local law was virtually impossible, only 20 per cent of the Northern Negroes did so-a figure rather similar to that of Counterpart whites. The contrast in optimism was correspondingly great also between younger and older Negroes, with "virtually impossible" being the reaction of 28 per cent and 4 7 per cent, respectively, a substantially greater age difference than registered by white Counterparts. As to whether they, personally, would actively try to change a bad local law if the occasion arose, sharp contrasts are found between North and South. More than half of the Southern Negroes felt it was unlikely they would ever try; only 27 per cent of Southern Counterparts were so passive. Conversely, only 31 per cent of the Northern Negroes felt they would never try to influence such a matter, but 50 per cent of the Northern Counterparts admitted their probable inaction. For both Negroes and Counterpart whites, the younger age groups showed markedly greater propensities toward local political agitation. And when the question was posed, had any actual attempt to influence a local ordinance issue ever been made, 95 per cent of the Southern Negroes said "never." On the same question, only 76 per cent of the Northern Negroes had never tried, the same proportion as for Northern Counterparts.
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THE LOCALLY CiRCUMSCRIBED AMERICAN NEGROES
M A RV I C K
In the study of American race relations today, intellectuals tend to assume that Negroes all along have felt oppressed and constrained at the mold of second-class citizenship, in 1895 as much as 1935 or 1965. Yet, little is known about their political socialization patterns, and a few cautionary points are pertinent. Ordinary Negroes lived mostly in the South. About 1890, open efforts began to disfranchise Negro voters and to impose Jim Crow circumscriptions with the force of law on Negro use of public facilities. By 1910 the political rules had been reformulated; the Supreme Court's "separate but equal" doctrine helped to quiet public concern about what was happening, while political realities ensured a steady deterioration in the public services and accommodations available in their home communities to Negroes. Incidental to this triumph of nasty-mindedness, much race hatred was preached and countenanced, apparently in part to reassure the poor whites that they were not the next target. Frederick Douglass, the most militant national Negro leader, fought in vain after 1880 against the trend to disengage all national machinery capable of aiding the Negro. After his death in 1894, others founded the NAACP and the Urban League, conceived as instruments for rallying the racial elite, of training the "Talented Tenth" as race spokesmen and cadres for future struggles, of pursuing political goals not in political arenas but in academic, philanthropic, religious, and journalistic modes. Themselves the products of a selective social mobility process within the Negro world, most of the Negro publicists, lawyers, academics, and others on the national scene struggled to get and to keep open elite communication lines. Their efforts reflected a middle-class presumption that the Negro masses, when mobilized, would accept their lead. There is
Political Socialization of the American Negro
dignity and restraint, rather than anger and impatience, in the formulation of tasks confronting the NAACP by the militant leader, W. E. B. DuBois: "By every civilized and peaceful method, we must strive for the rights which the world accords to men." 2 Nationally, the "accommodationist" style of Negro leadership was set by Booker T. Washington. The head of Tuskegee was a man of humble origins, a self-made man who had met the world on its own terms. He was realistic. Negroes lacked the skills and knowledge to succeed economically; education was the crucial resource needed, and education was provided by local governing bodies; Southern whites would only provide that crucial resource if the "products" were reliably docile. Just when the use of governmental machinery to enforce disadvantages on the Negro was at its peak, Washington counselled submission. Work hard, in the service of the community, and you will become accepted in proper time. His advice and example were for Negroes to give up their interest in political power as a way of securing their rights. Industrial education and an appropriate station in the emerging industrial work of twentieth-century America, were the objectives he used. De facto segregation in the North was not implemented by state laws and local ordinances as in the South; nor were prejudices so openly proclaimed by militant whites. But the Northern reception system had been a pale facsimile of its Southern prototype in many ways, and especially at the local community level. Until the postwar years it can be argued that, North and South alike, Negro adults became politically socialized almost exclusively to the circumscriptions and indirect channels of the localities in which they lived. It was irrelevant to speak of national or even state-bestowed citizen status for Negro Americans. In the outlook of educated Negro elite figures, no doubt, an awareness of the life in the national and state superstructure of American politics existed. At the same time, it is quite understandable that most events occurring in the central institutional complex of American democracy would not touch the
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ordinary Negro American emotionally, nor arouse desires to participate. And for the Negro poor, during this whole century of segregation and lower-caste treatment, politics was white man's business; even in the local arenas of political life Negroes often could secure no electoral footing. The ambit of Negro influence was thus severely limited; it took only a primer to learn the rules of how to behave. Compliance with imposed norms was rudimentary but necessary even when fellowNegroes called it "Toming." Myrdal's massive codification in 1942 of the circumstances of Negro life informs us about the extent to which Negroes of that and previous generations were a minority harder than Italians, Poles, or Jews to assimilate. 3 His study stressed themes that continue to preoccupy discussion today. Mydral believed that Negroes were "exaggerated Americans," who believed in the American Creed more passionately than whites, and who should exploit their common bonds of belief with white Americans more effectively. It would not be possible for white Americans to sustain their corporate belief system unless those who asked their due were granted it, once heard. Negroes had not strenuously asked their due; avoiding scenes and temporizing had been the style. The Negro community was dependent on the white community; whites were committed to their egalitarian, optimistic, democratic creed, as were the Negroes; by playing upon the beliefs of whites, Negroes could gain their objectives. Did Negroes consciously or persistently aspire to full citizenship? Had they been politically socialized to want citizen status, but somehow left untutored in how to manipulate and persuade whites to grant them what was due? Or had they undergone a harsher socialization process, one which left them not prepared to believe that the American political system, for all its protestations, would support them in their aspirations? The argument here is not that Negroes were passive, apathetic, and for generations unable to protest effectively because they had become disenchanted with the American Creed-
Political Socialization of the American Negro
alienated from American society. Probably more commonly, Negro adults had never allowed themselves to become enchanted with "democracy" in the first place, so far as their own community and private lives went. Traditionally, Negro civic leaders occupying symbolic positions of respect were "tapped" by leaders in the white community as contact points. The influence of such "anointed" figures often depended more on their near-monopoly over liaison channels to the all-important white community's decision-makers than on any spontaneous following within the Negro community which they might have generated. Undertakers, insurance men, bankers, teachers, a few professional men-above all, ministers of Negro churches: these were the men who traditionally were treated as spokesmen for their local Negro communities. Accommodationist, conservative, dignified, personally successful men: they have been for more than half a century the prime models for Negro children asking to be shown local "men of influence." 4 With the mobilization of electoral strength, the decline of Negro ministers and leaders of fraternal organizations are sources for community leadership-whether in the liaison or symbolic sense-has steadily been taking place in Southern localities. "Street lights, sidewalks, and paved streets are more common in communities where Negroes vote in substantial numbers. Such things as Negro civic centers, bandshells, playgrounds, libraries, hospital annexes, and even swimming pools are found in increasing numbers." 5 The dynamics of political rapprochement in Louisiana communities, according to Fenton and Vines, have occasionally involved an alliance of "shady white and underdog Negro" elements. Local politics centers around the sheriff's office. If a sheriff permits gambling, he is charged with corruption by middle-class residents of the community; to offset their electoral threat, the sheriff in such instances has catered to the marginal Negro vote for support. "The reward ... is respect from the politicians and attendance at Negro political meetings, cessation of police brutality, and promises made and often
kept regarding such matters as street improvements and better school facilities. "6 Thus, in Southern communities where voter registration has progressed to a point sufficient to create a substantial potential bloc, a new, self-taught, and white-tutored breed of professional Negro politicians has begun to emerge. Specifically equipped with the organizing and campaigning skills appropriate to electoral politics, these new political journeymen bargain with some effectiveness among the rival white politicians anxious for their vote. In Northern metropolitan centers, too, professional Negro politicians have emerged, men who work inside the party machine dominating their city, men who accept the terms of political life laid down by white counterparts who are scarcely less ethnic-minded-Irish, Italian, Polish, Jewish, and Puerto Rican "spokesmen" also judged by their readiness and reasonableness in making bargains, and by their ability to deliver votes as promised. Considerable variations remain, of course, in style, in methods used, and in results obtained. 7 In Chicago, Dawson's political strength within the Democratic machine, like that of other ethnic politicians, has depended on the historical "fit" between ward boundaries and Negro ghetto limits. Working in a solidly Negro area, he deals in tangible and divisible benefits, few of which pose clear moral questions. In New York City, on the other hand, Powell's role is also systemspecific, but here a much weaker and less unified alliance of politicians runs the dominant party apparatus. There is therefore scope for Powell's agitational style. He deals in moral questions, in intangible ideals and indivisible causes which must not be compromised. His dramatic skills link these to his personal leadership. Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, himself an occasional rival of Powell in Harlem, has this to say: In his flamboyant personal behavior, Powell has been to the Negroes a symbol of all that life has denied them .... The Negro masses do not see Powell as amoral but as defiantly honest in his protest against the myths and hypocrisies of racism. . . . He is
Political Socialization of the American Negro
important precisely because he is himself a caricature, a burlesque of the personal exploitation of power. 8
The growth of militancy among Negroes-with the decline of "accommodation"-in the modal leadership style is a double-edged blade. On the one hand, it reflects a shift away from the habit of evaluating their social position primarily within the nonpolitical, "intramural" range of Negro rivals, and a shift toward evaluating it instead by explicit comparison to a counterpart group-their opposite numbers in the white middle class. 9 On the other hand, it is a behavior pattern which, once initiated, generates its own reputation. It is far more conspicuous than the older pattern of accommodationist leadership, and it is reinforced powerfully by the way in which other Negroes, both peers and elders, respond by endorsing and accepting it. The "accommodating" style is established by a sequence of occasions when aggressive confrontations were avoided; the "militant" style is more rhetorical, and tends to be predicted on the basis of even a very small set of occasions when aggressive leadership options are used. Negro leaders drift into the former; they assert the latter kind of role. 10 THE SKILLS AND HABITS OF CITIZENSHIP
Learning about political life, then, is not a simple, static, or finished process. Instead, it is highly complex; it is dynamic and changing; and, at best, it is imperfectly realized. Many Negro adults never become very effective at organizing and improving their daily lives. How much less likely that the methods used to socialize them to onerous predetermined political rules and arrangements should regularly be effective! Indeed, if Negroes had internalized the American dream and seriously wanted it for themselves, it is hard to believe they would not long since have been radically disenchanted and militantly alienated. Instead, it is only in recent years that a new generation of Negro youths begins to think seriously about claiming their birthrights.
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In 1910, for a young Negro to study the program of the then-fledgling N AACP was not to review an impressive sequence of judicial victories, as the task is for his 1965 counterpart. The 1910 program was a recital of watered-down hopes and carefully worded aims. Even so, Booker T. Washington and William E. B. DuBois debated the proper goals and strategy for Negroes in polemical terms that made the former's call for self-improvement seem at odds with the latter's demand for Negro civil rights at once. Today, also, there are rivalries and polemics among Negro leaders on the national scene, conflicts brought home to Negro citizens by television and radio rather than in exclusively Negro news media. But perhaps there is now a stronger sense of the need for a division of labor: the need for militant direct action protests, to arouse the Negro poor from apathy and self-hate, and the simultaneous need for persistent integrative efforts-through the courts, in union-management bargaining and in government personnel practices, in community service organizations, and through partisan political activities. Not only the symbolic struggles that eventuate in decisions to desegregate a school, permit voter registration, make public accommodations equally accessible, or create job opportunities, but also the practical tasks of implementing and consolidating each such victory are coming to be seen by the young Negro of 1965 as part of the political world with which he must come to terms. 11 But what does it mean to "come to terms"? One view expects each generation to produce a distinctive style, seizing new opportunities which older generations have yielded or neglected. Another view, not necessarily incompatible with the first, expects realism. Systematic adjustment to changing circumstances seems mostly to come from the older people, while youth refuse to come to terms and instead appear idealistic and unreasonable. Not many studies of political socialization have yet been made, of Negroes or any other grouping. We have examined some systematic evidence about the attitudes and self-
Political Socialization of the American Negro
conceptions held by adult Negroes and their white Counterparts concerning American politics. But we know little of how those notions were first acquired, when today's adults were growing up and were gradually coming to understand their place in a white democracy. Neither for Negroes nor for other categories do we know much about the differentiation and attenuation of childhood attitudes and beliefs. Yet adults have to behave in response to situational insi;shts, and adults have to acquire the experience and skills as well as the nerve and desire to mount fresh assaults on complacency and indifference. Memorable experiences, for example, whether they arise in the midst of electoral campaigns, in moments of public crisis, or in the workaday context of civic cooperation, are hard to plan ahead of time. They tend to be memorable because of accidental and unexpected developments. The Montgomery bus boycott of 1965 began spontaneously when a weary Negro seamstress refused to yield her seat to a white. For more than a year, 17,000 Negroes refused to ride, cutting the bus line's patronage to a fourth of norll'.al. From such unplanned rejection of roles and defiance of norms, in the ten subsequent years, boycotting has become a formidable political weapon for American Negroes. With notice spread by word of mouth or from the pulpits of Negro churches, the boycott has provided a community-level focus and has helped to create leadershipcommunication networks that are transforming Northern metropolitan slum areas as well as Southern colored quarters. In 1963, a third of a national cross-section of Negroes and more than two-thirds of a panel of Negro leaders reported that they had boycotted certain stores in their local communities. 1 2 The syndrome of dejection, self-contempt, a sense of worthlessness, and hopelessness is what Kardiner and Ovesey called the Negro's "mark of oppression." It has been repeatedly noted in studies since their work dealing with Negro psychological adjustment problems.I 3 The problems of Negro personality formation are often traced to the "identity crises" through which Negro children perforce must pass: the color-bias they develop even in preschool play, often linked with a tense
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reluctance to acknowledge that they are Negro; the postpuberty estrangement of Negro youths from their white playmates, enforced by white parental racist fears of miscegenation; in young adulthood, too, after the relatively sheltered years of school and familiar neighborhood, "the full awareness of his social devaluation in the larger society" can cause severe emotional distress. 1 4 Little is known about how the emotional wellsprings of love and hate, hunger and vitality are linked persistently to a set of socially "given" goals and goads. The levels of need achievement among Negroes vary substantially, perhaps as much as among whites, although the standards of behavior, life-plans, and career objectives are manifestly different in the ghetto subculture into which most Negroes are born and in the American society which isolates them from awareness of those norms and denies them the rewards of compliance with those norms. It is in interracial dyadic relationships that Negroes have usually learned manipulative strategies, situational tactics, and bargaining ploys. It has been in response to the emotional strain of interracial contacts that Negroes have generated double standards of fair play, humor, and even relaxation. Almost every Negro adult-not only his organizational leaders-has been schooled in ways to get along in superiorsubordinate relationships. Moreover, the picture he has acquired very commonly puts him in the latter role. The extent to which the mental outlook of oppressed people tends toward fantasies, childlike incompetence, and passive dependence is hard to measure; available evidence suggests that a pervasive pattern of such behavior has historically laid its imprint on Negro America. But when people acquire skills and sensitivities in how to sense the mood of superiors, how to parlay advantages, how to conceal their emotions, how to accomplish a thousand political artifices, they often find such assets portable to new circumstances and applicable in quite unexpected situations. American Negroes learned these skills under persistent conditions of duress. Perhaps many never have mastered techniques that could be used on anyone but a white superior; many have
Political Socialization of the American Negro
probably repressed all sensitivities to similar opportunities in intraracial organizational relations. Even so, given this kind of schooling, American Negroes must often make very acute political followers, able to appreciate very well the difference between a leader's pretensions and his actual performances. The Negro revolution in America has been manifest in headlines and news bulletins for more than ten years. It is tempting to speculate about the ways in which scenes of militant direct action, showing parental courage and group discipline in the face of mindless hatred, affect young Negro children today-in the choice of their ego ideals, in the games they play, the stories they read, the fantasies they have, the careers they want, the nightmares they endure, and in their heightened awareness of political rules and possibilities, now that such awareness carries an instrumental rather than an academic tag. There is perhaps no single event that marks the watershed in American race relations better than the 1954 Supreme Court decision calling for "all deliberate speed" in desegregating the nation's schools. Yet it was ten years later, in the Birmingham riots of 1964, before the Negro poor entered the protest movement: The riots . . . were waged not by the disciplined cadres of relatively well-educated "middle-class" Negroes but by the apathetic poor who had previously remained completely on the outside, and whose potential for violence frightened Rev. Martin Luther King's lieutenants as much as the whites.1 5
Moreover, the nonviolent direct action methods of the new protest groups-CORE, SCLC, SNCC-represent also only part of a ten-year prelude to the far more fundamental revolution that is coming in the politics of neighborhoods and communities, of school districts and residential blocks, a revolution that began in scattered localities during the 1950's and received large financial and directional support from the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the resultant antipoverty program of the Office of Economic Opportunity. In states of the South as well as of the North, and at county and municipal levels, biracial area human resources councils are being formed, to coordinate and
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sponsor programs for community action, establish and run youth job corps and urban centers, and encourage private nonprofit groups and universities to contribute to neighborhood improvement and adult education projects. The importance of these experiences both to acquire new skills and play new roles in civic affairs, can scarcely be overestimated. The full, genuine, and mundane "political resocialization" of American Negro citizens awaits the proliferation of such institutional scaffolding for public-spirited action.
REFERENCES 1. Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture (Princeton, N.J.:
Princeton University Press, 1963 ). 2. Quoted in Charles E. Silberman, Crisis in Black and White (New York: Random House, 1964 ). p. 129. 3. Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma (New York: Harper & Row, 1944 ). 4. See Silberman, op. cit., chap. vii. Also M. Elaine Burgess, Negro Leadership in a Southern City (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1962 ); E. F. Frazier, The Negro in the United States (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1949), and G. Franklin Edwards, The Negro Professional Class (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1959). 5. H. D. Price, "The Negro and Florida Politics, 1944-1954," Journal of Politics (May 1955). 6. J. H. Fenton and K. N. Vines, "Negro Registration in Louisiana," American Political Science Review (September 1957). 7. See J ames Q. Wilson, Negro Politics (Glencoe, Ill. : The Free Press, 1960) for a comparative inquiry which develops these points systematically. 8. K. B. Clark, Dark Ghetto (New York: Harper & Row, 1965 ), p. 210. 9. Ruth Searles and J. A. Williams, Jr., "Negro College Students' Participation in Sit-Ins," Social Forces, 40 (1962), 215-220. 10. See the insightful participant-observer case study by Allan P. Sindler, "Youth and the American Negro Protest Movement," prepared for the 1964 International Political Science Association Meetings in Geneva, Switzerland. 11. See the sympathetic sketches by Howard Zinn, SNC: The New Abolitionists (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964) and the careful case study of biracial cooperation and protest activities in a Southern community by Lewis Killian and Charles Gregg, Racial Crisis in America (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964 ). 12. William Brink and Louis Harris, The Negro Revolution in America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1964 ), p. 203. 13. A. Kardiner and L. Ovesey, The Mark of Oppression (1951); see also the comprehensive survey by Thomas F. Pettigrew, A Profile of the Negro American (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand, 1964 ). 14. Op. cit., p. 8. 15. Silberman, op. cit., p. 143.
The Political Socialization of Black Children E D WARD S. G RE EN BE R G
My intention has been to examine the extent to which black and white children are socialized to divergent political orientations. The impetus for the study arose from a desire to gain a more profound understanding of the nature and causes of the ever increasing racial conflict in the United States. Many scholars and laymen, using a wide variety of approaches, have attempted to tackle the same problem with varying degrees of success. 1 This study differs in that it seeks explanations for racial conflict in possible fundamental differences in the content of peoples' perceptions about the political order. I am not implying, however, that the political or social order must be undergirded by a homogeneous normative order, a system of completely shared values, in order to remain viable. Although the notion of the normative order is becoming an 178
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increasingly popular framework in the social sciences, 2 I cannot accept it as a working assumption. The most serious drawback to such an approach is that every instance of heterogeneous values is seen as a disturbance, as contrary to the normally harmonious social order. As C. Wright Mills argues, "the idea of the normative order . . . leads us to assume a sort of harmony of interests as the natural feature of any society." 3 Such a perspective is patently ideological. If we define ideology as a value-impregnated, untested set of beliefs about the social and political environment, 4 then the act of assuming the existence of a normative political order fits such a description. Our best approach would be to test empirically for the existence of such a homogeneity of values, and the degree to which this mechanism, as opposed to other possible mechanisms, serves to hold political life together. Certainly, societies are bound together by complex mixtures of legitimation, selfinterest, and coercion. 5 Our task as social scientists is to assign weights empirically to each in a variety of political contexts. 6 I do not argue that all values must be shared in order for a political collectivity to survive. Surely other devices are useful as well. I am arguing, however, that disagreement by significant numbers of people over very basic and fundamental political values-such as the nature and worth of the political order-makes political system stability 7 less likely. The underlying assumption here is that, other things being equal, a polity that finds major segments of its population in disagreement over the very nature of the political order will be more unstable than a polity where no such cleavage exists. 8 Only by sharing certain minimal but nonetheless basic orientations can a political system maintain itself without excessive reliance on other devices, such as coercion and intimidation. 9 A useful approach to the questions of conflict and instability in political systems might be to analyze the political perspectives of important social groupings. Perhaps sharp differences between groups in their valuations of the political order create an environment inhospitable to the coming togeth-
Political Socialization of Black Children
er and working out of common problems in a peaceful and mutually acceptable manner. Such a state of affairs cannot be but deeply damaging to a political system. Although this study has tapped the political orientations of a set of individuals in only one city, the ultimate concern is more fundamental; the impact upon the American political system of these patterns of orientations. In G. 1. Bender's terms, I am interested, in the final analysis, in the possibilities for systemic change. 10 Political socialization has been selected because it seems to be a potentially useful tool in providing answers to these perplexing questions. While I would agree that the collection of adult political attitudes is an important research enterprise, it is hardly sufficient. The childhood socialization approach allows us to gain a deeper and more sophisticated grasp of these attitude configurations, because it allows us to understand the process of attitude acquisition. Not only does this approach give us deeper and more sophisticated understanding of adult political attitudes, it gives us a window on political change by enhancing our ability to predict orientations of future generations of citizens. Because political socialization is a relatively new field ( although its intellectual roots are as old as political inquiry), it has suffered from rather wide-ranging, scattered attention and a paucity of data. 11 It is not surprising, therefore, that large gaps remain to be filled in the literature. Jack Dennis, among others, has formulated a useful inventory of work yet to be done.1 2 This study, hopefully, has made a contribution in two of the areas set forth by Dennis; subgroup variations in political perspectives and the system relevance of such variations (that is, what are the effects of political socialization on the larger political system). This study has serious time and space problems; that is, the data were collected in a single city (Philadelphia) and at one point in time (Spring 1968). Unfortunately, solid answers to many of the questions raised can only legitimately arise out of longitudinal and comparative research. 13 It is hoped that the space problem has been somewhat alleviated by the selection
of a fairly "typical" metropolitan area, 14 and that the crosssectional data time problem has been somewhat blunted by constant attention to past research.
BRIEF REVIEW OF FINDINGS
The data demonstrate that the black child lags behind his white counterpart in his ability to identify the American political community and to relate the various levels of political community one to the other. Children of both races conform, despite my initial skepticism, to the center-periphery movement of cognitive ability (that is, they learn first about the neighborhood, then the city, then the state, and finally the nation) suggested by Jean Piaget, Gustave Jahoda, and Leonard Doob. 15 The national media do not seem to have undermined this basic progression of political consciousness. Black children, however, move through this general process at a much slower rate and, most interestingly, retain strong cognitive ties to the local community. This finding is important because the data show clearly that the older black child manifests growing disaffection for the local level of political organization. While the young black child expresses great affection for the national political community, this affective attachment becomes seriously undermined with maturation. This would suggest that as the black child more directly confronts the reality of his life in America, he comes increasing to reject America. 16 Indeed, the lowest affect is displayed by the most perceptive children, those aware of the unequal treatment of black people in general. Thus the growth of perception and awareness seems to undermine affective attachments. The "normal" pattern of patriotic learning is not found in black children. We do not find, as suggested by several scholars, a "progressive elaboration of (his) basic loyalty." 17 Nor do we find that "an individual biography is a record of expanding loyalties-from family, to neighborhood, to school, to church,
Political Socialization of Black Children
to class and to nation." 18 Nor, finally, do we see a growth in the absorption of ideological consensus and an appreciation for the needs of the community.l 9 With respect to children's images of government, the data reveal some surprising information. Of great interest is the partial undermining of the "link-to-the-system-through-thePresident" theories dominant in the literature. Although young black children are more prone to see government and authority figures as coterminous, neither group identifies with the President at a level equal to that of earlier studies. In fact, the high attachment of the black child to political authority figures can largely be explained by his selection of George Washington as the entity best representative of government and not President Johnson. This ought to serve as a warning that the man sitting in the White House is a significant factor in the extent to which children identify with the President. Not only do young black and white children hold different images of government, but their older brothers and sisters do likewise. It was found, for instance, that older black children perceive government primarily in terms of the Supreme Court and Congress, but not voting as is the case for white children (primarily those of the middle class). I hypothesized, therefore, that black children arrive at a "subject" stance toward the political order, as opposed to a "participant" stance. 20 Added weight to this hypothesis was provided by data tapping children's ability to see government and its leaders as responsive to the will of the people. Black children scored significantly lower than whites on this dimension. A recurring phenomenon was the cognitive and affective recovery experienced by black children during the junior high school years. The black child's image of government is seriously eroded during his elementary school years; older black children, on the other hand, seem to gain a renewed sense that the national government is important, helpful, and benevolent. This recovery, however, does not take place with respect to local government. The local government, which is seen in the
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best light by children in the lower grades, is rejected in the upper grades. It seems that early attachments do not prevent the later eroding of affect. Although black children hold very high cognitive and affective images of the President in the third grade, they come to see him as a kind of benign grandfather figure by the upper grades. While they like him and see him as friendly, they do not see him as particularly powerful, effective, or helpful. He appears to the children, apparently, as a rather warm figure who stands apart from sordid political affairs and is seen, at best, as a kind of warm irrelevancy to the governmental process. The policeman, surprisingly, on both the affective and role dimensions, is more highly regarded by black children than is the President in the early grades. I attribute this to the policeman's more awesome presence in comparison to the rather distant and not clearly defined President. Yet for both authority figures higher attachment was found among young black children. This led me to argue, at some length, in support of a "differential vulnerability" hypothesis (that is, those children who are most fearful and anxious are more likely to idealize authority figures). As the black child gains a growing awareness of his environment, he comes increasingly to reject the police. This is hardly surprising given the rather abrasive relationship between the police and the black community. Growing awareness appears to be the factor in this growing disaffection, because the most perceptive black children (those who see inequality in race relations) are most likely to be disaffected.
BLACK POLITICAL SOCIALIZA TION
We now have a picture of the patterns of black political socialization, at least in one major metropolitan area. The maturing black child finds himself increasingly able to make distinctions between the various elements of the political and
Political Socialization of Black Children
social world around him. Along with his ability to make such distinctions comes a concomitant ability to assess the qualities of the various elements of the political system. In general, the black child experiences an erosion of his early positive diffuse support for most of the elements of the political system. To the young child, community, government, and authorities overlap and are no doubt confused one with the other. Despite the ambiguity, it is safe to conclude that young black children express a high regard for the political system. It soon becomes apparent that this initial attachment is formed of very weak glue, because-with the exception of the national level of government-regard for the political system declines in the opinion of black children. Between the third and ninth grades, the black child's assessment of America, local and state government, the President, and the police suffers serious damage. While it is true that white children conform to some of this description, the trends are clearly more pronounced for blacks. Contact with a hostile environment apparently leads to an erosion of the early mooring with the system in the consciousness of these black children. It is important to be aware that the situation of declining support is probably much worse than reported here. For comparative purposes, approximately equal numbers of middleclass and lower-class children were sampled. In the black community, however, no matter what the indicator used, the bulk of the population is in the lower stratum. The data demonstrate that lower-class children are far less supportive than are those of the middle class. A more accurate picture would be available had the lower-class sample been weighted. There is a pronounced recovery for the national government, however, in the estimation of junior high school age children. Black children in these grades appear suddenly to comprehend that the national government has an impact on their lives but, more importantly, it comes to be seen as rather helpful, protective, and nurturant. This would suggest that the black child, given his attitudes toward the other elements of the
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political system, sees the national government as a protector against the rest of American society and the activities of local government officials, especially the police. Undoubtedly the highly visible outputs related to civil rights has lifted the national government to a level higher than other sectors of the political system in the evaluations of maturing black students. An important question, therefore, is whether the national government will continue to respond to the needs of the black community and reinforce this attachment. I shall return to this consideration. BLACK POLITICAL SOCIALIZA TION AND THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM
[It is] hypothesized that the persistence of a political system hinges not only on an appropriate regulation of the inflow of demands but on a second major condition, the maintenance of a minimal level of attachment for each of the three identified political objects. 21
I argued earlier that America faces perhaps its greatest crisis since the Civil War; the crisis related to the resolution of the problems of an interracial society. 22 Information provided revealed differences in the political outlooks of black and white citizens. Although mere political disagreements (for instance, over the relative merits of one or another political party) are not grounds for serious crisis, fundamental differences of perspective about the most important political orientations, those related to the system itself, are cause for concern. The analysis of childhood data collected in one of America's major cities adds weight to the conclusion that there are tendencies for Negroes and whites to both see and evaluate the political community, the regime, and authority figures differently. (It must again be stressed that the middle class has been oversampled in this study. The trend of declining support is probably more serious than reported here.)
Political Socialization of Black Children
Our central concern has been the question of diffuse support, "that reservoir of favorable attitudes or goodwill that helps members to accept or tolerate outputs to which they are opposed ... , that attachment to a political object for its own sake." 23 It is true that no concept can be directly measured. All one can do is attempt to successfully operationalize the concept. I have sought to measure support for the political system, therefore, by measuring children's attitudes toward America, government, the President, and the police. If one accepts these operationalizations as suitable, then it is possible to make some tentative statements about diffuse support for the political system among black children. I am forced to conclude, that with the exception of a late rally to the national government, black children experience ever decreasing levels of diffuse support for the American political system. 24 This is not surprising, whether from a systems theory, learning theory, or common sense point of view. Life for the black man in America produces fewer rewards relative to whites; there are few inducements for the development of a deep attachment to the system. While Easton himself does not speak in formal learning theory terms, his formulations might well fit into such a paradigm. He argues, for instance, that "numerous conditions contribute to the decline of support. A large part of them may be summed up under one category: output failure .... What the authorities do or fail to do will play no small part in helping to strengthen or undermine the support that members extend to the various objects in the system." 25 I have already speculated how this line of reasoning might well account for the late rally by the black child to the national government. Apparently he comes to realize that certain of the demands of his community have been met by national government activities. Other sectors of the political system have not been as responsive. Most local jurisdictions have been notably lax in responding to the needs of the black community. The private sector has been even less flexible and beneficent. It seems reasonable to assume that the national government
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comes to be seen by these children as a general protector against the remainder of the political and social order. In terms of system stability, strong attachment by a group of people to but one element of the political system (the government) poses a serious threat to that system, for that attachment may be threatened in the future. It is evident that black Americans are experiencing a phenomenon characteristic of people in the developing areas, the so-called "revolution of rising expectations." (More and more calls are heard from black leaders, for instance, for black control of the institutions affecting their lives.) This is significant because it is obvious that no government is able to satisfy all demands made upon it. Thus the future inability or unwillingness of government to respond to what are seen as legitimate demands might well lead to disillusion. If a sense of legitimacy depends on long-run rewards, then the final strong link to the political system for the black man might well be eroded. 26 Yet a disagreement over political valuations, no matter how basic, is not in and of itself sufficient ground for serious social conflict. If the group not sharing the major societal values remains politically unaware and apathetic, the potentials for conflict are rather low. It is conceivable, for instance, that black people have never fully shared the political values of the majority society but were too politically apathetic and inactive to make a difference in the larger picture. Dwaine Marvick speaks to this possibility when he says that "if Negroes had internalized the American Dream and seriously wanted it for themselves, it is hard to believe they would not long since have been radically disenchanted and militantly alienated." 27 Black unawareness and apathy are dying. We are witnessing today the rise of black self-consciousness and political sophistication. When this is combined with the possibilities of growing white hostility and differences in basic political orientations, the seeds of serious social conflict are sown. Some of the data, for instance, support the hypothesis of the link between political awareness and disaffection. Except with respect to the national government, recall that the most disaffected children in the
Political Socialization of Black Children
sample were those who most accurately perceived the inequality of the black man in America. One would do well to recall the description of the typical riot participant in the Report of the President's Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. He rejects the white bigot's stereotype of the Negro as ignorant and shiftless. He takes great pride in his race and believes that in some respects Negroes are superior to whites .... He is substantially better informed about politics than Negroes who are not involved in the riots. He is more likely to be actively engaged in civil rights efforts, but is extremely distrustful of the political system and of political leaders. 2 8
I would argue that the evidence points to an inevitable rise in social conflict between the races. 29 Surely the trend to greater black self-awareness is irreversible. In order to keep the potential conflict within reasonable bounds, the national government must continue to produce visible and meaningful outputs. Yet rising conflict might well serve to increase the hostility of members of the white community to the demands made by black people, thus further exacerbating the conflict. Once started, it is conceivable that a serious conflict situation feeds upon itself. The implications for the continued stability of the American political order are serious, to say the least. NOTES 1. See especially Pierre L. Vanden Berghe, Race and Racism; A Comparative Perspective (New York: Wiley, 1957); E. C. Hughes and H. M. Hughes, Where Peoples Meet (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1952 ); John Dollard, "Hostility and Fear in Social Life," Social Forces, 17 (1938), 15-25; and Stanley Lieberson, "A Societal Theory of Race and Ethnic Relations," American Sociological Review, 26 (December 1961), 902-910. 2. David F. Aberle, "Shared Values in Complex Societies," American Sociological Review, 15 (August 1950), 495. 3. C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination (New York: Grove Press, 196l),p.42. 4. For a stimulating discussion of the impact of ideology on social research, and the consequent responsibility of the researcher to be aware of his own ideology, see William E. Connolly, Political Science and Ideology (New York: Atherton Press, 1967 ). 5. Mills, The Sociological Imagination, p. 40. 6. In this context, Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, in their Civic Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963 ), describe Germany as a political system with rather low levels of shared affect for the political
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7. 8. 9.
12. 13. 14. 15.
16. 17. 18. 19. 20.
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system. Apparently some other mechanism, such as self-interest, under girds the political order. They say, for instance, that "Germans tend to be satisfied with the performance of their government, but ... lack a more general attachment to the system on the symbolic level. Theirs is a highly pragmatic ... orientation to the political system" (p. 429). I shall define stability very roughly as the maintenance of accepted methods for allocating values for a society, and the absence of large-scale violence. As with all such formulations, this is a probabilistic statement. Moreover, my approach differs from that of Parsons and Easton in that I do not see system stability and maintenance as the major problems of social analysis; only important ones. The distinction is a fairly simpleminded one, but nonetheless important. I would agree that societal and political maintenance is a most important and interesting problem, if for no other reason than the fact that political decision makers are interested in the problem, but it is not the sole concern of social analysis. G. J. Bender, "Political Socialization and Political Change," Western Political Quarterly, 20 (June, 1967), 390-407. Although it is ever expanding. See my discussion of politic ..• socialization in "Political Socialization to Support of the System: A Comparison of Black and White Children," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin. Madison, Wisconsin, 1969, chapter I. This paper originally appeared as Chapter VI. Jack Dennis, "Major Problems of Political Socialization Research," Midwest Journal of Political Science, 12 (February 1968 ), 85-114. I have collected comparable data from another city and will eventually collect longitudinal data from both cities. In the not too distant future, therefore, much of the time and space problem will be alleviated. See Greenberg, "Political Socialization to Support of the System," Appendix I, "city" section. See Jean Piaget and Anne-Marie Weil, "The Development of Children of the Idea of the Homeland and Relations with Other Countries," International Social Science Bulletin, Ill ( 1951 ), 561-578; Gustave Jahoda, "The Development of Children's Ideas about Country and Nationality, Part 1," The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 33 (1965), 47-60; and Leonard Doob, Patriotism and Nationalism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964 ). Even black children, however, show high levels of attachment. It is important to note that I am speaking of trends. Robert D. Hess and Judith Torney, The Development of Political Attitudes in Children (Chicago: Aldine Press, 1967 ), p. 115. John H. Schaar, Loyalty in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957), p. 40. See J. Adelson and R. P. O'Neil, "The Growth of Political Ideas in Adolescence: The Sense of Community," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4 (1966), 295-306. Lower-class white children also evidence a "subject" orientation or at least a "nonparticipant" orientation. Much of this is probably taught in the schools. In this regard see Edgar Litt, "Civic Education, Community Norms and Political Indoctrination," American Sociological Review, 28 (1963), 69-75. David Easton, A Systems Analysis of Political Life (New York: Wiley, 1965 ), p. 220.
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22. The mood of crisis is reflected in The Report of the President's Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. 23. Easton, A Systems Analysis ... , p. 273. 24. Although it is a closely related topic, I am not for the moment interested in the question of political alienation. Easton talks about support stretched out on a continuum between positive and negative support. In this study, the concern has been with the measurement of levels of positive support. Alienation would no doubt be related to negative support (or open hostility). For an excellent review of the literature of political alienation and an excellent empirical analysis in its own right, see Ada Finifter, Dimensions of Political Alienation; A Multi-variate Analysis (Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1967). 25. Easton, A Systems Analysis ... , p. 230. 26. For a stimulating discussion of the probable consequences of sharp cleavages in support, see Easton, pp. 240-243. 27. Dwaine Marvick, "The Political Socialization of the American Negro," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, p. 125. 28. Report of the President's Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, p. 192. 29. Some writers argue, and I think they have some validity, that social conflict may have salutary effects for subjugated peoples. See Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Press, 1963); and Warren C. Haggstrom, "The Power of the Poor," in Louis A. Ferman, et al., Poverty in America (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965).
Adelson, Joseph, and Robert P. O'Neil. "The Growth of Political Ideas in Adolescence: The Sense of Community." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4 (1966), 295-306. Almond, Gabriel A. "A Functional Approach to Comparative Politics." The Politics of the Developing Areas. Edited by Gabriel A. Almond and James S. Coleman. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1960 - - - , and Sidney Verba. "Political Socialization and Civic Competence." The Civic Culture. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1963. Bender, G. J. "Political Socialization and Political Change." Western Political Quarterly, XV (1957), 390-407. Bereday, George Z. F., and Bonnie B. Stretch. "Political Education in the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R." Comparative Education Review, 7 (1963), 9-16. Berelson, Bernard, and Morris Janowitz. Reader in Public Opinion and Communication. New York: The Free Press, 1950. 191
- - - , and Gary A. Steiner. Human Behavior: An Inventory of Scientific Findings. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1964. - - - , Paul F. Lazarsfeld, and William N. McPhee. Voting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954. Burwen, Leroy S., and Donald T. Campbell. "The Generality of Attitudes Toward Authority and Non-Authority Figures." The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 54 (1957), 24-31. Brim, Orville G., and Stanton Wheeler. Socialization after Childhood. New York: Wiley, 1966. Campbell, Angus, Philip E. Converse, Warren E. Miller, and Donald E. Stokes, The American Voter. New York: Wiley, 1960. Coleman, James S., ed. Education and Political Culture. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965. Davies, James C. Human Nature in Politics: The Dynamics of Political Behavior. New York: Wiley, 1963. - - - , "The Family's Role in Political Socialization." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 361 (1965), 10-19. Dawson, Richard. "Political Socialization." Political Science Annual: An International Review. Edited by James H. Robinson. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966. Dennis, Jack. "Major Problems of Political Socialization Research." Midwest Journal of Political Science, 12 ( 1968 ), 85-114. - - - , et al. "Political Socialization to Democratic Orientations in Four Western Systems." Paper presented at the 1967 Meetings of the American Political Science Association, Chicago. Easton, David, and Robert D. Hess. "Youth and the Political System." Culture and Social Character. Edited by Seymour M. Lipset and Leo Lowenthal. New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1961. - - - , and Robert D. Hess. "The Child's Political World." Midwest Journal of Political Science, VI ( 1962 ), 229-246. *---, and Jack Dennis. "The Child's Image of Government." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 361 (1965), 41-57. - - - , and Jack Dennis. "The Child's Acquisition of Regime Norms: Political Efficacy." The American Political Science Review, 61 (March 1967), 25-38. Elkin, Frederick. The Child and Society: The Process of Socialization. New York: Random House, 1960.
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Agents, for political socialization, 71-75 Almond, Gabriel A., 9, 56, 61 Appalachia, political socialization in, 87-106 Attitudes, political, development of, in children, 64-82 Bender, G. J., 180 Brim, Orvil!e, 13 Brink, William, 11 Cantril, Hadley, 22 Children Appalachian, political socialization of, 87-106 black, political socialization of, 178-190 development of political attitudes in, 64-82
image of government, 24-55 politics and, 56-63 Civil R1ghts Act (1964), 176 Civil rights movement, 12 Clark, Kenneth B., 171 Cold Warism, 14 Culture, political, 7-8, 13 Dahl, Robert, 2 Dennis, Jack, 8, 22, 24-55, 89, 180 Disaffection, evidence of, 10-12 Doob, Leonard, 181 Douglass, Frederick, 167 DuBois, W. E. B., 168, 173 Easton, David, 4, 8, 22, 24-55, 60, 88, 89,90, 91 Edelman, Murray, 9 Eulau, Heinz, 4
Family as prototypical authority structure, 100 as transmitter of political values, 98 Fleron, Frederic J., Jr., 85-109 Freedom, 22 Government, child's image of, 24-55 Greenberg, Edward S., 1-16, 178-190 Greenstein, Fred, 4, 56-63 Harris, Louis, 11 Hess, Robert D., 4, 8, 60, 64-82, 88, 90, 91 Hirsch, Herbert, 85-109 Howard, John, 11 Hyman, Herbert, 4 Ideology, 13, 14 Inequity, confrontation with, 137
Jahoda, Gustave, 181 Jaros, Dean, 85-109 Jennings, M. Kent, 89 Kardiner, A., 174 Keniston, Kenneth, 110-150 Key, V. 0., 8 Lane, Robert, 9, 36-38 Lerner, Max, 36-37 Looting, 10 Marvick, Dwaine, 1 S 1-177, 187 McCord, William, 11 Mills, C. Wright, 179 Mitchell, Will!am, 9, 13 Myrdal, G., 169 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 167-168, 173 National Opinion Research Center, 156 Negroes, 10-12 American, political socialization of, 151-177 political socialization of black children, 178-190 New Left, 110-150 Niemi, Richard, 89
Ovesey, L., 174 Piaget, Jean, 181 Plato, 4, 5, 21 Pluralism, 2 Political analysis, utility of political socialization as a framework for, 4-6 Political attitudes, development of, in children, 64-82 Political culture, 7-8, 13 Political socialization agents for, 71-75 American Negro and, 151-1 77 in an American subculture, 85-109 Appalachian children and, 87-106 black children and, 178-190 controversy, 6-8 defined, 3, 13 goal of, 20 as a learning process, 19-23 process of, 75 rate and sequence of, 75-77 research, trends in, 1-16 utility of, as a framework for political analysis, 4-6 Political Socialization (Hyman), 4 Political values family as transmitter of, 98 learning of, 19-23 Politics, children and, 56-63 Powell, Adam Clayton, 171 Power, 22 Radicalization, 110-150 Rafferty, Max, 5 Report of the President's Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, 188 Republic (Plato), 4 Research on, political socialization, trends in, 1-16 Riggs, Fred, 9 Riots, 10-12 Rose, Richard, 13, 63 Sigel, Roberta, 13, 19-23 Socialization, see Political socialization Subculture, American, political socialization in an, 85-109
Teune, Henry, 9 Tomlinson, T. M., 11 Torney, Judith V., 8, 64-82
Vietnam Summer, 146, 14 7, 149 Vietnam war, 2, 12
Urban League, 167
Washington, Booker T., 168, 173 Watts, violence in, 11
Values, political family as transmitter of, 98 learning of, 19-23 Verba, Sidney, 9