Recommended Resources: Political Culture and Socialization

Recommended Reading:

Calavita, Marco. Apprehending Politics. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005. Looks at how the news media influences the political beliefs and behavior of generation X.

Campbell, David E. Why We Vote. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006. Examines the ways in which schools and communities socialize young people to politics.

Craig, Steven C., and Stephen Earl Bennet, eds. After the Boom. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. Explores the socializing experiences and political orientations of generation X, people born between 1960 and 1980.

Delli Carpini, Michael X. Stability and Change in American Politics. New York: New York University Press, 1986. A study of the baby boom generation using a political socialization framework.

Elazar, Daniel J. The American Mosaic. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1994. Examines the geographical underpinnings of American political culture across generations.

Hunter, James Davison. Culture Wars. New York: Basic Books, 1991. Discusses how subgroups based on religious differences disagree on fundamental issues of American national identity.

Johnson, Thomas J., Carol E. Hays, and Scott P. Hays. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998. A collection of articles discussing how the mass media can contribute to the political socialization process and foster the development of democratic values and participation.

Kitwana, Bakari. The Hip-Hop Generation. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2002. Discusses the socialization experiences of young black Americans who find their political voice in hip-hop music.

McClosky, Herbert, and John Zaller. The American Ethos. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984. Examines the nature of Americans’ commitment to democratic and capitalist values.

Niemi, Richard G., and Jane Junn. Civic Education. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998. Explores how schools succeed and fail in teaching civics.

Schmermund, Kathleen. Charles Gibson vs. Jon Stewart. New York: Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010. Compares political socialization of young people via traditional and fake news media.

Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. Generations. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1992. Provides an overview of American generations since the founding of America.

White, John Kenneth. The Values Divide. New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2003. An account of how changes in the demographic, racial, and ethnic makeup of the United States that have occurred since the 1950s have resulted in a fundamental shift in cultural values.

Youniss, James, and Miranda Yates. Community Service and Social Responsibility in Youth. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997. A study of high school community service programs and how they work to promote future civic participation.


Recommended Viewing

42: Forty Two Up (1999). The sixth and final installment of Michael Apted’s unprecedented documentary film chronicling the lives of fourteen British men and women in seven-year intervals. The subjects represent a cross-section of British society, and their life stories depict a variety of socialization experiences and political orientations. This series of documentaries, beginning with Seven Up, is the only film depiction of socialization over the life course.

American Family (2002). A PBS dramatic series that examines the everyday lives of members of an extended Latino family.

American History X (1998). An examination of two brothers who are drawn into a neo-Nazi skinhead gang. The film examines family socialization as the initial source of one brother’s racism, which is reinforced in prison and in a gang.

An American Family (1973), American Family Revisited (1983), Lance Loud!: A Death in an American Family (2003). A television documentary series capturing the life and times of the Loud family; the series was one of the first forays into “reality TV” and became controversial as the family dealt publicly with many difficult life situations, including issues of sexual orientation and divorce.

The Breakfast Club (1985). This film explores diverse socialization experiences in the home, school, and peer group of several high school students forced to do detention together in the school library.

Dead End (1937). An examination of the problems, including cultural conflicts, faced by New York City residents as they live through their impressionable years during the Great Depression.

Easy Rider (1969). This portrayal of two young societal dropouts who ride motorcycles across the American southwest depicts various scenes of the late 1960s counterculture.

Rebel without a Cause (1955). James Dean portrays a troubled and misunderstood middle-class 1950s-era youth in this classic depiction of generational conflict.

River’s Edge (1987). A dark portrayal of 1980s youth culture based on a true story of friends who do not report the murder of a woman in their group by her boyfriend. The film deals with issues, such as family socialization in homes with absentee parents and peer-group influence. It was selected as the “Film That Mattered” for the 1980s by the LA International Film Festival.

Slacker (1991). This documentary-style film of twentysomethings living on the edge of society in Austin, Texas, contributed to the image of 1990s youth culture as aimless and bored.