Description - Cultivating Democracy by James G. Gimpel
Scholars across several social science disciplines have indicated that the behaviour described by the term "civic engagement" is girded by a set of attitudes that show knowledge about, and the positive evaluations of, government and politics. Drawing on extensive interviews with high school students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, this text examines the sources of those attitudes, including individual characteristics, and the qualities of local environments that shape the experiences of late adolescence. The authors gathered data on adolescent attitudes by interviewing students in a wide variety of locations, from Baltimore's inner city and suburbs to the most affluent communities in Montgomery County, Maryland. Focusing initially on attitudes toward ethnic diversity and immigration, the authors expanded their view to the political socialization of young people, including patriotism and political knowledge and participation. The authors assert that political socialization is determined primarily through the social messages presented to citizens by others.
According to Gimpel, Lay and Schuknecht, while formal education as a means of socializing youth is critically important, other useful means for communicating positive socializing messages - through political parties, elections and the media - have been ignored. They recommend that politicians create more compensatory strategies to promote civic engagement among those who do not participate.
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Publisher: Brookings Institution
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Author Biography - James G. Gimpel
James G. Gimpel is a professor in the Government and Politics Department at the University of Maryland, College Park. J. Celeste Lay is a graduate student in the government and politics department at the University of Maryland. Jason E. Schuknecht is a senior research analyst at Westat, Inc.