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POSC 1000 Introduction to Politics Russell Alan Williams.

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1 POSC 1000 Introduction to Politics Russell Alan Williams

2 PART TWO:POLITICAL PARTICIPATION & BEHAVIOR Unit Eight: Political Socialization and Culture (March 18 and 20) Required Reading: MacLean and Wood, Chapter 8. Outline: 1. Introduction – Political Culture 2. Political Socialization and Participation 3. Changing Values? 4. The Role of the Media 5. Changing Technology


4 1) Introduction: “Political Culture”: Widely held set of attitudes, beliefs and values that underpin any political system. Specific to each social setting Assumed to impact politics & public policy Different than political ideologies... E.g. Conservatives and Liberals may have different views about specific public policies, but in a specific social setting they may share a broader political culture E.g. In the United States, they share: Support of the Rule of Law Commitment to pluralistic participatory democracy

5 What kinds of political culture are there? Almond and Verba – The Civic Culture (1963) Parochial - Politics is distant and abstract for citizens – people act in a disinterested way Subject - People are aware of political events but they believe they have little control over outcomes Participant – Citizens are aware of political events and believe they should have an active role in choosing public policies Different states have different mixes of these values – E.g. The United States is more “participant” then Canada Yet, demographically the two countries are so similar, so why different political cultures? Ideas are controversial – there are many alternative systems of classification

6 Core aspects of political culture a) Democratic values: E.g. Anglo-American world expects high level of participation b) Views of governments and politicians: E.g. Anglo-American countries more negative –Attitudes towards incumbent governments c) Political interest and knowledge E.g. Can vary from one community to another

7 2)Political Socialization & Participation: “ Socialization ” : Process whereby individuals act in a social manner; creation of social and political authority and rules to regulate behavior and thus permit operation of social units Or: Process by which values, political ideologies and political culture are transmitted to citizens. May explain why political cultures are different Mechanisms: Parties and political system Education system Governments

8 Mechanisms: Families? Considerable debate about families... The Catholic voter hypothesis  More impact on Political Culture than Political Ideologies –E.g. “ Political Efficacy ” : Belief individuals have on whether they can effect what governments do Media !!!!!

9 Socialization... Example – the “Turnout Crisis” Voter turnout lower AND declining in Canada Canadian Federal elections (1945-2000): Turnout very low as a % of population in Canada

10 Socialization... Example – the “Turnout Crisis” Most noticeable amongst young voters Perceived importance of voting by age cohorts Producing a lost generation of voters... ? Question: Why don’t young people vote?

11 Explanations: Wisdom – young voters see “strategic realities” 1. E.g. Political Efficacy 2. E.g. Electoral system problems 3. E.g. Relates to possible “Generational Effect”: Effect that a different generation can have on its members attitudes – will persist over time – people are socialized by “peers” E.g. Current youth still participate, just less likely to vote... “Life Cycle Effect” : Age effects one’s attitudes and behavior E.g. People become more conservative as they get older This is not new - young people never tend to vote!

12 Explanations: Socialization – Youth are not “trained” to vote Role of media? Decline of political parties? Decline of civic culture? E.g. “Bowling Alone” hypothesis (Putnam) Many suggest our political culture is changing – socialization is not same on participation

13 3) Changing Values: Political cultures and ideologies change over time... Materialism  Post-materialism Ideologies were traditionally “ materialist ” : focused on economic benefits for different groups Postmaterialist Theory: Political values changing because younger generations grew up in era of prosperity since WWII Less concerned about economic security More highly educated

14 Increases support for Postmaterialist Values: Human rights, civil liberties etc Environment Evidence? Question: Does this explain the “ turnout crisis ” ? E.g. Party politics and platforms not responding to postmaterialist values that well????

15 The Media or “Fourth Estate”: Traditionally, organizations not directly involved in politics but responsible for informing the public 1) “Libertarian Perspective”: Media should be free from government regulation 2) “Social Responsibility Perspective”: Media has a responsibility to the public’s “common good” Free media = bad information =Need for regulation and “public broadcasters” E.g. CBC 4) The Role of the Media

16 Perspectives on the media: 3) “Dominant Ideology Perspective”: Media promotes values of the powerful who benefit from status quo E.g. Noam Chomsky Media in liberal democracy is “propaganda” =Need for wider interpretations

17 E.g. Ownership concentration - E.g. “Rogers Communications” Traditional Media: –3 National TV Networks (CHUM, Sportsnet and TSC) –62 Magazines (5 of the 10 top selling) –E.g. MacLean's –35 Cable TV services –29 Radio stations –8 of Canada’s largest Daily newspapers New Media: –Simpatico –Rogers AT&T Wireless –240+ Video stores in Canada Risk: Most information provided by few sources

18 E.g. Ideological bias Partisan political bias... The “Editorial Line”: the idea that some media outlets have persistent biases Propaganda and state control The “news” we don’t hear.... Examples? - Stories on Media concentration! E.g. “Conflicts of Interest” Do media outlets protect their advertisers?

19 6) Changing Technology & the Media: How has the internet/social media/digital communication changed this? Two views: It promotes a more libertarian view of media impacts on politics = more “voices” in politics (libertarian perspective) Changes little Internet even more irresponsible (Social Responsibility Perspective) Internet just a different medium for same mass media companies (Dominant Ideology Perspective)

20 7) For next time: Unit Nine: International Politics and Foreign Policy (March 25 and 27) Required Reading: MacLean and Wood, Chapters 11 and 12.

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