This paper “Political Socialisation: Out of Purgatory?” aims to put contemporary political socialisation research in perspective. It offers a rapid overview of the crisis of the subfield after the 1970s and then shifts attention to post-crisis studies.
Beginning with child political socialisation, it raises four issues: the use of theoretical frameworks derived from child psychology; the need to reconnect political socialisation to the sociology of family; the benefits of renewing methods for understanding the world of child politics; and a new account of social inequality in the process of political socialisation.
It then explores lifelong political socialisation and how it has developed around four research dynamics: the study of civic and political socialisation of school-age adolescents and young adults; the generational renewal; the socialising effects of political mobilisation; and the processes and agents of the secondary political socialisation of adults. The final section raises the major question of what is political in political socialisation.
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