Advertisement

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 105–133 | Cite as

The growth of political ideas and their expression among young activists

  • William C. Crain
  • Ellen F. Crain
Article

Abstract

Two studies were conducted. In the first, developmental information was gathered on young people's efforts to construct and elaborate on an ideal society. The subjects were 54 white middle-class boys, equally divided among 8−, 11−, and 16-year-olds. The interview protocols suggested a typology consisting of (1) a personalistic, nongovernmental construction of society, based on the child's own life space, with a concern for biological needs such as food and shelter; (2) a construction of specific but unrelated governmental institutions; (3) a better-organized conception of how institutions are interrelated; (4) a commitment to abstract principles. In the second investigation, the task and typology were applied to the study of high school left-wing activists and nonactivists −93 in all. The activists were not clearly more committed to abstract principles, although they were entertaining utopian possibilities of a society with few laws. But the surprising finding was the activists' resemblance to the youngest children (type I); they too constructed a personalistic society potentially within their own life space and were concerned with biological life-supportive issues.

Keywords

High School Young Child Young People Health Psychology School Psychology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adelson, J. (1971). The political imagination of the young adolescent.Daedalus, pp. 1013–1050 (Fall).Google Scholar
  2. Adelson, J., and O'Neil, R. P. (1966). Growth of political ideas in adolescence: The sense of community.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 4:295–306.Google Scholar
  3. Adelson, J., Green, B., and O'Neil, R. P. (1969). The development of the idea of law in adolescence.J. Develop. Psychol. 1:27–32.Google Scholar
  4. Block, S., Haan, N., and Smith, M. B. (1968). Activism and apathy in contemporary adolescents. In Adams, S. (ed.),Understanding Adolescence: Current Developments in Adolescent Psychology, Allyn and Bacon, Boston.Google Scholar
  5. Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales.Educ. Psychol. 30:37–46.Google Scholar
  6. Connell, R. W. (1971).The Child's Construction of Politics, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria, Canada.Google Scholar
  7. Crain, W. C. (1972). Young activists' conceptions of an ideal society: idedogical dimensions and developmental considerations.Youth Soc. 4:203–235.Google Scholar
  8. Easton D., and Dennis, J. (1969).Children in the Political System: Origins of Political Legitimacy, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Easton, D., and Hess, R. (1962). The child's political world.Midwest. J. Pol. Sci. 6:229–246.Google Scholar
  10. Eisenberg, L. (1965). A developmental approach to adolescence.Children 12:131–135.Google Scholar
  11. Flacks, R. (1967). The revolt of the advantaged: An exploration of the roots of student protest.J. Soc. Issues 23:52–75.Google Scholar
  12. Flavell, J. (1963).The Developmental Psychology of Jean Piaget, Van Nostrand, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Gallatin, S., and Adelson, J. (1971). Legal guarantees of individual freedom: A crossnational study of the development of political thought.J. Soc. Issues 27:93–108.Google Scholar
  14. Greenstein, F. I., and Tarrow, S. (1970). Political orientations of children: The use of a semi-projective technique in three nations.Sage Prof. Papers Comp. Politics 1:479–558.Google Scholar
  15. Haan, N., Smith, M. B., and Block, J. (1968). Moral reasoning in young adults: Politicalsocial behavior, family background, and personality correlates.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 10:183–201.Google Scholar
  16. Hess, R., and Torney, J. (1967).The Development of Political Attitudes in Children, Aldine, Garden City, N.Y.Google Scholar
  17. Inhelder, B., and Piaget, J. (1958).The Growth of Logical Thinking, Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Kahn, H. (1971). Herman Kahn thinks the unthinkable.New York Times Magazine, June 19.Google Scholar
  19. Keniston, K. (1968).Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth, Harcourt, Brace and World, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Keniston, K. (1970). Student activism, moral development, and morality.Am. J. Orthopsychiatry 40:577–592.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Kim, J. (1971). Predictive measures of ordinal association.Am. J. Sociol. 76:1.Google Scholar
  22. Kohlberg, L. (1964). Development of moral character and moral ideology. In Hoffman, H., and Hoffman, L. (eds.),Review of Child Development Research, Russell Sage Foundation, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Merelman, R. (1971). The development of policy thinking in adolescence.Am. Pol. Sci. Rev. 65:1033–1047.Google Scholar
  24. Piaget, J. (1932).The Moral Judgment of the Child, Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  25. Piaget, J. (1954).The Construction of Reality in the Child (M. Cook, trans.), Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Piaget, J. (1971).Structuralism (C. Maschler, trans.), Harper and Row, New York.Google Scholar
  27. Piaget, J., and Weil, A. M. (1951). The development in children of the idea of the homeland and relations with other countries.Internat Soc. Sci. Bull. 3:561–578.Google Scholar
  28. Rebelsky, F., Conover, C., and Chafetz, P. (1969). The development of political attitudes in children.J. Psychol. 73:141–146.Google Scholar
  29. Slater, P. (1970).The Pursuit of Loneliness Beacon Press, Boston.Google Scholar
  30. Tapp, J. L., and Kohlberg, L. (1971). Developing sense of law and legal justice.J. Soc. Issues 27:65–92.Google Scholar
  31. Werner, H. (1957). The conception of development from a comparative and organismic point of view. In Harris, D. (ed.),The concept of Development, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  32. White, E. (1969). Intelligence, individual differences, and learning in political socialization.Brit. J. Sociol. 20:50–68.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Crain
    • 1
  • Ellen F. Crain
  1. 1.Department of Psychologythe City College of the City University ofNew York

Personalised recommendations