As teenagers mature into adults, they develop their political and civic orientations in a process often referred to as political socialization. In research in education, psychology, political science, and media and communication, there are, however, several features that limit the possibilities to explain their diverse development. Our aims are to understand the ways young people express political and civic engagement and explain the mechanisms and processes through which they develop different directions of civic engagement.
In close cooperation with international scholars, we carry out studies that: (a) include broad measures of civil orientations, skills, knowledge and activities from a human agency perspective; (b) include different contexts of adolescents' and young adults' everyday experiences (family, peers, school, media, civil society); and (c) follow individuals over time, thus allowing for the study of self-selection versus influence.
We develop a longitudinal study covering the ages 13 to 30. In total 4000 subjects and their best friends will be followed over 6 years. A subsample will be involved in an experimental study aimed at increasing civic engagement. In addition, we do an adult follow-up of 1000 participants in an existing longitudinal study. Covering ages 10 to 30, these datasets will be unparalleled in allowing for understanding and explaining the political socialization histories of young adults from multi-disciplinary perspectives.
The Political Socialization Program is a longitudinal research program at YeS (Youth & Society) at Örebro University, Sweden.