ERIC Number: ED161777
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1974-Nov-4
Reference Count: 0
Alienation and Expectation in American Political Culture.
The concept of political alienation in American culture is examined in light of evidence gathered by social scientists. Political alienation is interpreted to include a wide variety of attitudes and behaviors such as cynicism, outraged idealism, apathy, violent protest, powerlessness, and revolutionary zeal. To minimize conceptual ambiguities of the term, the author confines discussion to four major aspects of alienation: the referents from which the person is alienated, the degree to which the person rejects the referent political institutions and processes, type of expression, and source of alienation. Findings from numerous national surveys indicate that Americans have a lower level of trust in and support for American political institutions than they did in 1964. Americans also feel more alienation from every other organized segment of society than has been the case since the early 1900s, when the first surveys were taken. Examples of ways in which alienation has been expressed are decreasing voter turnouts, split-ticket voting, student political protests, rising emigration, frustration over inflation, and anger when high expectations of governmental performance are unmet. The conclusion is that Americans will become less alienated from the political system if they begin to expect reasonable rather than miraculous achievements from political leaders. (DB)
Descriptors: Activism, American Culture, Attitude Change, Attitudes, Beliefs, Data Analysis, Government Role, Leadership Qualities, Leadership Responsibility, Literature Reviews, Negative Attitudes, Philosophy, Political Attitudes, Politics, Social Problems, Socialization, Surveys, Tables (Data), Trend Analysis, United States History
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Dept. of Political Science.
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Edmund Janes James Lecture (Urbana, Illinois, November 4, 1974); Not available in hard copy from EDRS due to small type size of original document