ERIC Number: ED218179
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jun-5
Political Specialization and Social Science Education.
Miller, Jon D.
This paper outlines a two-dimensional model of political specialization and discusses its implications for social science education. The first dimension, interest specialization, involves the choice of whether or not to devote time and resources to political affairs at all. The interest specialization process of young adults and adults was examined using data from a 1978 National Public Affairs Study and a recent national survey of adults designed by Miller and Prewitt (1979) respectively. Looking at both analyses, it appears that politics are salient to only half of the adult population and to slightly fewer young adults. The second dimension, issue specialization, involves the number of issues within the political system that any individual can follow knowledgeably at any point in time. Data from the two national surveys indicate that most citizens who are interested in politics follow only two or three political issues, and it is on this limited set of issues that individual political behavior decisions are formed and executed. The political specialization process (the combination of interest and issue specialization) of both young adults and adults has implications for political education, including the following. Citizenship should be presented to students not as a duty and a responsibility but as an opportunity involving both costs and rewards. Citizenship should be discussed and taught in less moral terms. New courses modelled after those that are successful at the college level should be offered in high schools. (RM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Social Science Education Consortium (East Lansing, MI, June 5, 1982).