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ERIC Number: EJ770183
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7996
Perceptions of National Identity: How Adolescents in the United States and Norway View Their Own and Other Countries
Zevin, Jack
Social Studies, v94 n5 p227-231 Sep-Oct 2003
During the spring and summer 1999, to increase his understanding of the mental pictures that young adolescents hold of their own nation and other nations, the author interviewed students from four sociologically similar urban-area New York schools and students in a junior high school class in Oslo, Norway. He used a semantic differential survey form that presented the students with sets of opposite qualities--some geographic, some political, and some social--with a seven-point Likert-type scale from which students could choose the rating that best suited their views of three countries--the United States, Norway, and Russia. He also asked the students to identify the sources of their knowledge and attitudes toward each country, choosing from six possible categories: parents, peers, television, teachers, books and newspapers, and travel. The students' responses followed a general pattern in which the United States and Norway were viewed positively as more "like us" and Russia was seen in a more negative light, as "not like us." The adolescents in the sample differentiated between the three nations in a reasonable manner, given the influences that they reported as most important. U.S. students identified television as the top source of knowledge, with teachers being second. The influence of friends was the main means for establishing attitudes toward the United States, but parents were considered most valuable as sources of attitudes toward Russia and, to a somewhat lesser degree, toward Norway. From the study, the author concludes that young people hold distinctive images of their own nation and other nations and are able to delineate clearly what factors influenced their views. Implications for the teaching of social studies are discussed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York; Norway; Russia; United States