Growth of political ideas in adolescence: The sense of community

  • Adelson J
  • O'Neil R
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Abstract

This paper traces the growth of the sense of community during the course of adolescence. Depth interviews were conducted with 120 Ss, 30 each at the ages of 11, 13, IS, and 18. Findings were: (a) Before the age of 13, youngsters are rarely able to transcend personalized modes of discourse in the political realm—they find it hard to imagine the social consequences of political action; (b) younger children, particularly those below IS, find it difficult to conceive the community as a whole—they conceptualize government in terms of specific and tangible services; (c) the idea of the future is in- completely developed in the early years of adolescence—hence it is only in the later period that youngsters can take into account the long-range effects of political action; (d) younger adolescents are usually insensitive to individual liberties and opt for authoritarian solutions to political prob- lems—at the same time, they are unable to achieve a differentiated view of the social order, and thus cannot grasp the legitimate claims of the com- munity upon the citizen; (e) there is a gradual increase with age in the use of philosophical principles for making political judgments.

Author-supplied keywords

  • ADOLESCENCE
  • ADOLESCENCE, POLITICAL PRINCIPLES, DEVELOPMENT
  • DEVELOPMENT, POLITICAL PRINCIPLES, ADOLESCENTS
  • POLITICS, ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT OF PRINCIPLES

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Authors

  • Joseph Adelson

  • Robert P. O'Neil

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