Political Socialization in a Changing Society: A Crisis of Value Orientations or Asynchronization of National Memories?
The article examines qualitative changes in the socio-cultural parameters of intergenerational communication that impact social cohesion and civic identification in contemporary society. Diversification of symbol production and an increase in the number of agents of political communications, a greater heterogeneity of political ideologies, and modes of political representation shape political processes. To adequately address these changes, one needs new theoretical models of political socialization. Such models would examine youth political incorporation as a particular form of communication predicated on the spatial and temporal design of political events within national communities. The focus on generational differences in the interpretation of political events helps explain youth positioning vis-à-vis older generations. In this case, political socialization goes beyond the processes of the younger generation’s adaptation to institutions and value-normative regimes of the “adult” society. It is a communicative process of establishing generational political expectations. Analysis of the legitimating profiles of national memory—those that include competing symbolic representations of images of the future and the past, typologies of the heroic, concepts of guilt and responsibility—is crucial to studying the political socialization of the younger generation. The authors emphasize the significance of both a theoretical and applied analysis of symbolic structures of political memory and the role of iconic power in understanding intergenerational continuity and change. Drawing on the methods of cultural sociology, the authors outline novel theoretical approaches to studying youth political socialization in today’s society.