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Abstract and Keywords 'Politics, Culture and Socialization' nr.3


'In the name of the father? The role of family politicization in the political socialization process of Belgian federal election candidates', by Hilde Van Liefferinge, Carl Devos & Kristof Steyvers, Belgium
Family politicization remains a disproportionately represented background feature of federal election candidates in Belgium. For a holistic explanation of this overrepresentation, diverse features should be taken into account. In this article we focus on the role of family politicization in one major explanatory feature, namely the political socialization process. Our empirical data stem from a 2009 elite survey, in which Belgian federal election candidates were asked for several aspects of their family background, political engagement and career. The results show that candidates stemming from highly politicized families develop an earlier interest in politics, enter political life at an earlier age, had more frequent political discussions in the home environment and show higher partisanship agreement with their parents than candidates with lower levels of family politicization and certainly than candidates from families in which party politics was completely absent.

Keywords: family politicization – political socialization – election candidates – party politics – political recruitment


Political Socialization In A World Of Conflict And Change.
Orit Ichilov (Israel)

The term “political socialization” was coined by Herbert Hyman and was the title of his book published in 1959. The newly introduced area of research and theory grew rapidly as evident from the number of books and articles that were published especially during the late fifties and during the sixties and, somewhat less, during the late seventies. It soon became one of the flagships of the American Political Science Association (APSA). I recently accessed the website of APSA and discovered that “political socialization” is no longer there. In contrast, “Political socialization and education” is one of the active research groups at the International Political Science Association (IPSA). Is this coincidental? What is the present state of political socialization? Has it “died a premature death in the 70s” (Niemi and Hepburn, 1995, p. 8)? Has it metamorphosed into “civic engagement” (Torney-Purta, 2012)? Is there a reawakening of interest in political socialization (Adolina, 2012)? Is political socialization still relevant in a world of conflict and change?
I propose to discuss the emergence of “political socialization”, reasons for its decline, its present state and then outline what I consider to be a new agenda for political socialization as a scholarly area of inquiry.

Keywords: Political socialization – political learning – conflict and cultural change – agents of political socialization – dissent and disobedience – socializing environments and contexts.

On Political Parties in China and Western Societies.
Wang Feng (PR China)

Faction in politics is a long-standing objective phenomenon in human political life. Party has made factions public and legal. Clique is only a kind of small group struggling for private interests. Derived from faction, party is different from faction because party has its own clear objective, well-organized structure and discipline. Without getting rid of minor faction, party has to struggle against factionalism after its coming into being. A proletariat party has also to face the temptation of factionalism and keep politics focused on the benefit of the people in general. The nature of Chinese proletariat party decides there is no space for the development of major factionalism. Chinese culture from ancient times demonstrates that every empire was destroyed from within by factions. In order to create cultural harmony in China and prevent regime destruction, strong factions from within must be avoided. Western political culture analysis shows that an environment developed which was favorable to two and multiple parties. Chinese culture never produced such a condition.

Keywords: Party – Faction – Clique – Factionalism – Proletariat – Culture

The Future of Political Socialization Research: Promising or Discouraging?
Ellen Quintelier (Belgium)

In the seventies and the eighties the research into political socialization experienced a downswing. In the nineties and early 2000 the field revitalized again, partly due to a diversification of political socialization research to other fields than political socialization. However, whereas a lot of researchers use the container concept of ‘political socialization’, the field still lacks a clear theory, tries to find the age where most political socialization takes place, and what the most effective agent of political socialization is. Most advances in the field are taking place from a methodological point and by studying different outcomes. We focus on the shortcomings of past research, and try to develop a research agenda for the coming years.

Keywords: Political socialization – youth – theory

Political leadership of South African statesmen: Jan Smuts and Nelson Mandela
Arkadiusz Zukowski (Poland)

Leadership and the leaders in Africa have their own special characteristics following mostly from the historical and cultural determinants. It is claimed that Africa is suffering from a crisis of leadership and lack of good leaders. However, an example of the South African leaders (Jan Smuts and Nelson Mandela) contradicts this generally binding thesis and can make an exception that confirms that rule. Their political leadership results from specific personality traits and education. They constitute positive examples of fulfilling the leadership role in the national, African continent’s and global dimension.

Keywords: Political leadership – South Africa – Jan Smuts – Nelson Mandela

Credible Political Leaders: Reflections on the X-Factor and Beyond
Frank Hendriks (The Netherlands)

In this paper, the crucial factors behind credible political leadership are investigated, distinguishing between the X-factor, the Y-factor, and the Z-factor. The X-, Y-, and Z-factors relate to appeal, persuasion, and competence, or to put it quite simply, to images, words, and deeds. The paper connects to the relevant literature on leadership, credibility, charisma, rhetoric and dramaturgy, finding an empirical frame of reference in the Netherlands and other countries. Ultimately, a credible politician is compared to a tightrope walker, mastering a balance pole with the X-factor of appeal at one end, the Z-factor of competence at the other end, and, as their essential connector in the middle, the Y-factor of conviction.

Keywords: political leadership – credible governance – appeal – persuasion – competency – charisma – rhetoric – dramaturgy

Fluid Sectoralism and the Present-Day Kibbutz
Sigal Ben-Rafael Galanti & Alon Pauker (Israel)

Israel’s political turnabout (1977) and the kibbutzim’s existential crisis of 1985 accelerated the transformation of the kibbutzim of all movements – once a revolutionary vanguard and a part of the ruling Labor camp – into a social sector much less ideological than ever before (Ben-Rafael, 2011, p. 191-222). However, the kibbutzim as such continue to be present on the political stage, encouraged by major parties with which they have mostly soft alliances. Here it’s explained as an expression of “fluid sectoralism” characterizing pluralistic societies, where sectors make efforts to forward no more than narrow interests, while political forces seek proximity to as many sectors as possible, aiming to be perceived as general society’s “authentic representatives.” Analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data, including interviews with most major kibbutz politicians, we underscore interactions between the kibbutzim, kibbutz politicians, and political parties. A principal conclusion relates to the paradox between the pluralistic context that allows advancement of deep views, and the tendency to concentrate on promoting narrow interests.

Keywords: kibbutz – kibbutz politicians – fluid sectoralism – political parties.

The Origins of Adolescents’ Involvement in Illegal Political Activities: a Function of Demographic Background, Political Dissatisfaction, Affective Commitment, or Political Communication?
Victor Dahl (Sweden)

Although great steps have been made to understand young peoples’ political participation in general, one dimension that remains understudied is involvement in illegal political activity. With data for 2,012 Swedish teenagers, surveyed annually for two years, this study begins to bridge this gap by examining the extent to which demographic background, political dissatisfaction, affective commitment, and political communication explain adolescents’ involvement in subsequent illegal political activity. Analyses confirmed that boys were more inclined than girls to illegal political activity, as were adolescents with higher levels of perceived lack of system responsiveness. When in simultaneous examination with these two factors, affective commitments and political communication did not predict involvement in illegal political activity at the second measurement. In sum, findings suggested that gender and dissatisfaction explain the origins of adolescents’ use of illegal political activity.

Keywords: illegal political activity – adolescence – demographic background – political dissatisfaction – affective commitment – political communication

Populist Ideological Stances in Western Europe: Contemporary Populism in the Low Countries in the Light of the European Context
Lieuwe Kalkhoven (Belgium)

This article aims at locating populism in today’s political spectrum of Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium; henceforth: Belgium-Flanders) and the Netherlands. The current state of Belgium-Flanders and the Netherlands (together also known as the Low Countries) can be characterized by their political crises in recent years, in which traditional electoral loyalty has become volatile and rare, whereas new, straightforward and radical parties, like N-VA (Belgium) and PVV (the Netherlands) achieve significant electoral successes. In both contexts, the sudden rise of certain radical parties is seen in the light of the general ‘new populist wave’ that washes over Europe in recent years. In this in-depth study we explore the concepts of populism and ideology more extensively, and elaborate on the presence of populism in the political contexts of Belgium-Flanders and the Netherlands, as two specific cases in the Western European emergence of (often) similar populist parties.
Populist ideology can be summarized as (I) an idealized image of the people's democracy, (II) the proposition that ‘the people’ is abandoned or even betrayed by the political establishment, and (III) that this basic principle must be restored or regained that can be found in the classification. These utterly moral principles are represented in serial political parties in both Belgium-Flanders and the Netherlands, as similar to many other Western European countries. Ideologically speaking, it becomes clear that populism in Western Europe – including Belgium-Flanders and the Netherlands – exists almost exclusively as a right wing, economically and morally conservative and in an almost fascist-like shape. However, populist ideology is, as we will argue, ambiguous in presence, (therefore) sometimes difficult to detect and often evaporated in a mix of populist beliefs, discourse and strategy.

Keywords: Populism – Ideology – Belgium-Flanders – the Netherlands – Western Europe

From Patriotism to Globalism: A continuous social change mirrored in Israeli textbooks
Sara Zamir (Israel)

Globalization processes have been accelerating since the early 1990s, and thus, the Israeli society is also experiencing substantial changes. Within these changes, symbols, beliefs, and new values are adopted to replace the old ones. Evidence of the societal change can be traced, mainly, in the Israeli economy. Over the years, a significant increase has occurred in the use of international scenery, values, and norms.
This article examines whether this extensive use of global motifs in Israeli society is also evident in the educational system that during its early days adhered to patriotic motifs.

Keywords: globalization – patriotism – social change – school textbooks.

The role of personality in politics: Ashton, Barroso and Van Rompuy, Trinity at EU?
Jurriaan Middelhoff & Christ’l De Landtsheer

This article is the first scientific study into the political personalities of European Union leaders. It investigates the personalities of the permanent president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the European High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, and the president of the Commission José Barroso. The aim is to determine whether there is any psychological reason to suspect a possible power struggle between the personalities of Van Rompuy, Ashton and Barroso. The power division between the new leaders of EU, has indeed, as a consequence of the Treaty of Lisbon in the European Union, given rise to speculations about a possible struggle for power. This is in particular due to the complex judicial relations between the three positions, and the still unclear competences of all positions in the foreign relations area of EU. This article will approach this discussion from a different angle than the judicial debate. In order to be able to portray the profile of the current giants of European Foreign policy, the article will build upon the theories of two main disciplines: psychological profiling and European governance. A psychological profile of all actors will be completed on the basis of the method of political profiling by Aubrey Immelman (e.g. 2004). Before that, the article explains the judicial question marks that surround the top positions in the EU at the moment, and the Immelman profiling method itself. It concludes with a discussion on the consequences of the results in the light of the judicial issues.

Keywords: political profiling – European Union – personality

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