Edited By Esther Thorson, Mitchell S. McKinney and Dhavan Shah
Introduction: Theorizing Political Socialization in a Media-Saturated World
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Theorizing Political Socialization in a Media-Saturated World
ESTHER THORSON, MITCHELL S. McKINNEY, AND DHAVAN SHAH
Political socialization is the developmental process whereby children and youth learn to relate to their polity—to democratic principles, to political parties, and to the ideas and values associated with the political realm. This book brings together a unique cluster of recent studies examining youth political development during a critical time for such socialization. Specifically, the chapters that follow explore a rapidly changing period when digital communication channels and devices continue to emerge almost on a daily basis, where political content is now available 24/7 thanks to these omnipresent channels and devices, and with political communication content now far more diverse than in the days when only network television, radio and television news, and news magazines constituted our dominant political media.
Also during the period of time when the studies found in this book were conducted (from 2007–2014), the American electorate witnessed the rapid growth of a generation of citizens called Millennials (those individuals born between 1980 and 1997), who represent the first generation to come of age in the new millennium and our very first generation of “digital natives” who have been completely immersed in digital technologies throughout their entire lives. As Palfrey and Gasser (2008) pointed out, “These kids are different. They study, work, write, and interact with each other in ways that are...
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