Generation, age, and time: The dynamics of political learning during Russia's transformation

William Mishler, Richard Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

99 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

When the Soviet Union collapsed, most Russians had lived their entire lives in a quintessentially authoritarian culture. Having been socialized in this environment, how could citizens acquire the attitudes and behaviors necessary to support a new, more pluralistic regime? Cultural theories of political learning emphasize the primacy of childhood socialization and hold that altering initial attitudes is a decades-long process that depends on generational replacement. Institutional theories emphasize adult relearning in response to changing circumstances regardless of socialization. Lifetime learning integrates the competing perspectives. Multilevel models using New Russia Barometer data from 1992 to 2005 confirm the persistence of some generational differences in Russian political attitudes but demonstrate even larger effects resulting from adult relearning. Lifetime learning provides the most comprehensive account and suggests that Russians would quickly acquire the attitudes and behaviors appropriate to democracy-if Russian elites supply more authentic democratic institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-834
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Volume51
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

Keywords

  • mass support
  • former USSR
  • socialization
  • attitudes
  • societies
  • principle

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