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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Political orientations vary in the extent to which they are first acquired in childhood and adolescence, with the most notable being party identification, civic engagement, and racial identity and prejudice. Cognitive development and social learning play an important role in racial orientations. Family transmission also plays an important, but not as dominant, role as once thought. Early-acquired orientations follow various trajectories through adulthood, including persistence, vulnerability to change in the impressionable years, or lifelong openness. Some examples of political generations and the related concept of collective memory are given. Vivid exogenous political events, as do such diverse individual life events as marriage or immigration, play a major role in the trajectory of individuals’ orientations through their life histories.

Keywords: Life stage, generation, political socialization, attitude crystallization, family transmission, life history, impressionable years, persistence, collective memory, cohort analysis

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