Democracy runs in the family-…-along cultural pathways

Siongers, J. (2005): Democracy runs in the family-…-along cultural pathways. Onderzoeksgroep TOR, Vakgroep Sociologie, Vrije Universiteit Brussel - TOR 2005/41.


Raising the democratic attitudes of adolescents has become one of the top priorities of the school policy in European countries. However, socialization starts already during early childhood. In this article I want to investigate the role of the parents. Based on a survey of 6,974 adolescents and one of their parents in Flanders (Dutch speaking part of Belgium) I find a strong resemblance in democratic attitudes between adolescents and their parents. Evidence was found for the simultaneous effect of an indirect parental effect and of direct parental socialization. Attitude similarity can be partly ascribed to the fact parents guide their children towards other socialization channels -e.g. education and media- relevant in the development of attitudes. But even taking these indirect influences into account, there still remains an important impact of the parents' attitudes on their children's. Concerning the indirect paths of socialization, cultural indicators are of more relevance than the socio-economic indicators. Key words: democratic attitudes, intergenerational transmission, adolescents, parents, socialization