political behavior n.
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  1. POLITICAL BEHAVIOR An Inter-disciplinary Study

  2. POLITICAL BEHAVIOR • Politics in micro and macro levels of social life • Individual strategies for cooperation, conflict resolution, pursuing interests, even strategies towards family members and relatives • As the social surrounding grows bigger, individuals’ choices, attitudes and behaviors become more “political” in its true meaning

  3. THE INDIVIDUAL • The political orientations, self-identifications, ideals, principles and ideologies of the individual towards the social surrounding constitute an important theme of our subject (political behavior). • The discipline of political psychology

  4. THE GROUP • Individual’s self-identification with a political group via membership to or orientation (indirect support...etc) towards a political party, political organization or movement. • The discipline of political sociology

  5. WHEN DISCIPLINES COINCIDE • The political choices and behaviors of the individual may not always present a stable and continuous character • May go through changes, developments and transformations in time depending on many different situations and factors.

  6. WHEN DISCIPLINES COINCIDE • Apart from these, the political behavior of the individual may present a double or multi-character way

  7. DETERMINANTS OF POLITICAL BEHAVIOR • The family • Family traditions in politics • The orientation and education by the family elders • Charism of a family elder who is taken by the child as a model or idol • Another interdisciplinary contribution in terms of a ne problematic: the genetics of political behavior.

  8. MORE BIOLOGY, MORE SOCIOLOGY • Age groups and differing intensivities in the political sphere • Youth and popular culture • Aged people and political participation as a citizenship duty • The gender side

  9. FACTORS WITHIN THE SOCIAL SURROUNDING • Education sphere: teachers and school-mates as political orientators • Class belonging and political behavior • Mass media and public opinion • The neighborhood effect

  10. FACTORS WITHIN THE SOCIAL SURROUNDING • Ethnicity, ethnic identities, racism, xenophobia • Crime, terror and prejudicial behavior • Immigrants and political behavior • Religious affiliation • Kinship ties and political behavior • Clientalism and politics

  11. POLITICAL FACTORS • Leader charism and political choice • Political propaganda and its influence

  12. MOST VISIBLE MEASUREMENT OF POLITICAL BEHAVIOR • Elections and voting • Election campaigns • Electoral Systems


  14. GENETICS&SOCIAL SCIENCES • The increase in the use of genetic explanations for human characteristics and conditions over the last few decades • The academic search for the influence of genetic factors to explain the differences and varieties in humans’ psychological and behavioral characteristics such as violence, tolerance, intelligence and sexual orientation (straight&gay)

  15. MAIN PROBLEMATICS • Can people be born with political predispositions? • Does political orientation have a hereditary characteristic? • Is it genes or the early childhood experiences within the family which are more influential on the development of political attitudes?

  16. MAIN PROBLEMATICS Which factor is the most influential one on political orientation: • Genes? • Socialisation within the family? • or the social environment? (friends, education, business environment...)

  17. THE NATURE vs. NURTURE DEBATE • Recent studies claiming that genetics is highly influential on the formation of political orientations, attitudes and behavior • Academic response to these studies and claims, emphasizing the importance of the environment (political attitudes as learned elements, rather than genetically transmitted ones)

  18. A TURNING POINT WITHIN OUR SUBJECT • The Bell Curve, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray (1994) • The authors argued that intelligence largely determined success in life, and intelligence was largely genetic in origin.

  19. THE BELL CURVE • The authors also argued that IQs of Black Americans were lower on average than IQs of the Whites. • So, differences in life chances between Blacks and Whites were driven by genes, with intelligence as the mediating factor • Authors even recommended the welfare and reproductive policies of the US be changed in order to decrease the number of children born to lower class (and lower IQ) women

  20. THE BELL CURVE • The book led to great debates among academics, media and even politicians, either supporting or condemning these propositions • A social-Darwinist approach • Those who are in favour of such an approach where survival of the fittest is welcomed, tend to be conservatives in ideological terms (Hofstadter, 1944)

  21. THE CONSERVATIVE&LIBERAL DEBATE • Does political ideology play a role in determining how people feel about genetic explanations for human characteristics? • Do conservative and liberal people have different attitudes towards the genetic explanations of human characteristics?

  22. ASSUMPTIONS • Conservatives are more likely to endorse genetic explanations for human characteristics related to socioeconomic inequality • Liberals are more likely to endorse environmental explanations for those characteristics

  23. ASSUMPTIONS ON CONSERVATIVES • The idea of genetic influence on human characteristics is in accordance with the conservative principles • Historical background: The Feudal and Monarchic Ages: Monarchs and the nobility with an hereditary character No social mobility between seperate classes and life-long membership to the class one is born into

  24. ASSUMPTIONS ON CONSERVATIVES • Theological Background: Middle-Age scolastical thought: Accepting the consequences of your destiny which is labeled on you even before birth and not challenging the conditions brought forth by this destiny (God’s Plan)

  25. ASSUMPTIONS ON THE LIBERALS • Liberal Principles: equality, humans as valuable beings, freedom of choice • It is the social environment that influences the attitudes and behaviors of an individual, regarding the fact that he/she is free make the choices that is most fit for him/her

  26. ONE EXCEPTION • Do genes have an influence on determining sexual orientation? • Conservatives are more likely to reject the role of genes and instead to favor the influence of the environment. Because, conservative thought can not allow the possibility that God created human beings in those sexual orientations such as gays and lesbians (the Creator would not create people with such defections  , rather people choose to become homosexual under the influence of environmental factors)

  27. THE INFLUENCE OF IDEOLOGY • The responses of people towards genetical explanations of human nature change according to different ideological orientations • This situation is closely linked to the conservative/liberal conceptions of state intervention on certain grounds

  28. IDEOLOGY AND STATE INTERVENTION- The US MODEL • Political conservatism in the US is associated with a desire for small government and a lcak of government intervention in the lives of the citizens WHEREAS • Political liberalism in the US is associated with a desire for government intervention to adress societal problems (poverty, immigrant policy, welfare state policies...etc)

  29. CONSERVATIVE ATTITUDE • If socio-economic differences are primarily driven by inequalities of genetic endowment, then government policies and programs would not be effective to remedy them. So, support for a small, limited government (conservatism) is the most practical position

  30. CONSERVATIVE ATTITUDE • American Conservatives (as well as those in Western Europe) criticise most welfare policies of the state as of being in the advantage of the immigrants, minorities, people of lower classes...etc. So, financial funding of these policies is a burden on the true! citizens of the country

  31. LIBERAL ATTITUDE • Welfare policies should exist to protect the disadvantaged masses in order to remedy inequalities of opportunities and access to public services. State intervention is welcomed by the American liberals on this issue. • If socio-economic inequalities result from environmental factors, then environmental support such as education and social aids would help to remedy these inequalities

  32. POLITICAL TRADITION • Many theorists (Rousseau,Marx...) argued that government has a moral obligation to remedy systematic inequalities brought about by societal forces. • Others like Plato, Aristotle and E. Burke argued that the inequalities created by nature (God) should be allowed to flourish, not be got rid of (the underlying principle of natural selection)

  33. EXCEPTION OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION MATTER • Conservatives in favour of a government control on homosexual orientations • Liberals in favour of a limited government staying out of the citizens’ bedrooms 

  34. POLITICAL SOCIALISATION • Leaving behind the genetic side of the story, an analysis of the process namely “political socialisation” is necessary for determining the factors influential on the formation of political behaviors of the individuals • Man is both a social animal and a political animal

  35. POLITICAL SOCIALISATION • The process of adopting the political beliefs, values and attitudes • The environment as a tutor • Life-long learning: gaining political knowledge and experience at any age • A multi-level process • Different factors and conditions at each level

  36. CHILDHOOD PERIOD • The development of a self-consciousness • The development of personality • Development of intelligence • Development of certain attitudes and reactions both at emotional and cognitive sides, towards different conditions

  37. TEENHOOD PERIOD • A transitionary period from childhood to adulthood • Pyschological, biological and social changes • A process whereby the individuals’ social, cognitive and political development is carried out on the road to adulthood

  38. TEENHOOD PERIOD • The ego-centric condition of teens • Aiming to ensure the acceptance of their beliefs, ideas or judgements by others, mostly via debates or arguements • Ups & downs: the inconsistency in supporting ideals and beliefs • The long-run outcome of teen ego-centrism: idealism

  39. TEENHOOD SOCIALISATION • The ultimate function of socialisation is to ensure the adoption of social roles consistent with the social norms • The transmission of social norms, values and beliefs • Four different possible reactions of teens towards this transmission process:

  40. FIRST TYPE OF REACTION • The teen adopts the cultural patterns transmitted from the social environment and becomes an obedient and adaptable member of the society

  41. SECOND TYPE OF REACTION • The teen challenges all cultural effects from the social environment. Seeks new values and aims. Shows disloyalty towards the agents of authority or status quo: parents, teachers...etc Such teens are more likely to become influenced by non-mainstream or radical political ideologies

  42. THIRD TYPE OF REACTION • The teen shows little or no interest in the cultural transmissions from the social environment. Can not fully comprehend the common values and aims shared by the members of society. Dislikes the social order, but also finds him/herself too weak to alter or cure the social order. Thus mostly develops an anti-social or passive-defensive personality

  43. FOURTH TYPE OF REACTION • The teen establishes realist, constructive and positive realionships and makes rational choices on adapting the new knowledge acquired from the social environment, thus becomes a “model citizen”

  44. CONFLICTS WITH PARENTS • In search of his/her own self, the teen is generally motivated towards being freed from the influence of the parents and this generally leads to conflictual situations • This conflictual attitude may also be directed towards elder members of the extended family,teachers, neighbors... • The individualisation of the teen: becoming a personality

  45. THE DILEMMA OF TEEN SOCIALISATION • The teen, while aiming to acquire social acceptance and admiration by developing an unique identity and, at the same time, by being integrated to the bundle of norms, values and beliefs dominant in the social environment

  46. THE IDOL FACTOR • Patterns of roles, attitudes and beliefs of an idol or model, mostly an elder within the social environment (a relative, a neighbor, a teacher...), being adopted by the teen during the process of developing a personality, and the process of political socialisation and orientation as well

  47. POLITICAL SOCIALISATION • The individual establishes emotional and cognitive relations with the political structure via elements such as national flag,state, nation...etc during childhood • These relationships are based on mostly elementary and material systems of thought

  48. POLITICAL SOCIALISATION • During teenhood, the ability to think abstractly is gained. So, the teen can from now on perceive political matters not only on material, but also presumptive grounds. • Combining the theoretical outcomes of both material and abstract thought, the teen will find his/her place within the political system

  49. POLITICAL SOCIALISATION • Life-long learning in the political arena: in addition to the family an school, new sources of political knowledge will be available to the teen: friends, NGOs, means of mass communication...etc. • This increase at the cognitive level of the teen will contribute to the development of political beliefs and attitudes

  50. POLITICAL SOCIALISATION • The tendency of teens towards non-mainstream or radical political movements generally depends on personal and social motives: developing a self-identity and the social acceptance and admiration gained by means of performing the social roles assigned by this identity.