Religion and Political Socialization

Shanna Pearson‐Merkowitz and James G. Gimpel

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and American Politics

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780195326529
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Religion and Political Socialization

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  • Religion
  • Religious Issues and Debates
  • Religious Studies


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This article argues that there is a poor understanding of the process by which citizens acquire political knowledge, political attitudes, and expectations concerning political activity. The article first reviews the history of political socialization as a field of study, and then describes the role that different agents have played in the socialization process. It discusses religious socialization and religion as an influence on both youth and adult political socialization. The article also provides a review of related literature that addresses how the church can serve as a socializing and mobilizing venue for politically quiescent religious groups.

Keywords: political socialization; history; socialization process; religious socialization; church; political knowledge; political attitudes; political activity

Article.  12500 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Issues and Debates ; Religious Studies

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