Change and Continuity of Citizenship Norms – A Study of Parental Socialisation of Poles

Najda, Weronika (2021) Change and Continuity of Citizenship Norms – A Study of Parental Socialisation of Poles. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/NN61L2L5

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How people see their role as a citizen has been changing as a result of changing values across generations. The post-materialistic turn has been deemed responsible for a more engaged, cause-oriented, expressive citizenship norms and political participation style, found predominantly among younger citizens, with a duty-based, institutionalised norms and participation preferred by older cohorts. Scholars researching political participation have been exploring the explanatory potential of such citizenship norms for the last few decades. However, large, cross-national datasets, have so far failed to provide evidence of a universal preference for either engaged or duty-based styles. This theoretical typology has brought even less conclusive results for post-communist populations, pointing to a lack of a generational shift in the way citizens participate in politics. The prospect of a universal change in the relationship between the citizen and the political system requires questioning the future of representative democracy. Such an inquiry is even more salient for countries that only recently transformed to democracy. The aim of this thesis, therefore, was to understand how citizenship and political participation is defined among the citizens of a post-communist country, Poland, if and how these norms translate into behaviours, and lastly, taking advantage of the coexistence of cohorts socialised under different political regimes, this research aimed to understand how citizenship norm is passed on from parent to child. This study applied qualitative content analysis to 32 in-depth interviews conducted with young Poles and their parents. Allowing for participants’ self-definitions of norms and political participation resulted in identifying two, new for the social norms literature, elements of the citizenship norm — a personality, trait-like, moral aspect and a patriotic component. A divorce was identified between the norms and behaviours interviewees engaged in, that is that the citizenship norms definitions did not contain activities people were actually participating in. This finding points to the resilient nature of social norms. The study also found that the parenting style played a bigger role in socialising young Poles into activity than the abstract, behaviour-deficient citizenship norms of the parents. This study’s main contribution lays in providing new knowledge to the field of political participation research, specifically in the area of citizenship norms, by deepening our understanding of young people’s political participation in a post-communist country. This single-nation research allowed for a careful consideration of its findings’ relevance in other cross-national contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Citizenship; Political participation; Parenting styles; Socialisation; Polish parents
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 09 May 2023 14:59
Last Modified: 09 May 2023 15:02

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