Families' Values: How Parents, Siblings, and Children Affect Political Attitudes

ISBN : 9780199373604

Robert Urbatsch
208 Pages
162 x 241 mm
Pub date
Sep 2014
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One of the central questions in politics is from where people derive their tastes and opinions. Why do some people embrace the free market, while others prefer an interventionist state? From where do preferences for a vigorous foreign policy or for sterner policing of moral issues come? As has been shown, political preferences may be influenced by perceived benefits, the media, or public intellectuals. But less in known about the influence of family on political attitudes. Some mechanisms of family influence are well known: people tend to share their parents' political philosophies, while those with young children have heightened concern for child-related policies like education. But family members are likely to have far richer and more varied effects than those traditionally considered. Families' Values considers the ways that the everyday behavior of family members systematically and unconsciously influence political preferences. For example, does having a mother who works outside the home lead children to, when grown, have more liberal ideologies? Or, might having a son who could potentially be drafted into the armed forces influence a parent to become a pacifist? Drawing on surveys from the United States and the United Kingdom, the book looks at the ways in which parents, siblings, birth order, gender, and socioeconomics influence opinions on issues from war to the welfare state to abortion. It demonstrates that family relationships play a crucial and multi-faceted role in the way that people experience, learn about, and practice politics.


Chapter 1 - What We Know About Families and Why We Should Know More
Chapter 2 - The Conservative Children of Stay-at-Home Mothers
Chapter 3 - The Ideological Pull of Siblings
Chapter 4 - Birth Order Revisited: Attitudes towards Morality
Chapter 5 - Girls are from Mars, Boys are from Venus: Children and Militarism
Chapter 6 - Children, Economic Insecurity, and Support for Big Government
Chapter 7 - Conclusion: It's All Relatives
Appendix - Statistical Models and Technical Details

About the author: 

R. Urbatsch is Associate Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University

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