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The influence of family socialization among critical party members

Martin Baloge
Université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne
Martin Baloge
Université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne
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Abstract

Do activists’ children become activists? To answer this question I would like to raise a parallel issue: In which extend political commitment of the parents influence their children activism? Based on a seven-month study among two sections of the Parti Socialiste in France, I observed that the intensity of political participation, partisan discipline and party identification has to be directly linked to the activism of the party members’ parents. This contribution would aim at analyzing the weight of the parental influence in the construction of a critical opinion by party members against their own party. The eighteen interviews have shown that the most critical party members have parents who were not activists. On the other hand the activists, whom parents where long-time activists as well, seem to have greater responsibilities in the sections and a more positive opinion about their party. My contribution would intend to study the link between critical speeches or actions in parties and political socialization by the parents. By interviewing the activists on their social backgrounds, I could notice that the role of the family is one of the most important reasons (among gratifications, friends and context) that encourage political mobilization. We could also observe that the political tradition among family members has an impact on the position occupied in the section. As a result, the activists at the bottom of the organization’s hierarchy are the ones whom parents were not activists or less involved in the party life. This contribution would therefore analyze the relation between political socialization by the parents, the critics and the positions occupied in the sections in order to show how and why the “political heredity” is one of the most, if not the most, important determinant mechanism that explain political commitment and more importantly, the way that people join, participate, evolve in their party and criticize it.