Suggested Reading

Almond, Gabriel, and Sidney Verba. The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963.

A comparison of the political cultures in England, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and the United States.

Erikson, Robert, Norman Luttbeg, and Kent Tedin. American Public Opinion. 5th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1994.

An outstanding review of scholarly literature on public opinion.

Jaros, Dean. Socialization to Politics. New York: Praeger, 1973.

A brief account of political socialization.

Lippmann, Walter. Public Opinion. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.

Lippmann, a renowned journalist, studies the way public opinion does—and does not—affect the government.

Niemi, Richard G., and Jane Junn. Civic Education: What Makes Students Learn. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998.

A scholarly look at civic education.

Orwell, George. 1984. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1949.

A famous novel of a future dystopia, Orwell portrays political socialization taken to the extreme by a totalitarian government.

Putnam, Robert. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.

Putnam’s book (based on an earlier article) brought the debate over social capital to national attention.

de Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America. New York: Schocken, 1961.

One of the most famous accounts of American political culture, it is still relevant today.

Wills, Garry. A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government. 1999. Reprint, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.

One of America’s most prominent public intellectuals discusses American wariness toward government.

Wilson, James Q. The Moral Sense. New York: Free Press, 1995.

A prominent political scientist uses a cross-disciplinary approach to study how people acquire moral beliefs and habits.

Useful Websites

A page that gives suggestions to help build social capital and combat social apathy in the United States. The project grew out of a 1996 seminar given at Harvard University by Robert Putnam.

This website belongs to the best-known polling company in the United States.

Two websites run by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, one of the most respected public opinion polling groups in the United States. The first, the General Social Survey, covers a broad range of matters, including demographics, economic behavior, and general views of social events. The second, the National Election Survey, is an in-depth study of voting behavior conducted every two years.

The Pew Center for the People and the Press does extensive polling on a wide variety of issues. They post not only the results but also their raw data online.

A quiz to see how much you know about American politics. How well socialized are you?

The website for the Partnership for Trust in Government, which tries to build up social capital and public trust by sponsoring educational programs and handing out literature about the American government.

Popular pages: Political Culture and Public Opinion