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The Political Socialization of Adolescents in Canada: Differential Effects of Civic Education on Visible Minorities

  • Ellen Claes (a1), Marc Hooghe (a1) and Dietlind Stolle (a2)

Abstract. It is assumed that civic education has persistent effects on political attitudes and behaviours of young citizens. There is no consensus, however, on what kind of efforts have the strongest effects on specific outcomes, like political knowledge and intended political participation. In some of the older literature, it has been shown that effects of civic education are stronger for children from a visible minority background. This article takes up these questions using a dataset with a sample of 15–17-year olds from Canada (n = 3,334). The results show that active efforts for civic education can make a difference. Especially community service, a rather new form of civic education, fosters political knowledge and conventional future participation. However, in Canada, adolescents from a visible minority background do not benefit disproportionately from civic education efforts.

Résumé. On soutient que l'éducation à la citoyenneté amène des effets positifs durables sur les attitudes et les comportements politiques des jeunes. Toutefois, il n'existe pas de consensus concernant les efforts spécifiques les plus fructueux pour stimuler les connaissances et la participation politiques. Dans cet article nous examinons premièrement l'ampleur des effets de l'éducation à la citoyenneté. Deuxièmement, nous examinons la thèse selon laquelle ce sont les minorités visibles qui bénéficient le plus de ces efforts – position défendue dans une partie de la littérature plus ancienne sur le sujet. Ces deux questions sont étudiées quantitativement en utilisant un groupe témoin de jeunes Canadiens de 15 à 17 ans (n = 3334). Les résultats révèlent que les efforts actifs dans le domaine de l'éducation à la citoyenneté ont un effet sur les attitudes et les comportements politiques. Le service communautaire, entre autres, une nouvelle forme d'éducation à la citoyenneté, sensibilise les jeunes à la politique et favorise leur participation conventionnelle future. Nous ne trouvons pas, en revanche, d'effet différentiel notable chez les adolescents des minorités visibles.

Corresponding author
Ellen Claes, Department of Political Science, Catholic University of Leuven, Parkstraat 45, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium,
Marc Hooghe, Department of Political Science, Catholic University of Leuven, Parkstraat 45, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium,
Dietlind Stolle, Department of Political Science, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2T7, Canada,
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
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