Political Socialisation and Social Movements: Escaping the Political Past?

  • Igor Petrović
  • Jacquelien van Stekelenburg
  • Bert Klandermans
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Political Psychology Series book series (PSPP)


Even the staunchest authoritarian regimes allow citizens to raise their voices from time to time. In the Soviet Union, for instance, where political and social life was heavily controlled by the communist regime, citizens were allowed to complain about certain issues by writing a letter to newspapers or authorities. While no fundamental critique of the political system was permitted, this offered citizens a manner to try to resolve their daily problems and unfairness they encountered (Smale, 1985; White, 1999: 46–47). Once communism collapsed, many Soviet citizens saw their lifestyle being destroyed — most of the social services they had known all their lives fell apart. Faced with this transitional disaster, many of them kept complaining to the newspapers by writing letters. What citizens did not take into account was that the political system that made their letters count did not exist any longer — citizens kept writing letters that no one was reading anymore. This story teaches us that while the political and social system might change almost overnight, citizens might need more time to adapt their political behaviour to changing contexts.


Party Politics Social Movement Political Participation Civic Engagement Political Attitude 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Igor Petrović, Jacquelien van Stekelenburg and Bert Klandermans 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Igor Petrović
  • Jacquelien van Stekelenburg
  • Bert Klandermans

There are no affiliations available

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