Political Efficacy and Trust: Can We Trust the Research?

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(2), 129–130. Reviews the book, The Political Socialization of Black Americans: A Critical Evaluation of Research on Efficacy and Trust by Paul R. Abramson (1977). The basic structure of the book is a roadblock to clarity. The appendices, nearly equaling the text size, are filled with important information that would make the text more understandable and meaningful. Another of Abramson's assumptions in explaining the political powerlessness/ distrust theory is the “social deprivation explanation.” However, he makes no mention of the high proportion of female-headed households in the Black community, most of which exists below the officially designated poverty line. Basic to Abramson's treatise are the four explanations he says “might” account for racial differences in feelings of political efficacy and trust among school children. Abramson fails to discuss the systems contributing to the politicizing of black schoolchildren. Such discourse would certainly provide insight into his subject matter. Abramson concludes the text portion of the book with a fairly adequate comparative evaluation of the four explanations. However, he never reaches the proactive state of offering possible solutions to the problem of the continuing development of politically inefficacious and distrustful Black children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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