Special Perspectives

Politics and the Life Cycle

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Science  30 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5782, pp. 1905-1908
DOI: 10.1126/science.1127891

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The study of politics and the life cycle began with a rather single-minded focus on childhood and the family—on the idea, as Tocqueville famously put it, that the entire person could be “seen in the cradle of the child.” Politics does begin in childhood, and parents do influence their offspring, but change takes place over the entire span of life. I take up the early emergence of partisanship and essentialism, the formation of generations, politically consequential transitions in adulthood, and the rising of politics and its final decline.

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