The authors report on research in progress regarding modes of political thought among "bright" working-class adolescents. The basic question framing the study was "Has the ideology of working-class youth shifted away from its traditional focus on upward mobility toward a radical critique of the society?" The study consisted of in-depth interviews with working-class high school students with IQ's over 115. A pilot study revealed little heightened political consciousness and the authors turned to an exploration of the effects of community context on ideological development. The second phase of the research studied working-class adolescents in three contrasting community settings. Initial findings indicate on the one hand a widespread ethic of individual responsibility and a general suspicion of political involvement,but on the other hand, substantial community and individual variation in personal visions of the future and levels of support for the American political system. The authors speculate on the complex problems involved when middle-class persons engage in political consciousness raising among working-class adolescents,who would have to take substantial personal risks were they to adopt a more radical position.

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