Ties that Bind
This chapter employs Walzer’s definition to advance two theses about the developmental processes that undergird citizenship. First, that family values inform children’s developing concepts of a political community and of their responsibilities to the public interest; second, that experiences of membership in institutions beyond the family are necessary for the social integration of young people into a political community and for their identification with a common good. It applies apply the “social contract” metaphor to and examination of factors related to the development of civic commitment in adolescents. The question of how a civic ethic develops is of particular consequence to the fledgling democracies of Eastern/Central Europe. Globalization presents threats to the traditional mechanisms by which diffuse support for polities develops. Thus, it is especially important to identify the “ties that bind” members of these new and evolving democracies together.