Ideological Transmission II: Peers, education and prisons (Full Report)

Ideological Transmission II: Peers, education and prisons (Full Report)

This CREST report, by Professor Kim Knott and Dr Benjamin Lee, is the second in a series of synthetic research reports on ideological transmission produced by the Ideas, Beliefs And Values In Social Context programme.

Transmission II Peers, education and prisons
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Peers, education and prisons is the second of three literature reviews on ideological transmission. The first review dealt with the ideological influence of the family on young people. The third review will deal with transmission by and through political and religious organisations.

This second review focuses on secondary socialisation, and considers ideological transmission within social groups (peers), centred on educational settings, including schools, universities and university societies, and prisons.

The research questions that inform these reports are as follows:

  • How is political and religious ideology (beliefs, values, attitudes, and embodied practices) passed on between and across generations and to newcomers?
  • Who is responsible for ideological transmission?
  • Where and when does ideological transmission take place?
  • How do these issues apply to the transmission of extremist and terrorist ideologies?

These questions are addressed across three stages of the research review, with findings summarised in the final report.

In research on families, the focus on intergenerational transmission and socialisation is well developed (see Ideological Transmission I: Families), but that is not the case in research on friendship and other peer networks.

This report has revealed that there is little work that concentrates explicitly on ideological transmission between peers. Studies have focused predominantly on behaviours, relationships and to a lesser extent influences, with relatively little consideration of ideas, values and beliefs or their connection to action.

To read the the full report download it here.


Both the executive summary and full report are available to download for free. Download the full report here. The executive summary can be found here.

Transmission II Peers, education and prisons

These reports are products from the ‘Ideas, Beliefs And Values In Social Context’ programme, led by Professor Kim Knott at Lancaster University. The project was funded by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats. You can read more about the project here.

This report was updated on 10/4/18 to correct some errors in the references. The latest version of the report is 17-041-02.

This report is produced under a Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC-SA license. For more information on how you can use our content read our copyright page.