We consider inheritance, social perception, acceptance of stereotypes, social categorization/self-categorization, identification, interiorization, self-reflection and sense-making processes to be basic psychological mechanisms of civic identity formation. Civic identity is formed during civic socialization and has four basic stages: the information-perceptual stage (covering the preschool and early school age), the content-normative stage (encompassing the secondary school age / adolescence), the value-semantic stage (covering the youth age) and the integration-identification stage (covering the period of early adulthood). The mechanisms of social perception and imitations dominate at the informational-perceptual stage of civic identity formation. Children perceive organizational elements of the state, copy civic attitudes of their parents and other reference people. As a result, children gain the first non-systematic understanding of the state, government, citizenship and civicism. At the content-normative stage, mechanisms of social categorization/self-categorization and acceptance of stereotypes ensure civic self-categorization and understanding of the relevant concepts, such as a citizen's social role, the state and a community of citizens, civil rights and duties, state and civic values (usually in a simplified schematic form). At the value-semantic stage, an individual accepts (or rejects) the social role of a citizen and forms conception of him/herself as a citizen of a certain state (self-identification) due to identification mechanism, while the interiorization mechanism makes the individual adopt some civic and state values, norms and behavioural patterns. At the integration-identification stage, the mechanisms of self-reflection and sense-making become dominating. This causes an individual to reassess his/her already existing experience of civic practices, interaction with the state and its citizens. Understanding of personal responsibility for the state and society grows. The questions giving sense and values to the state and citizen community become actualized.
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