Definition , Nature, Types, Agents & Importance of Political Socialization

Definition , Nature, Types, Agents & Importance of Political Socialization


Political Socialization

Political socialization is a lifelong process by which people form their ideas about politics and acquire political values. The family, educational system, peer groups, and the mass media all play a role. While family and school are important early in life, what our peers think and what we read in the newspaper and see on television have more influence on our political attitudes as adults. 


Political socialization is the “study of the developmental processes by which people of all ages and adolescents acquire political cognition, attitudes, and behaviors”. It refers to a learning process by which norms and behavior acceptable to a well running political system are transmitted from one generation to another. It is through the performance of this function that individuals are inducted into the political culture and their orientations towards political objects are formed.


Political socialization can be defined as a process of socializing in a political system through information on political symbols, institutions and procedures and internalizing the value system and ideology supporting the system. It is also a process of acquisition of political culture.


This process works at individual as well as at community level through cultural transmission. It is one of the most important functions of the political system. It is also part of the general socialization which starts at the later life.


The process of acquiring political values and attitudes is called political socialization, which occurs throughout our lifetimes as we come into contact with other people. The groups that teach and expose us to political ideas and values are known as agents of political socialization. And coincidently, the same groups that teach us about the world in general are the same groups that teach us about the world of politics.


Political socialization is a concept concerning the "study of the developmental processes by which children and adolescents acquire political cognition, attitudes and behaviours". It refers to a learning process by which norms and behaviour acceptable to a well running political system are transmitted from one generation to another. It is through the performance of this function individuals are inducted into the political culture and their orientations towards political objects are formed.


According to Almond and Powell “Political socialization is the process by which political cultures are maintained and changed” Easton and Dennis defined political socialization as “Those development process by which acquires political orientation and pattern of behavior”. Allan R Ball defines “Political socialization as establishment and development of attitudes to beliefs about the political system”


So, We can say that Political socialization is a process by which an individual gets knowledge about the political system, political values and belief. Political socialization helps the individual to acquaint himself with political culture and also to change himself according to it.






Characteristics of Political Socialization

§    Political socialization is a process.

§    Link and familair people with political orientation and pattern of behavior.

§    It draws the development of attitude.

§    Political socialization is Universal Process.

§    Political Socialization is a continuous process.

§    Political Socialization can be guided to a particular Direction.

§    Political socialization can be manifest or laden.

§    The Political socialization is both, formal and informal.

§    With the process of political socialization political culture passes on from one generation to another.

§    Political socialization differ from state to state.

So at last we can say that political socialization is a learning process by which individuals are trained to become well-functioning members of a political community.





Types of Political Socialization

There are mainly two types of political socialization.

1.           Direct or manifesto: In this types includes political information, values, feeling and their extension. In it the political ideology is considered superior everywhere in family, in educational institutional institution and in society.

2.           Indirect or non-manifesto: It works in the following three modes…..

3.           Transference: in this type of indirect and non-manifest political socialization, the values and thoughts of a person or persons are transferred to other person or persons.

4.           Apprenticeship: This includes learning of the habits and behavior favorable to political activities.

5.           Generalization: This process of the indirect or non- manifest political socialization works for generalization to reach from social values to political aims.

6.           Primitive Political socialization

7.           Modern Political socialization






Factors/Agents of Political Socialization 

These Agents of Socialization all influence in one degree or another individual's political opinions: Family, Media, Friends, Teachers, Religion, Race, Gender, Age and Geography. These factors and many others that people are introduced to as they are growing up will affect their political views throughout the rest of their lives. Most political opinion is formed during childhood. Many Political Ideas are passed] down from Parents to young Adults through them expressing their beliefs.


The agents a child surrounds him/she with during childhood is crucial to the child's development of future voting behaviours. Some of these agents include:

1.    Family: Glass (1986) recognizes family as a primary influence in the development of a child’s political orientation, mainly due to constant relationship between parents and child.

2.    Schools: Most influential of all agents, after the family, due to the child's extended exposure to a variety of political beliefs, such as friends and teachers, both respected sources of information for students.

3.    Peer group: It is a group of people approximately of the age, sharing similar problems. Peer groups become increasingly important influence on political attitude and behaviour.

4.    Mass Media: Becker (1975) argues that the media functions as a medium of political information to adolescents and young children.

5.    Religion: Religious tradition can have a strong effect on someone's political views. For example, Protestants tend to be more conservative (in countries where Protestants are not great majority).

6.    Political Parties: Scholars such as Campbell (1960) note that political parties have very little direct influence on a child due to a contrast of social factors such as age, context, power, etc.

7.    Employment experience: Political orientation is shaped through participation in unions, collective bargaining, demonstrations and other forms of decision making. Informal groups of employee exert influence on the attitude of their members towards political objects and events.

8.    Symbols: Symbols are also play an effective role in political socialization. The observation of birth days or martyrdom days of national heroes like Mahatma Gandhi, Sub hash Chandra Bose etc. inculcates a new spirit among the youths and they begin to work for the nation.


Function of Political Socialization





 The functions of political socialization are given below……
§  The main function of political socialization is the transmission of political values from one generation to another.

§  Political socialization shape and transmits a nation’s political culture
§   It maintains, transforms and sometimes creates the political culture of a people
§  Political socialization introduces values, norms and orientations in the minds of individuals
§  Sometimes, a country which has just won its independence may try to find a new political system for itself and create a new political culture for itself and maintain the same
§  The process of political socialization goes on throughout the life of the individual. 
§  Political socialization is the modification of political culture





Importance of the Political Socialization

§   It brings enlightenment among the people.

§   It brings efficiency in the working of the political system.

§   Provide legitimacy to political system.

§   Helpful in the formation of the political culture.

§   Helpful in maintaining political culture.

§   It prepare the people for political roles.

§   Provide link between political system and social system.

§   Provides knowledge about the political matters.

§   Provide stability to political system.

In order to properly understand the politics of a country we must endeavour to understand the process of the political socialization of that country. The process of political socialization also contributes in the evolution, modification and orientation of political culture in a society.




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