What is Political Socialization?

Nature, Types, Agents and Importance of Political Socialization

Meaning of Political Socialization

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

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Political socialization is the "study of the developmental processes by which people of all ages 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. Through the performance of this function, individuals are inducted into the political culture, and their orientations towards political objects are formed.

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

This process works at an individual and community level through cultural transmission. It is one of the most essential functions of the political system. It is also part of general socialization, which starts in later life. Acquiring political values and attitudes is called political socialization, which occurs throughout our lifetimes as we contact 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 concerned" ng the "study of the developmental processes by which children and adolescents acquire political cognition, attitudes and be "saviours". 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. 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 learns about the political system, political values and beliefs. Political socialization helps the individual acquaint himself with political culture and change himself according to it.


Characteristics of Political Socialization

  1. Political socialization is a process.
  2. Link and familiar people with political orientation and pattern of behaviour.
  3. It draws the development of attitude.
  4. Political socialization is Universal Process.
  5. Political Socialization is a continuous process.
  6. Political Socialization can be guided in a particular direction.
  7. Political socialization can be manifest or laden.
  8. Political socialization is both formal and informal.
  9. With political socialization, political culture passes on from one generation to another.
  10. Political socialization differs from state to state. 

Sowe 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 manifesto: This type includes political information, values, feelings, and extension. The political ideology is considered superior everywhere in family, in an institutional educational institution and in society.

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

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

b. Apprenticeship: This includes learning the habits and behaviour favourable to political activities.

c.  Generalization: This indirect or non-manifest political socialization process process process process works for generalization to reach from social values to political  ims.

3. Primitive Political socialization

4. Modern Political socialization


Factors/Agents of Political Socialization

These Agents of Socialization influence to one degree or individual's political opinions: Family, Media, Friends, Teachers, Religion, Race, Gender, Age and Ge graphy. These factors and many others that people are introduced to as they grow up will affect their political views throughout the rest of thei  lives. Most political opinion is formed during ch ldhood. Many Political Ideas are passed] down from Parents to young adults by expressing their beliefs.

The agents a child surrounds them with during childhood are crucial in developing future voting beh viours. Some of these agents include:

  1. Family: Glass (1986) recognizes the family as a primary influence in developing a child's political orientation, mainly due to the constant relationship between parents and child.
  2. Schools: Most influential of all agents, after the family, due to the child's extended exposure to various political beliefs, such as friends and teachers, both respected sources of information for students.
  3. Peer group: It is a group of approximately age who sharear p approximate age who shareeasingly important influence on political attitude and behaviour.
  4. Mass Media: Becker (1975) argues that the media functions as a medium of political information for adolescents and young children.
  5. Religion: Religious tradition can have a strong of someone's political views.  or example, Protestants tend to be more conservative (in countries where Protestants are not a 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.  nformal groups of employees influence the attitude of their members towards political objects and events.
  8. Symbols: Symbols also play an influential role in political socialization.  he observation of birthdays 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.


Functions of Political Socialization

The functions of political socialization are given below:-

  1. The primary function of political socialization is to transmit political values from one generation to another.
  2. Political socialization shapes and nation's political culture
  3. It maintains, transforms and sometimes creates the political culture of a people
  4. Political socialization introduces values, norms and orientations in the minds of individuals
  5. Sometimes, a country that 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
  6. The process of political socialization goes on throughout the life of the individual. 
  7. Political socialization is the modification of political culture


Importance of the Political Socialization

  1. It brings enlightenment to the people.
  2. It brings efficiency to the working of the political system.
  3. Provide legitimacy to the political system.
  4. Helpful in the formation of the political culture.
  5. Helpful in maintaining political culture.
  6. It prepares the people for political roles.
  7. Provide the link between the political system and the social system.
  8. Provides knowledge about the political matters
  9. Provide stability to the political system.

To properly understand the politics of a country, we must endeavour to understand the process of the political socializat on of that country.  he method of political socialization also contributes to the evolution, modification and orientation of political culture in a society.


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