Political Socialization

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Political socialization

Socialization in childhood has been extensively studied. Children first acquire warm feelings towards authority figures who might appear in fairy stories (such as queens and princesses). Similarly warm feelings to elected officials (presidents, prime ministers) emerge later, party identification later again, and something like a reasoned ideology not until well into the teenage years. The earliest socialization is believed to be the deepest.

Therefore one's awareness of one's sex and ethnicity precedes anything more directly political. Each layer of socialization colours those that come afterwards.

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 (Cooke and Lafferty 52-69). 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.

This essay is aimed to examine one of the agents of political socialisation for the way in which it operates and the effects it may have in Nigeria. Political socialisation is learning process that begins very early and continues all throughout ones life. Through political socialisation people acquire their perceptions and feelings about their political environment. It accounts for both the commonalties and diversities of political life (Ashforth Blake and Saks 149-178). It is an approach to understanding both patterns of similarities and differences in political outlooks among the constituents a given system.  On the other hand political socialisation helps one to understand the development and dissemination of consensus values or common outlooks. Political socialisation is also an approach to understand the differences in political perspective that exist among constituent. 

Political socialisation is a tool for understanding these intranation differences as well as for intranation similarities and intranation differences. In some instances the family may be the most important structure. Political socialisation begins early on in life and is an ongoing process affecting individuals throughout. It is how people eventually identify personal beliefs and expectations. These political views can include our level of patriotism, faith in democratic System, standards by which we hold governing bodies, and opinion regarding public policies from the classroom, the office, to the dinner table. Much of our life affects our political opinions. The most easily identified agents of this are family, schooling, peers, mass media, social parties and religious influences. Furthermore, this means indoctrinate us in the political society through four basic methods, talent, manifest affective and instrumental socialisation.  

Youth in all nations anchor their documents within a basic family frame history. The mode of mention differs in different cultures. But the unquestioned fact remains that the family is the primary social institution in all lands, and clearly in every culture universally. Political socialisation is the process by which individual acquire attitudes, beliefs, and value related to political system of which he is a member and to his own role as a citizen within that political system. More recent analysis, however, has called into question much of the conventional wisdom on the impact of family on political learning. R.W Connell (1972) has raised several mythological question about the research on which this practice rested. Among other things, many studies ...
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