Relationship Between Political Socialization And Political Culture Sociology Essay

Modified: 1st Jan 2015
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This paper has sought to identify the relationship between political socialization and political culture. We have succeeded in establishing that the way a child is socialized, and the environment definitely impacts on his political culture. It is a widely known and accepted fact that man is a social creature and his identity and culture are formed in the society from which he develops and almost all of his activities and functions are directed through the society; there are few human activities which are not affected by community.

Topic: Define the concepts political culture and political socialization. How would political scientists describe the connection between political socialization and political culture?

The term Political Culture means the attitudes, feelings, ideas, and values that people have about politics, government, and their own role, and more generally about authority in all its various forms (Munroe, 1985). Political culture has further been referred to as the beliefs, habits, behavioural patterns, values and overall distinguishing attributes that make up and characterize a political community. A political culture is the way in which the individuals within the social setting view their political system, the way in which they perceive it to function and the level of acceptance that pervades as a result.

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The political culture of a people is more than just their collective opinions, it is the way in which they choose to live as a result of their political beliefs, and it is the measure of what they are willing to accept, it guides they general thinking of a people (politically) and is somewhat steady in nature; i.e. the beliefs of the parents would more than likely be passed on to their offspring.

Though the culture may be the same within in a society this does not in any way mean that the people would agree on the same issues or that what may be important to one individual would be important to another, it simply means that the way in which they choose to approach and deal with these issues would be in essence quite similar. Political culture usually means that they people have basically the same level of awareness of their rights, obligations and expectations as citizens.

One must bear in mind also that Political culture varies from one country to another simply because the beliefs, feelings, attitudes and values of people vary. For example; the political culture of Grenada would be different from that of America or Japan for instance, just as it would vary between those two. One cannot understand the politics of a country without first looking at its political culture (Munroe, 1985).

Political Socialization on the other hand is termed as the process whereby society develops attitudes and feelings towards politics in each of its members (Munroe, 1985). This basically means that political socialization is the process by which political culture is developed and maintained. It is what is taught to the people through their interactions with one another, through the media and through observation. Whereas Political culture deals with the collective, political socialization deals with the individual, it focusses on the upbringing of and interactions of the individual that result in the adherence to and acceptance of the political culture.

Those groups and institutions which contribute to the process of political socialization are known as the agents of socialization. These sources affect the development of political values and attitudes differently, but they all contribute to the individual’s understanding of and orientations toward politics. The primary agents of socialization are those that directly develop specific political orientations such as the family. Whereas, the secondary agents of socialization tend to be less personal and involved in the process of socialization in a more indirect manner such as the media (Wake Forest University, 2006).

Political socialization has two distinguishing levels; these are primary and secondary. Primary socialization takes place through relationships with others, this is usually mostly informal relationships like peer groups, family members, social groups, etc. This form of influence is most often subliminal; the persons are usually unaware that they are being conditioned to think a certain way about their political system, situation and or standing. Individuals develop a basic attitude toward authority and power through this form of socialization and as a result this is what is emanated further in their political views and attitude towards politics.

The secondary level of political socialization is more formal in nature and is found mostly in the wider social network. These range from schools, churches, media, political parties, social groups, etc. The way in which a person reacts to and interacts with their political system is heavily influences by what they hear and observe from others within their society. For example, depending on the religious beliefs of an individual their political views will be affected as such, depending on the influence of their instructors in school they will be affected, the influence of the media is a major factor in the ways an individual views the social system he operates in and so is the case for social groups and the policies and views pushed forth by political parties.

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Another major factor in political socialization is social status/standing; this has a major influence on the way in which a person would choose to deal with social issues, and the way in which they would try to influence policy. Demographics also play an important part in the way people respond to politics as their different situations are affects differently by their political system. A person’s race, gender, age, economic standing, country and education would have a significant effect on what they view as important to them and what they would like to be done for them through their political system.

By looking at both these concepts we can see how they are directly intertwined and co-dependent on each other. Without political culture there would be no political socialization and without political socialization there would be no political culture. They work hand-in-hand to develop a political system in which everyone accepts the basic underworking of the way in which the political machine runs.

Political Socialization forms political culture and political culture influences political socialization. Political socialization is part of the continuous process of social order which is responsible for teaching certain political behaviours to the new members of a society in order to make them think in keeping with the changing political system they are living in (Almond & Verba, 1963). It appears that every society may succeed in maintaining its political culture through the process of political socialization; because by accessing cultural transfer channels of the society, the means to improving those set of values that contribute to the political stability and solidity of a society may be obtained (Verba, Schlozman, & Brady, 1995).

Through political socialization, an individual will take on a particular political personality which leads the individual to accepting a certain role in the framework of the political system. Accordingly, people knowingly adopt a certain status and position in the political structure of the society; a process which is completed by the family, school, mass media, government, political societies, parties, state organizations, local agencies, occupations, etc. (Ulzurrun, 2002).As Almond and Verba view it, political socialization is the process of maintaining or changing political cultures. Through political socialization people enter political culture and their orientations toward political objectives are formed (Almond & Verba, 1963).

This paper has sought to identify the relationship between political socialization and political culture. We have succeeded in establishing that the way a child is socialized, and the environment definitely impacts on his political culture. It is a widely known and accepted fact that man is a social creature and his identity and culture are formed in the society from which he develops and almost all of his activities and functions are directed through the society; there are few human activities which are not affected by community.

Therefore, society is crucial for human beings because it is associated with their survival. In this regard, family plays the most important role in spreading socialization. The type relationship formed in family influences the early stages of children’s life and formation of their personality and thereby prepares them to abide by social norms and rules and to have a successful and effective presence in society.

Parents are the first models for a child whose manner of treating others, conduct, culture, politics, norms and values are all formed in family environment. If a family fails to play its role in this respect, socialization will be impaired right from the start. To sum, one of the most important and effective factors influencing political culture is socializing different political subjects in families.


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