What is Political Socialization? – Definition, Agencies, Process
Meaning of Socialization
As said before, culture is not given at birth, but it has to be acquired over a period of time. The process by which an individual acquires or imbibes the culture of the society or people is known as socialization.
Socialization is, therefore, the means by which the individual acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes that enabled him to fit into the society to which he belongs.
Although socialization takes place primarily in childhood and early adolescence, yet it is a lifelong experience. It is a continuous and dynamic process in which the individual is inducted into the new roles expected of him by society.
Meaning of Political Socialization
Political socialization is a part of the socialization process. It is a process which is designed to infuse in the citizens the values of nationalism, patriotism and absolutely loyalty to the nation state.
In other words, the people have made it to believe and accept, to a deliberate program that the interest of the nation takes precedence over tribal, ethnic, religious or sectional considerations.
Although it is the values of the dominant ruling elites that tend to dominate the process, yet the national interest, however defined is a major consideration.
For example, the defeat of the Arab Nations by Israel in the 1956, 1967 and 1973 wars was often attributed not only to overt western support for the state of Israel but also to the political socialization process which made the Israeli to believe that his own personal survival was tied to the continued existence of the Jewish state.
Thus, political socialization is a deliberate attempt by political regime to change the attitude and orientation of the citizens toward the nation. Similar actions have been taken and still being taken by the Nigerian governments to enforce the values of nationalism and patriotism in Nigerians.
The Ethical Revolution of the Shehu Shagari administration, the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) of the Buhari regime, the War Against Indiscipline and Corruption (WAIC) of the Abacha Military government, the Obasanjo government’s anti-corruption campaign and the establishment of government agencies such as the National Orientation Agencies and the NYSC are typical examples of the efforts by Nigerian government to change the orientation and attitude of Nigerians towards the country.
Many of these policies and programs, though laudable are, however, seen us half-hearted and unserious. Moreover, some of the government’s that introduced these programs do not seem to be motivated by any genuine and altruistic considerations.
For example, the Sanni Abacha regime which foisted the War Against Indiscipline and Corruption in Nigeria was reported to be one of the most corrupt politicians in the history of Nigeria and Africa as evidenced in the billions of US dollars recovered from some of the principal actors of the government.
But more importantly, it is often difficult, if not impossible, for conservative or ultra-conservative regimes that emphasize individualism and capitalist democracy and primitive exploitation of the masses to design a genuine programme of political socialization that would be people oriented.
Agencies of Political Socialisation
A more better, uniqie and completely informed article on agencies of political socialization has been provided. To Read, Click Here ( Agencies of Political Socialization )
The following are the agents of political socialization:
Transmission of knowledge about politics, authority and allocation of values probably starts at home. The child’s knowledge and experience of political activities start at family unit.
The Peer Group
The group one moves with helps to dictate or at least influence one’s political emotion.
Institutions of Learning
Schools, colleges and other educational institutions provide avenue for political talks, debates and discussion which are basic socialising mechanism.
Social / Religious Institutions
Members of social or religious institutions like social clubs, religious centres, associations etc do engage in political arguments and discussions by which members become politically socialized.
The Mass Media
Radio, Television Channels, Newspapers ETC disseminate a lot of political news and also analyse political issues thereby socializing listeners, readers and viewers politically.
They educate their members and other people through their manifesto, campaign, rallies etc thereby stimulating people’s political awareness.
Pressure groups equally dedicated their members and even the public through conferences, seminars etc, especially, in the areas of political and civic rights.