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Political Socialisation

Socialisation refers to the total process of learning how to interact with the other people, and of developing our individual personalities. It is the gradual learning of the norms, attitudes, and behaviour accepted and practiced by the on going political system. Its goal is to train or develop individuals so that they can become well-meaning members of the political society. Political socialisation, therefore, involves learning, teaching, acceptance and transmission of group values and norms.

Agents of Political Socialisation

1. Family:
This can be referred to as the basic unit of socialisation. The early years of a child are very important in the formation of political personality and will also influence the type of identity the child may learn. Usually, parents pass on information about the world that can be accepted or received, and this constitutes basic form of behaviour. For instance, it has been observed that in families where the parents are authoritarian, the offspring often manifest traces of authority. Also, the political make up of the family invariably influences the child’s behaviour in later life, and the type of political outlook he may maintain.

2. Peer Group:
This can be regarded as a form of primary group composed of members who are sharing a relatively equal status as well as maintaining close friendship ties. In the adolescence stage of the childhood life, peer groups become one of the most significant factors in moulding the child’s behaviour. In fact, we can say that at this stage in one’s life the peer group replaces its parents’ or teachers’ significant reference features. The peer group behaviour continues right through the individual’s adult life. Peer groups provide the machinery on how to understand and adjust to changes in the political world.

3. The School:
The formative years between childhood and adolescence are to a large part given to learning the skills and vows that prepare the child for adulthood. Political scientists regard these years as critical for the development of the political values of the State through the training of the individual in schools or colleges.

4. The Mass Media:
The media is often regarded as one major way by which political socialisation can take place. The mass media may include the Radio, Television, Newspaper or Magazines. Information carried through the press is very important for socialisation process is concerned with the logic of a scientific political ideology towards rationalising and fulfilling a particular system of ideas. In the same manner, political values are translated to the child through extra curricular activities like school debates, homage to the national flag, and being exposed to pictures of national leaders. The teacher in this case plays a special role in the society and moulds the character of the youths as regards to political life.

5. The Church or Mosque:
In modern societies, the Church plays a dominant role in the development of a child. Church influence may be positive or negative, depending on the outline of the church with regards to political objects.

6. Political Parties:
These are important vehicle of political education and to a large extent help in the moulding of people’s character. This is usually during the presentation of party manifestoes to the electorate. Political parties therefore, perform very important task of bringing awareness to the grassroots through political enlightenment and bringing the people to play important role in the nation’s political life.