Custom «Political Socialization» Sample Essay
At present, political socialization is a process that allows the community to form political values, beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and ideas about politics that influence people’s behavior in the social sphere (Paletz, Owen, and Cook). It begins in early childhood when children first develop warm feelings towards authorities that appear in fairy tales (for example, a princess). Similarly, when they grow up, they have positive attitudes to elected officials (for example, a president), as well as a reasoned ideology and party identification. Thus, political socialization is a lifelong development process of people’s political attitudes, values, and ideas about politics that first occurs in childhood and continues throughout the whole life.
Political socialization is affected by many different factors like peer and education groups (the school environment), family (the most significant influence), economic and social classes, work, mass media (the way in which people get information about the world) (Paletz, Owen, and Cook). All these factors influence person’s political values. For example, many people consider such groups as ISIS terrorist organizations and a threat to democratic countries, while others may support their cause or even sympathize with them. The U.S. people have been taught that terrorism is bad, while ISIS members consider that their activity is not terrorism, but a Holy War against infidels. On the other hand, if a person is raised by parents with a conservative understanding of politics, their beliefs are likely to impact child’s early political views. These are examples of how political socialization works. It is a result of several factors interacting to produce a person’s belief system. The deepest socialization process is the earliest one. Political self-identification starts from person’s awareness of his/her ethnicity and sex. Layers of socialization occur sequentially, one after another. Thus, the concept of political socialization is the process of the development of political beliefs that influences person’s behavior.
However, there is a critique of the concept of political socialization. Firstly, due to its nature, it cannot tap political beliefs or inculcate any dominant value without person’s awareness of it. Secondly, little research has been conducted on children whose early experiences and the political position of their parents have put them at odds with beliefs of the majority of people in their community. Thirdly, unlike political attitudes, ethnicity and sex are determined genetically. Fourthly, party identification does not necessary lead to political attitudes. Thus, the concept of political socialization has been criticized for being not convincing enough.
Studying the process of political socialization is similar to aiming at a moving target since it changes constantly. It is difficult to predict what kind of a person will emerge as a result of such socialization. To make the latter process more predictable and effective, it needs innovations and improvements in terms of both refined empirical research and the developing theory. Possible suggestions for improvements include dealing with global community members who have shared interests instead of those people who prefer allegiance and national identity, teaching civic skills to a diverse auditory, as well as using advanced technologies to develop people’s beliefs, participation, values, and identities.
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To summarize, political socialization is the process that forms political values, beliefs attitudes, opinions, and ideas about politics. It impacts the behavior of people in the social sphere. Political socialization is affected by many different factors. Several studies have shown that it is not convincing enough. That is why, the concept of political socialization has been criticized. However, opportunities to advance the field are myriad. Suggestions for its improvement include dealing with members of the global community who have shared interests, using advanced technologies, and teaching civic skills to a diverse audience.
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