Introduction

Political Socialization* is how people are immersed in the political culture of their nation. Usually this culture is passed from generation to generation through family, education, social groups, and the media. These factors as well as others often contribute to someone either joining a political party which shares their ideas or staying an independent*.

Political Learning

Political Learning* is a concept which describes how people mature and evolve politically. Each person develops a unique political self* as they grow up surrounded by influences. This brings to an individual knowledge and values which help them understand the government, while also giving them a sense of pride to their nation. In the United States, political learning helps each person develop a political self which includes feelings of being American and the values which American society is known for. It also greatly impacts voting behavior of the individual.

Agents of Socialization

Agents of Socialization* are different things which people interact with which affect and develop their political values and beliefs. No single agent of socialization determines someone's entire political identity, as a person's political beliefs are a mixture of what they absorbed from different agents. Agents help explain and decode the political world and offer insight into how the government functions and what one's role is in society. There is no set standard for how political socialization should occur, so most times it happens randomly and informally over time by different agents of socialization.

Types of Agents of Socialization

Family:

As the primary caretaker of a young child, the family quickly instills their values upon the child. The hierarchical* power structure and the strong relationships between family members may cause the children to take aspects of the political identity of the parents and other family members. A person often wishes to please those who raise them, therefore they are often compelled to associate with what the parents believe in.







After watching this video, do you believe you have the same political views as your parents? Is this because of political socialization?

Education:

The average school day starts off with an immediate part of political socialization in the form of a patriotic ritual: the Pledge of Allegiance. The school's responsibility is to teach children how to act in society. They teach basic parts of the American identity such as respect, freedom, and democracy, while also stimulating the political learning process. Schools are partially responsible for molding a person's political self as the fundamentals of American government and politics are taught along with lessons such as compromise and "a fair more perfect union." Through college, ideas are debated and exchanged, allowing each person to see a whole new view on issues which they may not see anywhere else.
How has your education affected your politcal self? Which classes do you think affected you the most?
How has your education affected your politcal self? Which classes do you think affected you the most?

Social Group:

Young people desire to be liked by others in their friend group, school, sports team, etc. Hanging around with people of the same maturity level fosters a sense of belonging, and to not go with the crowd could be seen as being a "loser". A person's political identity is greatly shaped as people tend to adopt political aspects which are supported by those from whom they seek approval. The peer pressure to conform to society is especially key in shaping one's personal identity, however people tend to gravitate towards those who share similar opinions and values.

Media:

The age of mass media has played a great role in shaping the views and political identities of Americans. The media offers a link to the government which the average citizen rarely has. Interactive media experiences often occur in solitude, where no human source can interrupt as one analyzing the issues presented in the newspaper, on the news, or online. By reading or watching information about politics, one gains insight on their political self. However, while mass media helps bring the average citizen face-to-face with the issues at hand, news reports are rarely free of bias. Media outlets must balance public service and their desire to make money.
There's a direct correlation from one's upbringing and their political self. What factors may have contributed to this individual's opinion?
There's a direct correlation from one's upbringing and their political self. What factors may have contributed to this individual's opinion?

Other Factors:

Gender, marital status, religion, level of education, social class, race, and ethnicity all play a role in how a person develops their political self.
Each of these different aspects of a person has a different effect on the political socialization of an individual. For example, political values can be picked up at churches, mosques, and temples.

Vocab:

*Political Socializaiton:
How people are immersed in the political culture of their nation
*Political Learning:
Concept which describes how people mature and evolve politically
*Political Self:
A person's unique view and knowledge of politics
*Agent of Socialization:
Things which people interact with which affect and develop their political values and beliefs
*Hierarchical:
A system of power in which individuals rank higher and lower than each other.

Section Review: Multiple Choice

1. Which does not affect how a person develops their political self?

a. Religion
b. Family
c. Favorite color
d. Race

2. What are agents of socialization?
a. Things which people interact with which affect and develop their political values and beliefs
b. Things which teach politics
c. Government workers who socialize about how politics is affecting the nation
d. Concept which describes how people mature and evolve politically

3. What does Political Socialization affect?
a. Sexuality
b. Religion
c. Social group
d. Marriage

Section Review: Essay

1. What factors have affected your political self the most? Explain why?
2. How does mass media affect the political culture of society?

See also:

http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=IIUmc4ZTTPkC&oi=fnd&pg=PA56&dq=political+socialization&ots=gHaFFMrH6W&sig=Bj6j7tpcm4pYe_qVzmuItWUIoVA#v=onepage&q=political%20socialization&f=false - Has this book enhanced your view on how political socialization affects your daily life?

http://poq.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/2/164.abstract - How does the media affect the political self of children?

http://poq.oxfordjournals.org/content/50/1/76.abstract - How does mass communication and mass media affect how teenagers view politics?

Works Cited:

Colby, Anne. "The Place of Political Learning in College." Peer Review. Association of American Colleges and Universities, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2012. <http://www.aacu.org/peerreview/pr-spsu08/pr-spsu08_Colby.cfm>.

"Political Socialization." Political Socialization. Sauk Valley Community College, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2012. <http://www.svcc.edu/academics/classes/edlemap/gov163/Chapter7PublicOpinion/sld001.htm>.

Richer, Stephen. "Gay Marriage Will Go a Long Way in Helping Democrats Get 40 More Years." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 09 May 2012. Web. 08 Oct. 2012. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/stephenricher/2012/05/09/gay-marriage-will-go-a-long-way-in-helping-democrats-get-40-more-years/>.


Welcome to the Town of Cheshire. N.d. Photograph. Cheshire, CT. Cheshire. Town of Cheshire. Web. 14 Oct. 2012. <http://www.cheshirect.org/>.


Made by: Jon Hauser, Tyler Wright, and Alex Bausch (editor)