What is the Meaning and Nature of Political Socialisation? – Explained!

Meaning and Nature:

The concept of Political Socialisation is very closely related to the concept of Political Culture. The sum total of orientations of the people to political objects and actions constitutes the Political Culture.

The process by which people get their orientations towards political objects, i.e., their Political Culture is called Political Socialisation. D« S.P. Verma writes, “While Political Culture is a psychological concept, political socialisation is a sociological concept.”

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The study of political socialisation involves the study of the process by which people acquire political values, not simply during active political participation, but also in the period before they engage in any explicitly political participation. It is through this process that political culture passes from one generation to the next.

It is through the performance of this function, as Almond and Powell observe, “Individuals are inducted into their Political Culture; their orientations towards political objects are formed; and changes in the patterns of political culture also come about through political socialisation.”

Political Socialisation acts as a means for securing a desired change in the attitudes and perceptions of the people as well as for securing more and more support for the policies of the political system.

When a totalitarian regime revises the account of history in school textbooks, or when a state uses means of mass media for making the people aware of its goals, policies and programmes or when the nation expands the school system, political elites are attempting to shape and control this process (Political Socialisation) of creating political orientations.

The goal of Political Socialisation is, as Robert Sigel writes, “to so train or develop individuals that they may become well-functioning members of the political society.”

Formulation of the Concept of Political Socialisation. The credit for introducing this concept belongs to Herbert H. Ilyman. Following Hyman, several political scientists, prominent among them being Lasswell, Easton, Hass, Almond and Verba, came forward to use this concept for studying various phenomena of politics. In contemporary political studies, the concept of Political Socialisation is increasingly being used for studying such phenomena as political change, political development, political modernisation and changes in Political Culture.