6 Functions of Political Socialization in a State


6 Functions of Political Socialization in a State

Our discussion so far, about political socialization clearly suggests that political socialization performs certain roles in the socio political development and continuity of a nation. Some of these functions shall be discussed in this post.

Table of Content

By the time you learn the content in this post, you shall be able to:

(a) Understand the various functions of political socialization

(b) Appreciate the reasons political socialization should be deliberately encouraged in the society.


What is Political Socialization?  

Political socialization is the process of transferring knowledge, beliefs, attitudes and general dispositions about politics from one generation to the other. It accumulates almost unconsciously through citizens and people’s interactions with social institutions such as the family, the religious houses, the schools, the tertiary institutions, the media, and political parties and so on.

These institutions through which people are socialized into political values are called agencies of political socialization. Social scientists, especially those favorably disposed towards social learning theories; believe strongly that whatever a man behaves like in the society and its politics- from activism to its other extreme of apathy- is primarily a function of how he or she was socialized by these agencies.


Analysis and various Functions of Political Socialization

1. Intergenerational Transmission of Political Values: Political socialization assists every society in preserving political culture across time. It also helps to inculcate political values and orientation in people. This is the function we call intergenerational transmission of political norms, and, by extension, values, symbols and ideas. For instance, a person who attends the university, majors in engineering and later gets employment in an engineering firm may not at all understand the workings of law making and recall except he or she witnessed it at eh level of students union which the school as an agent of political socialization offers.

In an increasingly complicated world where politics is fast becoming everyone’s business even though we do not all major in politics, agents of socialization serves the purpose of transmitting political values and norms from one generation to the other, and this helps in ensuring stability in the society.

2. Stability of Polity: By virtue of performing the foregoing function of intergenerational transmission of values and inculcation of political culture, political socialization helps to maintain continuity and stability in the society. Such stability is needed to advance the course of the society from all walks of life. To the extent that political socialization is a means of role-training therefore, it, at any time equips the members of a society with the basic skills necessary for political participation or the performance of important political roles.

3. Creation of Hegemonic Order: Political socialization helps the society to create hegemonic order. Every political environment needs hegemony to stabilize and develop, hegemony being a subtle, non-coerced assimilation of how things are done in a society. Political socialization helps a society to foster this, and every member of the society needs only little push or coercion to obey the law and promote good values.

5. National Discipline Political socialization makes it easy to ensure some degree of discipline among members of a political community. In other words, political socialization curbs or controls disruptive political behaviour by ensuring that members of a society behave in a manner that is socially acceptable to the majority of the people, and especially the hegemonic class.

6. Political socialization assists in promotion of patriotism and nationalism. People, who learn the political values, believe and orientations of their people and hand the same down from one generation to the other tend to become obsessed with it. They see themselves as being embedded in such values and ideas and are often willing to defend and promote it at any time necessary. This is called patriotism, and it is useful for the domestic and international aura of a state.

Conclusion on 6 Functions of Political Socialization

Political socialization performs some functions in the polity. These functions are basically for continuity and stability, and they affect not only the political, but also the economic and social strata of a political community.

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