4.2 Political Socialization

Where do our political beliefs come from? You probably know at least part of the answer to this question before watching this section. Political socialization is the term used to describe the process in which a person takes on political beliefs, and political scientists point to a list of factors that influence those beliefs.

What you need to learn

Where do we get our political beliefs?

political socialization





-civic/religious organizations


Political Socialization

Political socialization is the process by which individuals develop their political beliefs, attitudes, and values. It’s like a puzzle, where various pieces come together to form your understanding of politics. In this chapter, we’ll explore six key influencers on political socialization: family, schools, peers, media, civic/religious organizations, and globalization.

1. Family

Explanation: Your family plays a crucial role in shaping your political beliefs. From a young age, you absorb political information from your family members.

Example: If your parents are active in local politics and frequently discuss political issues at the dinner table, you’re more likely to become politically engaged. Alternatively, if your family leans conservative, you might adopt conservative values.

2. Schools

Explanation: Schools are not just places for academic learning; they also expose you to the world of politics. Civics classes and discussions about current events are part of this influence.

Example: Imagine you have a passionate civics teacher who encourages open debates. This environment can lead you to explore different perspectives and form your own political opinions.

3. Peers

Explanation: Your friends and peers can significantly impact your political beliefs. You tend to discuss and debate politics with them, which can either reinforce your existing views or expose you to new ones.

Example: If your close friends are actively engaged in environmental issues, you might become more environmentally conscious and develop a concern for climate change.

4. Media

Explanation: The media, including news outlets and social media, are powerful influencers on political socialization. They shape public opinion by presenting information in specific ways.

Example: Suppose you follow a news outlet with a particular political bias. Over time, you might adopt some of their views without realizing it.

5. Civic/Religious Organizations

Explanation: Being part of civic or religious organizations can introduce you to political ideas and issues. These groups often advocate for particular causes.

Example: If you’re active in a religious community that emphasizes social justice, you may become more involved in political activism related to those issues.

6. Globalization

Explanation: In our interconnected world, events and ideas from around the globe can influence your political beliefs. Globalization exposes you to international issues.

Example: The rise of social media allows you to connect with people from different countries. Conversations with individuals from diverse backgrounds can broaden your perspective on global politics.