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					Political Socialization - The Macro Process

Diffuse support is critical to the maintenance and stability of the
 political system
A political system must be able to generate or create diffuse
 support
How?   -coercion or force
       -manipulation of values/propaganda (hegemonic theory)
       -socialization (systems theory)

Systems theory argues that values in support of the political
 system are transferred through a generational process,
 wherein the family teaches values that will allow the child to
 succeed in society. These values are reinforced by other
 important agents of the socialization process.
Political Socialization - The Macro Process [cont’d]

Agents of socialization:
• parental family
  1. direct value transfer [values having a direct political context]: party id,
  policy ideals
  2. indirect value transfer [values having an indirect political context]:
          conformity, respect for authority figures, competition for rewards,
          gender roles, moral values, religious values, self-reliance, work
  ethic, thrift, other economic values, etc. [these may vary according to race,
          ethnicity, socioeconomic class, etc.]

• schools and the educational system
  1. direct value transfer: curriculum (idealized forms), texts, pledge of
          allegiance, etc.
  2. indirect value transfer: conformity, respect for authority, competition for
          rewards, democratic decision-making, citizenship, etc. [these may
          vary according to the clientele of the school]
• peer groups
Political Socialization - The Micro Process


In order for the political system to convert specific demands
 in public policy outputs, it must have support. The political
 system must be able to generate and sustain support if it is
 to remain stable. Perhaps the most important way to
 accomplish this objective is to instill favorable attitudes in
 people toward the symbols of the system. This process
 may be overt and orchestrated as hegemonic theory
 suggests or it may be a natural, generational process as
 systems theory argues.
Political Socialization - The Micro Process [cont’d.]

Through the processes of socialization we learn about our culture - its
 norms, traditions, values, and acceptable patterns of behavior. Political
 socialization is the process in which each of us learns about the
 political culture -that is, political norms, traditions, values, and
 acceptable patterns of political behavior. Through political socialization,
 people acquire attitudes and orientations toward the politics of their
 societies. Socialization is important because it usually teaches values
 and norms that support the system. If it is successful [at a “macro” or
 systems-wide level] it produces the broad, diffuse support that is critical
 to the stability of the political system. Socialization also [at a “micro” or
 individual level] is the process whereby each member of society comes
 to form his or her own specific set of political attitudes, values, beliefs,
 orientations, and opinions. Therefore, while the socialization process
 has some basic similarities for all members of society, there may be
 variations on the process for particular groups or sectors of society and
 for individuals.
Political Socialization - The Micro Process [cont’d.]

There are three major phases of the socialization process :
 childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. While socialization
 takes place throughout a person’s lifetime, some phases are
 critically important in shaping socialization at both the “macro”
 and “micro” levels. The primacy principle argues that the
 values that we learn earliest in life are the ones that form the
 core of our value systems when we become adults. For most of
 us, these values remain with us throughout our entire lives. The
 structuring principle means that the values that we learn
 earliest in life help us “structure” or assimilate new and
 ,sometimes, competing information into our existing value
 systems. These two corollary principles suggest that childhood,
 even very early childhood, is critical in the process of successful
 political socialization. They also imply that the most important
 agent of the political socialization process is the parental family.

				
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posted:1/27/2012
language:English
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