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What is political socialization? What are the five agents of political socialization?

Political socialization refers to the process of learning what political behavior and views are accepted within a given society. The five most important agents of political socialization are family, school, peer groups, media, and work. These are the spheres in which people spend much of their time, so they have outsize influence on the way political views develop.

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Socialization refers to the process of learning how to behave in a way that is generally accepted in a given society. Political socialization is the aspect of this process that relates to the way we gain our political views and opinions. There are various agents of socialization, such as family,...

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Socialization refers to the process of learning how to behave in a way that is generally accepted in a given society. Political socialization is the aspect of this process that relates to the way we gain our political views and opinions. There are various agents of socialization, such as family, school, peer groups, media, work and religion.

The other five are of great importance for people all over the world. Political socialization begins in the family and sometimes ends there. Many people simply adopt the politics and voting patterns of their parents. School is important, even when political subjects are not explicitly studied, since students will be influenced by such factors as the study of historical events and the views of their teachers and peers. Media and the peer group are increasingly blended together, because political opinions are discussed on social media. Television and news sources can also shape people's politics, since they largely dictate the ideological background of the news people consume.

Work is a late influence. When a person begins full-time employment, perhaps in his or her early twenties, it is likely to be with political views at least partly formed. However, a vital part of political socialization involves learning the range of views that are normally expressed. Work has a great deal of influence on this. Someone who goes to work in a bank will probably find that Marxist views are not welcome. However, the same views might be perfectly acceptable in the cultural studies department of a university. Whereas far-left views are acceptable in some work environments but not in others, far-right political views (such as Fascism) tend to be unacceptable everywhere. It is part of one's political socialization to learn these distinctions.

Of the six agents of political socialization mentioned above (and various others one might include), religion is probably the least important overall. There are various countries, such as China, in which it simply does not apply at all to politics.

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