Political Socialization Definition

Learn about political socialization, the process of acquiring political beliefs and behaviors. Discover how family, school, peers, media, and government shape political identity.


Political socialization is the process through which individuals acquire the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that shape their political identity and influence their political decisions. It is a lifelong process that begins in childhood and continues throughout adulthood.

Agents of Political Socialization

There are several agents of political socialization that play a key role in shaping an individual’s political identity. These agents include family, school, peers, media, and government.

  • Family: Family is often the first and most influential agent of political socialization. Children learn about politics from their parents and siblings, and family values and beliefs can have a lasting impact on an individual’s political views.
  • School: Schools provide formal education on civics and government, which can influence students’ political attitudes and behaviors. Teachers, textbooks, and curriculum choices can all play a role in shaping students’ political socialization.
  • Peers: Peer groups also play a significant role in political socialization. Friends and colleagues can influence an individual’s political beliefs through discussions, debates, and shared experiences.
  • Media: The media, including television, radio, newspapers, and social media, play a major role in shaping public opinion and political socialization. Media coverage of political events, candidates, and policies can influence how individuals perceive and engage with politics.
  • Government: Government institutions and officials can also influence political socialization through policies, programs, and messaging. For example, government-sponsored education campaigns or public service announcements can shape public attitudes on specific issues.

Examples of Political Socialization

One example of political socialization is how a child learns about voting from their parents. If a child grows up in a family that values civic engagement and participation in elections, they are more likely to develop a strong sense of political efficacy and vote regularly as an adult.

Case Studies

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan found that exposure to political discussions at home and school significantly influenced young people’s political attitudes and behaviors. The study also found that individuals who were more politically engaged in their youth were more likely to participate in politics as adults.

Statistics on Political Socialization

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 83% of adults believe that parents have a major influence on children’s political views. Additionally, 62% of adults believe that schools have a major influence on students’ political views.

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