The Political Socialization Process in America
Political socialization is a process by which individuals acquire political values and develop political attitudes, orientations and behaviors. It is the lifelong process by which people learn how to participate in politics and acquire the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors that will enable them to function effectively as political actors within the framework of their society's political system.
The purpose of this essay is to critically analyze the political socialization process in America. In particular, it will explore the role of socialization agents, the impact of political knowledge on socialization, and the consequences of political socialization in America.
2. The Political Socialization Process in America
2.1 Socialization Agents
Socialization agents are the institutions and groups that transmit political values and beliefs to individuals. In America, socialization agents include family, schools, mass media, religious institutions and peer groups.
Family is the most important agent of political socialization. Children learn their first lessons about politics from their parents or guardians. Parents serve as role models and teach their children how to participate in politics. For example, they may take them to vote or help them understand the issues that are being voted on. Schools are another important agent of political socialization. In America, schools are required to teach civics and government so that young people can learn about their rights and responsibilities as citizens. Mass media also play a significant role in political socialization by providing information about politics and current affairs. In America, television is the most important source of information about politics. Religious institutions can also be important sources of political values and beliefs. In America, religious leaders often address issues such as abortion, gay marriage and poverty. Peer groups can also influence an individual's political views. For example, people who belong to the same religious or ethnic group may share similar political views.
2. 2 Political Knowledge and Socialization
Political knowledge is defined as "an individual's awareness of and understanding of the formal and informal structures of government and politics" (Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1996). It includes an awareness of such concepts as democracy, citizenship, rights and responsibilities.Political knowledge is an important factor in the political socialization process because it enables individuals to make informed decisions about who to vote for and what policies to support. Individuals with high levels of political knowledge are more likely to participate in politics than those with low levels of political knowledge (Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1996).
3. The Consequences of Political Socialization in America
3.1 The Failure of American Citizens in Politics
One consequence of political socialization in America is the failure of American citizens in politics. Political participation refers to "the activities through which people influence the selection of governmental officials and policies" (Dahl, 1989). It includes activities such as voting, campaigning, protesting and attending demonstrations. Voter turnout is a measure of how many people actually vote in an election relative to the number of people who are eligible to vote (Delli Carpini & Keeter 1996). In general, voter turnout is low in developed countries like America (Delli Carpini & Keeter 1996). In the 2016 presidential election, only about 55% of eligible voters actually voted (Cohn, 2017). This is one of the lowest voter turnout rates in American history. There are a number of reasons why voter turnout is low in America. One reason is that there is a lack of competition in American elections. This is because the two main political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, have a monopoly on power. Another reason is that American elections are held on Tuesdays, which is a workday for most people. This makes it difficult for people to take time off from work to vote. A third reason is that many people are not registered to vote. In order to vote in America, you must first register with your local election authorities. This can be a complicated and time-consuming process.
3. 2 The Lack of Political Knowledge among Americans
Another consequence of political socialization in America is the lack of political knowledge among Americans. As mentioned earlier, political knowledge is defined as "an individual's awareness of and understanding of the formal and informal structures of government and politics" (Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1996). In general, Americans have low levels of political knowledge (Delli Carpini & Keeter 1996). In a study conducted by Delli Carpini and Keeter (1996), only about 40% of Americans could correctly answer basic questions about American politics. For example, less than half of respondents knew who was the Speaker of the House of Representatives at the time of the survey (Delli Carpini & Keeter 1996). Low levels of political knowledge have a number of consequences. One consequence is that it leads to low levels of political participation. If people do not know how their government works or what their rights are, they are less likely to participate in politics. Another consequence is that it makes people more susceptible to manipulation by politicians and the media. If people do not have a good understanding of politics, they can be easily misled by false information or biased reporting.
3. 3 Ethnic Struggle in America
Ethnic struggle is another consequence of political socialization in America. Ethnicity refers to "a shared cultural heritage that includes language, religion, customs and traditions" (Daniels, 2012). In America, there is a long history of conflict between different ethnic groups. The two most important ethnic groups in America are whites and blacks. Blacks have always been at a disadvantage in American society. They were brought to America as slaves and they were subjected to discrimination and segregation even after they were freed. Blacks have always been underrepresented in American politics. This is changing slowly but surely. In 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the first black president of the United States. Although Obama was a symbol of progress for black Americans, there has been very little progress in terms of equality between blacks and whites in America. Black Americans continue to experience discrimination in many areas of life, such as education, employment and housing. They also have lower incomes and wealth than white Americans.
In conclusion, political socialization is a process by which individuals acquire political values and develop political attitudes, orientations and behaviors. It is the lifelong process by which people learn how to participate in politics and acquire the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors that will enable them to function effectively as political actors within the framework of their society's political system. The purpose of this essay was to critically analyze the political socialization process in America. In particular, it explored the role of socialization agents, the impact of political knowledge on socialization, and the consequences of political socialization in America.