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Political Socialization

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Political Socialization The process in how a person forms their political ideals and values by taking in what is around them. People are politically socialized by different agents of socialization. These agents include a person’s family, the media, where they have received their education, their peers, religion, faith, geography, age, and gender. This definition holds true in America and in different countries as well.. Everyone is politically socialized in some manner. The importance of age in the process of political socialization is rather important. Young or old, the ideals of how the government is seen by someone has a direct effect on what their age is. The agent of age is unique because some agents of political socialization turn into factors of age in political socialization. These factors include family, school, media, and religion.
Why do young people older citizens’ majority of the time seem to have different political outlook from each other? Anja Neundorf gives a three part answer to contribute a reason to this question. The first part of an answer to why older and younger people differ in political views states “So-called age effects refer to changes that are associated with basic biological processes or progression through the life-cycle as social roles change with age or as the accumulation of social experience increases” (Neundorf 2). In other words as an individual gets older their behavior changes according to where they are in the life cycle. Political socialization under age directly depends on behavior as well. Secondly “observed attitudes or behavior might be thought of as a function of the current political, economic, or societal situation and idiosyncratic events that produce fluctuations over time and affect all age groups simultaneously” (Neundorf 2). This explains the life cycle answer but puts it into the perspective of where an individual is at in their life alongside what is happening political in the world around them. An example is younger people usually would not care about any policies that cater to social security while people further along in their lifetime find that more important to them politically. The third part to Neundorf’s answer is “Thirdly, citizens might differ in their political attitudes because of different socialization experiences which manifest themselves in their belief systems” (Neuendorf 3). Examples of this is how individuals have been socialized by political events that have happened in their early childhood. Political socialization is highly dependent on age. Age is one of the main reasons people develop their political ideas. This is true for the citizens in America, as well as China. Age and political socialization go hand in hand in every country, but there are some subtle differences in how politics is viewed by people young and those further along in their life cycle. In America, with younger citizens political socialization is important to teachers. Teachers hold a vital part in teaching their students about politics, and depending on how they teach their students can sway those young students to grow up with certain political ideas. The school teaches, or is supposed to teach, what the government says to teach. The curriculum in schools is under governmental guidance. This is prevalent in both China and America, both countries like to “praise” their own governments. Though both countries like to give their respected countries a pat on the back, china does theirs a little differently, “For example, China takes great pains to indoctrinate its young people with the appropriate political and social views. Such activities by the state can serve to lessen the impact of traditional political socialization agents” (Mayer 394). This explains that teachers in China are the people who socialize students more than the parents of the students. In America, parents are usually more involved with socializing their children with their political ideas, instead of the teachers. The government in China has done a decent job at maintain a cycle of; the curriculum is guided by the government, the teachers teach the curriculum, the teachers and the curriculum politically socialize the students. America has its ways of maintaining a similar cycle, but parents do their job in socializing their children. Parents are older and further along in their life cycle so their children usually follow in the political values their parents hold because they do not know much else. The governments of these two countries (America, and China) is important to how the age groups in the countries see the government. China is a communist nation while the United States of America is a Democracy. These different governments is under the reginal agent of political socialization, but the region plays a large part in age. Older citizens in America, are more susceptible to have their political thoughts change over the years because America is constantly changing law and presidents who have political socialization of their own. Americans who have seen the likes of Ronald Regan, George Bush, and Obama, may have very well changed some of their ideals because of the events during these presidencies. However, in China this is not the same for China. China’s government has not experienced the constant change that America has so the older citizens in China maintain the same political views that they were socialized too as children. Political Socialization is the reason for many of people’s political views. Some of these views have been maintained since being younger, and some have been established as citizens gain more knowledge as their older. Age is an important part in being the reasons for people’s political views in America, China, and everywhere else.

Works Cited

Mayer, Jeremy D., and Heather M. Schmidt. "Gendered Political Socialization in Four Contexts: Political Interest and Values among Junior High School Students in China, Japan, Mexico, and the United States." The Social Science Journal 41.3 (2004): 393-407. Web.
Neundorf, Anja, and Richard G. Niemi. "Beyond Political Socialization: New Approaches to Age, Period, Cohort Analysis." Electoral Studies 33 (2014): 1-6. Web.

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