Political Socialisation is the process of learning through which people of a political system learn their values, beliefs, orientations and attitudes towards politics.
Fred I. Greenstein has described the nature of political socialisation as “all political learning, formal and informal, deliberate and unplanned at every stage of life cycle, including not only explicitly political learning but also nominally non-political learning that affects political behaviour, such as, learning of politically relevant social attitudes and the acquisition of politically relevant personality characteristics. It is the process by which an individual becomes acquainted with the political system and which determines his reactions to political phenomena.”
The following can be described as the features of political socialisation:
(1) Political Socialisation is a process of learning.
(2) It involves formal as well as informal and deliberate and unplanned learning.
(3) It is through Political Socialisation that an individual is inducted into the political culture.
(4) It involves the transmission of values and beliefs of the political culture by one generation to the next.
(5) Political Culture is maintained and changed through political socialisation. The values, beliefs and orientations towards political objects and actions are transmitted as well as changed by this process.
(6) Political Socialisation is a lifelong learning process but its pace and role keeps on changing from time to time. The process goes on continuously throughout the life of the individual.
(7) Political Socialisation is a source, both of stability and change.
(8) Political Socialisation provides the necessary knowledge and incentive for individual’s participation in politics. Politically socialised individuals come forward to accept different roles in the political system.
(9) In nature, Political Socialisation is similar to, in fact, a part of the process of socialisation which is always at work in every society.
(10) Finally, Political Socialisation is an extremely important process by which individuals become involved in the activities of the political system. The nature and level of political participation of the individuals depend to a large extent upon the nature and efficiency of the process of political socialisation.
Jobrol B. Manheim lists four fundamentals of Political Socialization:
(i) Political Socialisation is basically a sub-set of general teaching-learning process and, as such, abstracts from that process only those elements which have relevance in politics;
(ii) The fruits of Political Socialisation are aggregation and interaction and it is an on-going process;
(iii) The process of Political Socialisation is comprehensive, it encompasses all phenomena which are even remotely associated with political learning; and
(iv) Every individual represents a more or less unique combination of socialising experiences.