Political Socialisation

Judith Escuin Checa, Laura Taylor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The process of political socialisation (PS) has been classically defined as the “learning of social patterns corresponding to [an individual’s] societal position as mediated through various agencies of society” (Hyman, 1959, p. 25). Distinguishing PS from other types of socialisation (e.g. ethnic, cultural), this definition still serves as the foundation for the majority of empirical research in this area, despite methodological advances and new attention to previously under researched aspects of PS. As it was assumed that PS was relatively stable throughout life, early research focused on analysing this process during early childhood (Merelman, 1986). However, more recent studies found that ideas and attitudes acquired during childhood change through emerging adulthood due to multiple factors, such as personality, maturation and past experiences (“Beyond Political Socialization,” 2014). Therefore, current research has expanded beyond the effects of the classic socialisation agents (i.e., parents, peers, school) to include other relevant factors such as overarching context and individual cognitive development. Yet, the research to date offers a fragmented perspective of the process with heterogeneous results related to PS outcomes (e.g., voting behaviour, political engagement, identities, intergroup attitudes, prejudice, discrimination, etc.). This fact highlights the need for further research from childhood through emerging adulthood that also considers a wider-range of multiple socialisation agents, the over-arching context, and a greater numbers of outcomes related PS processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Behavior
Number of pages2
Publication statusAccepted - 2016


  • Political socialisation
  • social ecology
  • youth development
  • global conflict


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