Evaluation Of The Impact Of Political Socialization On Nation Building

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Evaluation Of The Impact Of Political Socialization On Nation Building


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Socialization is “the process by which individuals learn the culture of their society” (Harambos and Holborn, 2000:4). Culture itself is “the totality of learned, socially transmitted customs, knowledge, material objects and behavior. It includes ideas, values and artifacts of groups of people” (Schaefer, 2010:53). Extrapolating from this definition, political socialization refers to “the process of induction into a political system” (Marshall, 1996:400). Ofoeze (2001:13) referred to political socialization inter- alia: …the long development process by which an infant (even adult) citizen learns, imbibes and indeed internalizes the political culture (core political values, beliefs, norms and ideology) of his political system so as to make meaning of the world around him. The implication of the above citation is that political socialization is a process by which political ideas of any given society are internalized and transmitted from one generation to the other. In other words, political socialization is the vehicle through which political culture emerges. Modern use of the concept “political culture” is traceable to the work of Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba (1963) titled “The Civic Culture”. The study represented a classic comparative analysis of political attitude. The essence was to demonstrate how cultural development and political development move in tandem (Marshall 1996). Political Culture, according to Marshall, refers to “the norms, values and symbols that help to legitimize the political power system of a society” (Marshall, 1996:398). McLean and McMillan (2009:400) defined political culture as: The attitudes, beliefs and values, which underpin the operation of a particular political system. These were seen as including knowledge and skill about the operation of the political system, positive and negative feelings towards it, and evaluative judgments about the system. Political culture in the words of Rosenbaun (Cf. Ofoeze, 2001) is defined in two ways, namely, at the levels of individual citizens and at the political system as a whole. On the individual level, political culture is defined as “all the important ways in which a person is subjectively oriented towards the essential elements of the political system”. On the political system as a whole, political culture is referred to as “the collective orientation of a person towards the basic elements of their political system” (Cf. Ofoeze, 2001:16 – 17). The above European Scientific Journal April 2013 edition vol.9, No.11 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e-ISSN 1857-7431 239 definitions emphasized the importance of orientation of members of society towards basic and essential elements of the political system. Thus, positive orientations that generate norms, values, beliefs and attitudes that are supportive of the political power system is basic to political culture. In other words, effective political socialization breeds enduring political culture. In the view of Almond and Bingham (in Ofoeze, 2001), Political socialization performs the following functions: • Shapes and transmits a nation’s political culture. • Maintains society’s political culture from one generation to the other. • Has the capacity to transform the population or part of it, to view and experience politics in different dimensions. • Rapid changes or extraordinary events have the capacity of generating political culture even where none existed (through cultural diffusion). The political socialization process simply entails the inculcation of Members of society’s political culture and the transmission of such from one generation to the next. Thus, individuals, groups or institutions that affect people’s self-concepts, attitudes, behaviors or other orientations are referred to as agents of socialization. Political parties are the major agents of political socialization in modern democratic governance. The political party is defined as: an organized group of citizens of a state with similar views, ideas and ideology which they consider to be fundamental to the political system and good governance. The main purpose of a political party is to contest elective political offices with a view to forming a government. Political parties, apart from carrying on the task of political socialization, also perform the functions of: • Interest articulation • Interest aggregation • Building political culture • Political education • Political leadership recruitment etc European Scientific Journal April 2013 edition vol.9, No.11 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e-ISSN 1857-7431 240 According to Ofoeze (2001), political parties play the role of interest articulation by identifying and selecting from a plethora of and frequently contradictory options.en conflicting and confused mass of problems, opinions, ideas, and interests deemed more pressing, urgent, and critical, analyzing them, thinking and fashioning solutions, and presenting them to the people for consideration in the form of policy optionsPolitical parties perform interest aggregation through the filtering of divergent views and opinions of the people and articulating them in such a manner that they can be presented for consideration as public policy. Another important function of political parties is the use of political socialization and education to build an enduring political culture. In Western advanced democracies, political parties encourage positive orientations that generate norms, values, beliefs and attitudes that are supportive of the political power system. Another crucial function of the political parties according to Ofoeze (2001:25) involves: the identification, screening, selection and discovery of those citizens possessing the relevant leadership abilities and who then are pointed into formal political governmental positions to exercise general political or governmental leadership. These and other functions of the political parties in normal situations, help to create a stable and enduring political system. In Nigerian society, as is the case with most African societies, political socialization is yet to reflect what is obtainable in Western advanced liberal democracies as typified by the United States of America (USA) or Britain. This is against the backdrop of politics. Socialization by political parties has not encouraged public support for basic political structures, institutions and symbols of the political systems. It has also been argued that an appropriate political culture (attitudes, beliefs, values etc.) supportive of Nigeria’s political power system is yet to be evolved. Some have also argued that political parties in Nigerian society have “manifestos” that are not philosophically and ideologically tailored. This phenomenon has resulted in a lack of sense of direction. Consequently, these phenomena are believed to be responsible for the problem of “Nation Building in Nigeria “Nation-building is the process whereby a society of people with diverse origins, histories, languages, cultures and religions come together within the boundaries of a sovereign state with a unified constitutional and legal dispensation a national public education system, an integrated national economy, shared symbols and values, as equals, to work towards eradicating the divisions and injustices of the past; to foster unity; and promote a countrywide conscious sense of being proudly Nigerian, committed to the country and open to the continent and the entire world. Nation-building is a normative concept that means different things to different people. The latest conceptualization is essentially that nation-building programs are those in which dysfunctional or unstable or “failed states” or economies are given assistance in the development of governmental infrastructure, civil society, dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as economic assistance, in order to increase stability. Nation-building generally assumes that someone or something is doing the building intentionally. But it is important to look at the evolution of theories of nation-building and at the other concepts which it has both supplanted and included. Many people believe that nation-building is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, that is takes a long time and is a social process that cannot be jump-started from outside. The evolution of the Italian city-states into a nation, the German city-states into the Zollverein customs union and later a nation, the multiple languages and cultural groups in France into the nation of France, the development of China from the warring kingdoms, took a very long time, and were the result, not only of political leadership, but of changes in technology and economic processes (the agricultural and then industrial revolutions), as well as communication, culture and civil society, and many other factors.


1.2 Statement Of Research Problem

Nation-building is the process whereby a society of people with diverse origins, histories, languages, cultures and religions come together within the boundaries of a sovereign state with a unified constitutional and legal dispensation with the emergence of several political parties, political socialization has taken more form as there are lots of people with like mind who have been politically socialized on nation building. however , several factors have contributed to why a lot of citizen are not socially inclined as to nation building. Which are: Unemployment and the dissatisfaction of the electorate with the job opportunities available to them . Plus, a dangerous and toxic political environment that often results in violence which can scare citizens from participating in political action. corruption and mismanagement of government resources

Therefore, the research seeks to address the question; evaluation of the impact of socialization on nation building.


1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The primary objective of this study is to:

  1. To find out if political socialization has influence on political participation.
  2. To find out if good governance influences nation building or political participation.
  3. To find out if political participation can lead to nation building
  4. To find out how to improve political socialization

1.4 Research Questions

  1. Does political socialization have influence on political participation?
  2. What is the impact of good governance on nation building?
  3. How has political participation led to nation building?
  4. How can political socialization be improved on?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The significance of this study cannot be underestimated as:

  1. This study will lay emphasis on general historic knowledge of the emergence of political parties and the impact of political socialization on nation building
  2. The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, political parties, and academia.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

This study intends to evaluate the impact of political socialization on nation building. Hence , Nigeria will be used as a case study.


1.7 Limitations Of The Study

This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:

Just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data

Financial constraint , was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires

Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher


1.8 Operational Definition Of Terms

Impact:

This is the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another

Socialization:

This is the process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society

Nation- Building:

This is the structuring of a national identity using the power of the state.


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Evaluation Of The Impact Of Political Socialization On Nation Building

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