The modem political scientists introduce the reader to the study of politics and accept it as the hub of political activity. Ordinary use equates politics with party politics and politicians with party politicians, engaged in the politics of their respective parties born out of disagreement on the policies and programmes each party owns and propagates and, therefore, they conflict on the issues. As a result, politics emphases disagreement and here is the rub. Disagreement, which is so prominent in party politics correctly identifies a basic quality of politics in its wider sense. It then follows that men have diverse views, interests and characteristics, they differ in their views on the nature of man and his role in the world have conflicting interests as young and old employer and employee, rich and poor, and also differ psychologically being cautious or impetuous timid and brave and so on . This variety of human kind, in so far as it is reflected in disagreement provides the basis for politics. Disagreement though a necessary condition for politics, is not a sufficient condition of order is also required. If politics is not to disappear into chaos or civil war there needs to be both recognized limits to disagreement and the measure of agreement necessary to maintain order. The existence of this order is reflected in that collection of institutions and behavior patterns which together make up the political community. Political situations arise out of disagreement within an ordered community. The resolution of the conflicts which emerge will depend upon the distribution of influence within the community and the efficiency with which those with influence use their resources. Time and again the advocates of incompatible policies will confront each Other. There will be influence clashes. The influence employed may involve the use of rewards or punishments. But whatever form it takes, the relative influence of the groups and the response to the conflict by other groups, including the government, will decide the out come will decide Who gets What, When and How. The passage from disagreement to policy is determined by the influence exerted. The importance of influence in the policy-making process accounts for descriptions of politics as the shaping and sharing of such influence. Political activity, then, is the activity which occurs in an ordered community and by which disagreements are resolved and translated into policy. Such authoritative decisions reflect divergences of beliefs, interests and influence within the community. The student of politics is concerned with the activity which leads to those decisions with the institutions within which the activity is carried on and the goals towards the attainment of which the decisions are directed. Politics may be found in a variety of associations or groups. Where men are banded together because there is agreement and, therefore, order and consequent continuity, and where they have disagreements which are subsequently resolved into policy which is applied on behalf of the group then, politics exists in that collection of men and women. This is so whether the group be a club, a trades union, a country or an international organization To express it in proper terminology, politics can be looked at as on three levels State intro-State and inter-State. We are all to some extent involved at some level,many of us at more than one, and the importance of the levels varies for the individual. The State level of politics has traditionally been given pride of place, as it has the monopoly of regulating the use of legitimate force within the territory, and some students of Political Science consider it as the only even. State politics includes the activities of general and local State organizations so that State politics in India includes what is called national and regional governments including local governments in their respective territorial limits.
Study of Politics:
Political activities in any particular time and place reflect the values, beliefs and attitudes which are currently held in that society Traditionally the study of political values rivets on what eight to be the political structure and what goals ought to be sought and it has been the customary field of all political philosophers. A modern political philosopher will concern himself, no doubt, with the study of the great thinkers of the past -but in this process he will minutely examine and analyze such value words as justice, rights, freedom and supplement them by the study of values as political facts. His field is, therefore, comprehensive as he examines simultaneously the empirical aspect of such values and their validity in the present context To express it in concrete terms, while students of politics remain interested in the historical formulations of arguments that we ought to obey laws because we have consented to it by participating in the choice of the government, and analyze the nature of consent in all its aspects, an endeavor is also made to discover now to what extent consent as defined is in fact a value subscribed to in a particular society and what consequences of political behavior follow from the acceptance of the value. That is there is increasing importance attached to the political setting the political values and attitudes which together make political culture. Separated, rather than divorced, from the study of political values is the study of political -institutions. Till very recently, the study of Political Science primarily centered around the legislatures, the executives and judiciaries, the institutions for making, carrying and interpreting law. As the study of Political Science developed, other areas-political parties, interest and other permanent groups and the media of communication-were included in the scope of the subject. All this entailed the study of facts and their actual performance. For example, what is the procedure followed when a bill becomes law and what is the system by which the rulers are chosen and how judges are appointed ? Such a study includes consideration of values for the political institutions reflect, in varying degree, the values of the present and the past. As a consequence, the political institutions are themselves evaluated to see to what extent theory and practice diverge. Recently, emphasis has been placed on the study of what is called political behavior. This approach, which is not restricted to declared behaviorists, concentrates on the a behavior of individuals and groups within political institutions. The intention is to get behind the formal structures in order to know how actually the actors behave in the realm of politics. It is the study of the inside story’ in the actual-processes of politics. This branch of political studies relating to the behavior of man owes a great deal to students of other social sciences, especially Sociology, who brought with them not only a difference of approach, and new ideas, but also propagated a more scientific study of politics. Though the distinction has been made here between three types of political inquiry, they are interrelated, No single approach by itself can solve the riddles of politics. Political activities reflect values and other qualities of the political culture another concept of modern innovation. They occur in institutions which reflect values and behavior of the past and provide the arena for current activities which are the behavior of individuals within institutions.
We have mentioned in the preceding paragraph the danger of viewing politics as isolated home other human activities and on the corresponding need for cooperation from the students of many fields towards increasing man knowledge of political systems in general. A political system is an aspect of the social system, and political activity and study is a special category of social activity and study. The boundary of politics is often not clear so that for example, actions of trades union leaders may sometimes be included in politics and sometimes not. The same is true of activities in areas more often thought of as economic, cultural and so on. For the purpose of analysis the political system may be separated from economic and other systems but in practice: the study of one system remains lopsided if not aided by other areas of the social system When a traditionalist attempts to establish relationship of Political Science with other social sciences and concludes that the knowledge gained by any phase of human behavior and attitudes about the institutions that men build, or the ideas to which they respond in , the mass, cannot fail to be of use in similar fields of inquiry, he is really emphasizing the relevance of the social system in which each social science supplements and fortifies the rest. Friedrich gives a simple but matter-of-fact definition of a system. He says When several parts that are distinct and different from each other, compose a whole leaving a defined functional relation to each other which establishes a mutual dependence of these parts upon each other so that the destruction of one entails the destruction of the whole, then such a constellation is called a system.
Hitherto the study of Political Science had primarily hinged upon the State, government and the institutional framework. The analysis was, thus, limited by legal and institutional meanings and the realities of politics were not taken cognizance of. The concept of a political system is a new way of looking at the political phenomena and its analysis in all aspects, Its study includes all the interactions which affect the use of or threat of use of legitimate physical coercion. The political system includes not only governmental institutions such as legislative, court and administrative agencies, but all structures such as kinship ties and caste groupings and atomic phenomena such as associations, riots and demonstrations as well as formal organizations like parties and media of communication. Robert Dahl’s definition is succinct He says, “A political system is a persistent pattern of human relationships, that involves to a significant extent power, rule or authority.” A political system as such embraces interactions between formal and informal sociopolitical and legal institutions in a given society having its multidimensional impact including the environment. The student of Political Science must, therefore, be aware of the environment in which the political system is set, particularly the social setting.
The basic assumption of a political system is that it is a Variety of the social system and the study of one system cannot yield meaningful results without reference to other areas of the social system It means that the various systems constituting the social system are interdependent. By interdependence is meant that when the properties of one component in a social system change, there is a chain reaction and all other components and the system as a whole are affected. To repeat a familiar example, when the rings an automobile wear away, the motor car burns oil, the functioning of the other parts of the machine or system deteriorates, and the power of the vehicle declines. To put it in the words of Almond and Powell when one variable in a system changes in magnitude and quality, others are subjected to strains and are transformed, the system changes its pattern of performance, or the unruly component is disciplined by regulatory mechanism. The emergence of political parties with their network of separate organization and the mass media of communication, like the press, the radio and the television, significantly changed the performance of the structures of a political system and the capabilities (that is, the way it performs as a unit in its environment) of the system in its domestic and foreign environments. Three characteristics of a political system will be thus obvious. The first is comprehensiveness, meaning thereby that a political system does not only consist of the legal structure (legislative, executive and judiciary) or even political parties, pressure and interest groups and the media of communication, but it also includes all the social structures as kinship, lineage,religion, caste and status groups as well as the economic phenomena, revolutions, riots and terrorism, a new phenomenon With its national and international ramifications. The second characteristic is interdependence, and it obviously flows from the first. As said earlier, if one component of the whole system changes, it has its impact on other components of the system and, as such,on the system as a whole, though the extent may not be the same in proportion on all the components of the system. The third is the independent boundaries of all the component parts of the social system. Almond and Powell explain that the boundaries of a political system are subject to large fluctuations in different environments. During the war-time the boundaries become extended as the entire social structure is to be geared up to meet the exigencies of War and to win it too. The Punjab crisis and the activities of the terrorists during the first six years necessitated arming the executive with unprecedented powers to contain terrorism and restore conditions of normalcy.The disturbed conditions had also paralyses the economy of the state, and created conditions of uncertainty for one particular religious community resulting into some families of that community to migrate to other parts of the country disturbing the social structure of the Punjab and its cultural values. Similarly of course not to the same extent, the boundaries again are changed on the day of elections, general or mid-term, as the voters become politicians for a day. With the return of normal conditions the‘ boundaries of a political System contract.
Any given political process takes place in a unique environment. A given political unit has a physical location. It will be of a particular size as determined by its territorial boundaries and with a given terrain and climate. All such characteristics will affect the political activity that occurs there. The political importance of the physical setting is uncertain, but some consequence there will be if only by affecting the size of the population and the ease of communication and thereby the relative strength and coordination Of that population compared to other political units.
The politics of a particular community is also affected by its economy, which may be basically agricultural or industrial or, more generally, a mixture of the two. The economy may provide a mere subsistence or plenty even verging on superfluity India has a mixed economy, though percent of the population is dependent, directly or indirect on agriculture. The total wealth of the country is most unevenly distributed and 37 percent of the total population live under poverty line. In Switzerland, there is no poor and in Canada there is superfluity. A particular economy will create particular possibilities. In a country with basically agricultural economy the population will be predominantly rural leading a corporate life with family as the pivot of loyalty. On the other hand, in a highly individualist and urbanized economy it would just be the reverse. Because of the development in the means of transport and communication men of diverse customs, habits, beliefs and languages would come together in larger units, become accustomed to close proximity and thereby develop wider allegiances.
The social relations which develop in a particular place and which are related to the methods of producing goods and services, provide a social setting for political activity. A society may be one in which all the members, may be of the same race, subscribe to similar religious beliefs and in which disparities of wealth and social status are small. Another society may be multi-racial, have many religious groups, and show marked caste, class and social distinctions India being such a society. In the former, decision taking may be simple whereas in the latter the conflict potential is much greater and its politics may, consequently, be more acrimonious and decision-taking result home the interaction of numerous clearly defined groups. Whatever the social environment, the relationships existing in non-political spheres may be expected to carry over into the political There is, thus, a continuous interaction between the physical, social and political. The physical setting both affects and IS affected by the social as the social and political also affect both each other and the physical situation.
The individuals who make up a society in which a political system is set may be categorized according to race, wealth, economic ideology and even religion, but really. there is more to the setting than what -is often termed the social structure. In the social system there exists 3le the culture of the Society .The individual members of the society will have certain values, beliefs and emotional attitudes which make up the culture the community of which political attitudes are a part Such social behavior has its basis in the culture of a society and, similarly, political behavior has its basis in the political culture.
A political culture is a pattern of individual values, beliefs and emotional attitudes. Individual notions of what IS right or wrong, good and bad in political affairs, together make up the value patter-the pattern of norms, of what it is considered ought to be. Closely linked with such values will be the beliefs about what it really is, that is of what exists in the world of politics. The values and beliefs of an individual are such that his emotions are aroused in the realm of politics. Such political emotions sustain values and ‘ beliefs and are evoked by symbols.
If a political culture were merely the individual writ large, then one might speak of a completely homogeneous culture. However, it is more it is a unique pattern of values and beliefs and emotional attitudes of a collection of individuals. In the modern world, while in some countries the degree of cultural differences is relatively small, differences will, no doubt, be found Such heterogeneity of a political culture rests in differences between the political culture of groups and m differences between individuals. Where the differences between a group and the whole are substantial, there is a political sub-culture. In some countries the military form just such a group, in others the political culture of the bureaucracy, the parliamentarians, an extremist party, a particular race, Caste, class or religion may provide a political sub-culture. In any individual case one, few or many subcultures may exist. India IS a notable example of many sub-cultures and her unity is born out of this diversity. A political sub-culture most likely to be found is that of rulers and the governed. Within the group of rulers there may be many who retain important elements of the political culture of the mass, but those Who exercise vast influence are found, in general, to vary from the many in their orientation to politics. To take the example of India, again, there exists in common parlance the congress culture.
The important political values and beliefs of a society are those which concern the political arrangements as a whole particular institutions and policies of how they are produced and the place of the individual within the political Process At the general level, the value placed by members on the total political unit-the nation in a nation-State is especially significant. The value placed on the overall political unit and, other units, such as the tribe, the region even the village is reflected in a hierarchy of loyalties and depending on the placing of units in the hierarchy, nationalism or particular ism will predominate. In modern industrial communities individuals now commonly identify with the nation. Nevertheless, strong intro-national loyalties are to be found even in developed countries as, for example, in Belgium and Canada. They are more intense in India. After independence of the country in 1947, regionalism reasserted itself more vigorously and today particular ism is the norm, universalism is the exception.Recently, it has been coupled with fundamentalism which is really a disturbing phenomenon.
Political beliefs are symbolized is every society. Certain of these symbols and symbolic activities are obvious enough The flag, singing of national anthem,Republic and Independence Day celebrations and martyrdom of Gandhi, father of the Indian nation, draw attention to national identity and reinforce it. In long established nation-States the function of such symbols, for example the public display of the constitutional document and recitation of its contents by schoolchildren in the United States or the opening of the British Parliament by the Monarch, is to sustain the commitment to the nation. In newly independent counties such symbols may need to be created and manipulated to produce allegiance or strengthen it where it is weak. There is no difficulty in providing examples of symbols appropriate for all levels of political values and beliefs. Their number is evidence of their importance and their ability to survive.
Political culture is not static. Its characteristics may change as a result of the import of alien ideas, industrialization, the impact of new leaders population changes and many other factors. The continuity of the culture, even in the face of such occurrences, is a sign of the protectiveness of the process by which political culture is passed from generation to generation the process of political socialization.
Political socialization is the process by which the values, beliefs and emotions of a political culture are passed on to succeeding generations. The process starts at an early age and continuities throughout life. The institutions of family, school, church, work groups, political party and so on being its agencies and they together go to cement the cultural heritage. Of these, the family is the first in order of time and in order of Importance, in directing the outcome.
The family is the most natural and the least formal institution. It constitutes the earliest environment of man and exercises a great formative influence on him. While offering to its members a natural and comfortable shelter within the available insane it introduces them very easily to the wider aspects of social life. It is in the family that the , child learns attitudes towards others, including those in authority, both inside and outside the family. He learns to differentiate between himself and others and to ascertain actions and persons more highly than others, The contribution of the family in the whole process of socialization of the individual will depend, among other things, on the extent to which the family differentiates itself from others, for example, a black family in a white community, the degree of mobility in that society and the valuation of family by loyalty within the culture.
Next to the family ts the school which sharpens the intellect to understand the implications of the values and beliefs. But the outcome of the early schooling also varies. It will clearly differ according to whether or not the school system is governmental, denominational or public, highly centralized and uniform and the extent to which educators encourage a questioning attitude to the knowledge transferred. In denominational institutions and in societies as in Pakistan and other Islamic countries where religion and politics are inseparable, political socialization moves in one direction and it is highly indoctrinated and, therefore, not conducive for the value of direct citizenship or civics education.
The outcome of the process will reflect the impact upon the individual of his peer group;a friendly group more or less of the same age-group sharing similar problems. Under pressures within this group and as a result of higher education and or employment he will come to have more or less standard expectations of how he and others will behave in political situations. He may be of a group which is traditionally expected to go into politics as others might be expected to follow the family trade or profession. Alternatively, he may be of a group which traditionally ‘keeps out of politics. From whichever group he comes he will have political expectations which will include a level of participation, an attitude to political change and an attitude towards the influence structure. In developed countries, like the United States and Sweden, remarks James S. Coleman, “The socializing influence of parents and teachers begins to decrease in early adolescence and from their Peer groups exercise increasingly important influences on political attitudes and behavior And as a person still grows older, other influences as necessitated by circumstances and prevailing conditions and environment create their impact which is more enduring.
Two other important agencies that contribute to the process of political socialization are the political party and the mass media. A political party is a free association of men, organized for promoting by their collective effort particular set of principles and polities calculated to further the interest of the nation. The party has become a vital instrument of molding and shaping public opinion,whose tone is largely determined by the character, intelligence and integrity of the party leaders. A party holds together and thrives by such psychological forces as those of sympathy, imitation, competition and pugnacity. The parties keep the political issues alive each party explaining its own point of view through various channels of communication at its command. By their discussion and propaganda they mobilize political action and offer a choice to the electors to select their rulers and their program me. Trust is the key word in political culture and the response to particular pro e will reflect the amount of trust that exists for a patty within the political realm Disagreement about values is an obvious source of political conflict and sides are readily taken on all such issues. As a consequence of ordering of competing men and measures the political parties create and open lines of communication between governors and governed, through which government may govern more effectively, oppositions oppose and the many react
Free discussion of public affairs from the platform, the press and other media, which are numerous in complex societies whether pluralistic or totalitarian, is a vital process in the mobilization of political socialization, for it is through these agencies that issues are presented, discussed in their various aspects and public opinion is formed. A free press is a fearless press and Lippmann attached so much importance to the daily press that he called it the “bible of democracy an epitome of citizenship. Similarly, the radio, the television and the cinema are effective media of educating the people in public affairs and, thereby stirring their sense of political socialization, provided the opinion they shape is net manufactured. Where the mass media are a monopoly controlled by the State, public opinion is largely what it is made to be Such conditions are not conducive to the development of political socialization.