Sociological Explanation Of the Role of Vitual Social networks in Political Socialization

Document Type : Original Article


1 Free researcher

2 Profesoor of sociology of tehran university


Political socialization means adapting and communicating with society and mostly refers to how a person adapts to society and culture since his birth. One of the important dimensions of socialization that is considered by governments is political socialization, which emphasizes the process of passing on the norms and behaviors of the established political system from one generation to another. In the process of political socialization, the goal is to increase individual and organizational productivity and enrichment in political society. one of these factors that play a role in people's socialization is Mass media. Nowadays, with the advent and expansion of the Internet and virtual social networks, a fundamental transformation has taken place in the process of political socialization. On the one hand, people in the community are faced with numerous and endless resources of information and communication, and on the other hand, they are freely involved in this field and produce content. Indeed, political systems attempt to transform and institutionalize official political culture for the people of the community. But with the advent of electronic media and the expansion of the use of virtual social networks, this equation has been confused. This trend has the greatest impact on young people, as young people are the most commonly used virtual social networks, as well as they are in one of the most sensitive periods of their political socialization life. Thus, the process of political socialization associated with virtual social networks may contradict the formal process of institutionalized political socialization, and then there are various instabilities for a community, that causes disorder and disruption of the functions of the existing political system. Therefore, it is important to examine the effect of factors affecting the political socialization of youth.
Theoretical background:
The theoretical framework is a compilation framework derived from the theories of Giddens, Almond and Paul, Manuel Castells, Isabelle Ang and Elliott Katz, Harold Lasswell, Charles Wright, McCoyle, Robert Putnam, and Tickler. Because Almond has not been able to explain the impact of the new media on political socialization, we combined this theory with the Giddens theory to explain political socialization.
 And then, the theory of Isabelle Ang and Elliott Katz's theory of user activation in social networks and the theory of the community network of Manuel Castells has also entered a theoretical framework. In order to explain media trust, Putnam's social capital theory has been used, and the theory of communicational communication has been considered to explain the type and extent of the use of virtual networks. Finally, Tickler's theory has been used to explain the impact of the socio-economic base on political socialization.
The present research method is based on the nature of quantitative data in terms of collecting time as a survey research. Multi-stage random sampling method is used. The sample size is calculated using the Cochran formula of 458 people. The questionnaires are completed by researchers. According to the results of this study, Cronbach's alpha coefficient is higher than 0.75. Therefore, it can be said that the questionnaire of this research has a desirable reliability.
Research procedure:
Multiple regression results show that the active user variable, media trust, the amount and history of using networks were significant at 99%, while variables such as media availability and The socio-economic Status has not been meaningful.
The results show that the greatest influence of independent variables on active user was (0.412), media trust (184), usage rate (0.174) and history of use (0.077). But the variables of the socio-economic status and the variable of media availability were not meaningful.
 In general, it can be concluded that the user activation variable and the rate of use of virtual social networks have the most effect and history of using virtual social networks, which has had the least effect on the variable of political socialization.
The findings of the research indicate that with the formation and expansion of virtual social networks, individuals are producing content as free political actors, and their values and attitudes are influenced by this space. In other words, they are influenced by cyberspace and contributing to the production of the content of this space, which is the creation of multisite production and circulation of information. This trend has transformed the process of political socialization and has challenged it. Thus, according to the results of this study, virtual social networks act to form informal socialization.
Therefore, it is suggested that in order to defend the official political culture of the country, the use of virtual media will be partly planned and carefully introduced to users. It also suggests other things such as: created a team to produce content tailored to the values and norms of the country, strengthening native social networks, aligning organizations and related organizations and reducing parallel work, reducing the cost of sending and receiving data on the use of native social networks, the technical strengthening of native social networks and the increase of technical capacity in such virtual networks and, finally, the protection of domestic ideas, theoretical and applied researches of universities and research institutes and their linkage to related organizations.


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