Political socialization of young children in intractable conflicts: Conception and evidence

Bar-Tal, Daniel; Diamond, Aurel Harrison; Nasie, Meytal
International Journal of Behavioral Development

This article examines the political socialization of young children who live under conditions of intractable conflict. We present four premises: First, we argue that, within the context of intractable conflict, political socialization begins earlier and faster than previously suspected, and is evident among young children. Second, we propose that the agents of political socialization impart narratives of the ethos of conflict and of collective memory in young children that support continuation of the conflict. Third, we maintain that the great majority of the young children form systematic and coherent systems of beliefs, attitudes, and emotions that support the conflict as a result of political socialization and direct exposure to conflict. Finally, we suggest that the conflict-related contents absorbed by children have lasting effects on the solidification of children’s later socio-psychological repertoire. Our arguments highlight the serious consequences of political socialization processes on very young children in societies involved in intractable conflict.