Political behavior


Political behavior is primarily one of the approaches to the study of politics. It is also a field of study in political science so it has an important role it plays in political science. It is also a subsect of human behavior.

     Political behavior is an interdisciplinary concept.


         Political behavior can be defined according to Turana and Tiras in 2017 as “the actions and activities that an individual makes as an autonomous choice and the decision he or she make to influence political decisions makers or those in their possessions.

    According to Elder sveld and katz in 1961, political behavior identify the view of individual as the primary unit of analysis.

      Political behavior can also be defined as the totality of people’s behavior in relations to power and politics.

      Political behavior can also be described or refer to as the study of how people think, feel, act, react to anything politics. It focuses on explaining all that influence the political thought, political perception, political views, political opinions, ideas and orientation of an individual in the political system.

      According to Oxford reference dictionary, it defines it as political behavior can be refer to any kind of involvement in the political process or any activity which has political consequences or implications in relation to government and policy.

   It is instructive to note that political behavior is not only concerned with the study of behavior of people but also the opinions, attitudes, beliefs, values, ethics, creed, and actions, e.t.c that are political relevant.

    Political behavior may be legitimate or illegitimate. Legitimate political behavior is any actions that is legally approved by the government e.g voting.

    Illegitimate political behavior is any action or activities or characters that is contrary to the provision of a constitution of a given state. Many action pr behavior that is not approved by a given state, e.g, violence, riots, violence protest are considered as illegitimate political behavior. So, the following can be described as a from of political behavior: voting, apartheid, peace or violence, bbn protest, demecestrations, campaign, lobbying, boycotting, legitimate program, canvassing and many more are all forms of political behavior, teasting as a social behavior, strike, action, civil unrest, e.t.c. Maintain road blocks, e.t.c are all forms of political behavior. Political behavior is also referred to as behavioralism.


The emergence of behavioralism as an approach in political science dated in 1930 in the United state following the observed short comings of the then existing approaches. After the 2nd world war and on the 1960, behavioralism reddled with controversies. It is important to note that the emergence of behavioralism is linked with the work of prof. Charles Merrian from the university of Chicago in USA, who emphasized importance relevance of examine political behavior of individuals and groups rather than considering how they abide by legal or formal rule.

         The behavioralist approach was innovative because of change the attitude of purpose political enquiry. It also moved toward research that was supported by unverifiable fact.

        In 1908, Graham Wallas, in his book titled human ‘nature in politics’. He said study of politics analyzed institutions and avoid the analyse of man.

    Also, Arthur Bentley said in his book titled ‘The process of government’ politics should be concern with the formal study of the eternal character of governing institutions.

    The two men represented the traditional approach to the study of politics.

Political participation

   According to international encyclopedia of social and behavioral sciences. Political participation refers to voluntary activities undertaking by the mass public to influence public policy either directly or by selections of persons who make policies.

     Similarly, Jan W Van Deth 2021, political participation is defined usely as citizens activities affecting politics.

     According to Milbraith and Goel 1977 defined political participation as those activities or actions of private citizens by which they seek to influence or to support government and politics.

     Verba and Nie 1972, on their own describe political participation as a categorical term for citizens powers they went further to describe political participation as activities by private citizens that are more or less directly focus/targeted/aimed at influencing the selection of government personnel and the actions they take. Political participation is essentially a cardinal principle of accessing the level of democratic practice in a society and therefore describe political participation as a variety or number or plethora of activities through which people develop an express/opinions about their countries.


  1. It is an activity or action that is politically driven
  2. It is voluntary
  3. It concerns government policies

Forms of political participation

  1. Through elections
  2. Political campaigns
  3. Political hearings

Multi various way of participating in politics

  1. Election
  2. Boycott
  3. Public opinion
  4. Demonstration
  5. Public protest
  6. Refusal to pay tax
  7. Hunger strike
  8. Rioting
  9. Lobbying government officials
  10. Petitioning
  11. Vandalizing
  12. Sit at home order
  13. Blogging
  14. Terrorism

Determinant of political participation

  1. Economic status
  2. Level of literacy
  3. Gender
  4. Location
  5. Political party
  6. System of government

Level or typology of political participation

       Leatah Lilbraith 1965 in his book, titled participation “how and why people get involved in politics”. He therefore came with 3 different level of political participation

  1. Spectator
  2. Transitional
  3. Gladiator

Lester was on the view that political acts by citizens goes beyond voting in an election but that participation in politics is patterned into different groups of behavior. I.e what makes mr A to behave in politics may not make mr ab.

Spectator– The spectator level of political participation is the least form of political participation as argued by Libraith. People that belong to this group are in the majority and they only vote during an election. They may or may not belong to any political party but they can canvass for people to vote or join a course of action in the society. If they belong to political party, they are the audience at campaign rally

Transitional: This is a situation where an individual takes active part in the political process such as voting in an election, attending political parties meetings, joining campaign rally, providing financial support for a political party or candidate, seeking for elective positions.

    They serve D a link between spectator and the gladiator. It also serve as a recruitment platform of potentials to the gladiatorial level. Members of this group includes, business typhoons, successful business men (Dangote, Otedola, Adeleke).

Gladiator: This is the peak or the highest level of political participation that any individual in the society can aspire to. After this level, there is no other level. Participation at this level involves contesting for election. Either winning or not, the two candidates can be referred to as Gladiators.

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