SOCI 1002 E
Foundations of Sociology
Week 5: Socialization and Social Interaction
• Socialization: a lifelong process of learning culture (including norms, beliefs, values,
o Teenage/young adult years
o Adult years
o Senior years
• Roles: behaviour expected of a person occupying a particular position in society.
• The self: consists of your ideas and attitudes about who you are. Formation of self
beings in childhood and continues.
• Cooley: looking-glass self (Ex: how others treat us, see us, think of you…)
• Mead: I (individual impulses, self as subject) and Me (generalized other, self as object)
• Goffman: Multiple selves (Ex: can’t answer the question “who you are” unless you
answer the question “in which context”)
• Gender socialization: process where individuals learn to become feminine and
masculine according to expectations current in their society. Expectations about gender
changes over time.
• Gilligan: demonstrated sociological factors to help explain the differences in sense of self
that boys and girls usually develop. Attributed differences in moral development of boys
and girls to different culture standards.
• Agents of Socialization:
o Families: primary socialization (process of mastering basic skills required to
function in society during childhood).
o Schools: secondary socialization (outside the family after childhood). Conflict
theorists suggest schools impart a hidden curriculum that teaches students what
will be expected of them in larger society once they graduate. o Hidden curriculum: helps sustain overall structure of society, with its privileges
o Peer groups: individuals who are not necessarily friends but who are about same
age and similar status. Influential over lifestyle issues, appearance, dating etc.
o Status: recognized social position an individual can occupy.
o Mass media: includes television, radio, movies, internet, magazines, books,
o Used to engage in self-socialization.
o Other agents: religious institutions, athletic teams, youth groups, work place,
Resocialization and Total Institutions
• Resocialization: takes place when powerful socializing agents deliberately cause rapid
change in people’s values, roles, and self-conception (sometimes against their will).
• Total institutions: settings in which people are isolated from larger society and under
strict control and constant supervision of a specialized staff (e.g. asylums, prisons).
• People’s identities change faster and more often because of factors like globalization,
technology innovations and the internet.
• Social interaction: process where people respond to other people. The foundation for all
relationships and groups in society. Structured around statues, roles and norms.
• Social structure: stable pattern of social relationships that exists within a particular group
• Status: each person occupies many statuses (Ex: occupation, partner, employee,
son/daughter, brother/sister, etc).
• People occupy statuses, they perform roles.
• Norms: generally accepted ways of doing things. • Prescriptive norms: suggests what a person is expected to do while performing a
• Proscriptive norms: suggest what a person is expected not to do while performing a
• Norms often influence us without us noticing, they are often taken-for-granted practices
and habits we do not pay attention until someone breaks them/questions them.
• Norms are NOT universal and often change over time.
• How social structure is maintained is one of the most fundamental questions sociologists
are interested in.
• Social institutions: a set of organized beliefs and rules that establish how a society will