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Sociology (Arts)
Course Code
SOCI 461
Richard Koestner

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Agents of Socialization Families: -the family is the most important agent of primary socializationthe process of mastering the basic skills required to function in society during childhood -the family is a small group w/ frequent face to face interaction, who loves their children and are highly motivated to care for them -this is ideal for teaching children everything from language to their place in this world -also exert an enduring influence over the course of our entire lives -however, the influence of family as a socialization agent has declined over the yrs Schools: -growth of public schools is increasingly responsible for secondary socializationsocialization outside the family after childhood Class, race, and conflict theory: -a hidden curriculum teaches students what will be expected of them in the larger society once they graduate -led to believe that they are evaluated solely on the basis of their performance on impersonal, standardized tests -teaches students punctuality, respect for authority, importance of competition in leading to excellent performance etc. -this was first proposed by conflict theorists The self-fulfilling prophecy: -believing that school does not lead to economic success can act as a self fulfilling prophecyan expectation that helps cause what it predicts Thomas theorem: “situations we define as real become real in their consequences” -teachers can also develop expectations that turn into self-fulfilling prophecies -ex. If a teacher believes that poor children or children from minority groups are likely to do poorly in school, chances are they will Peer groups: -consist of individuals who are not necessarily friends but who are about the same age and of similar status -help children and adolescents separate from family and develop independent sources of identity -often the dominating socializing agent from middle childhood through adolescence -conflicts often erupt from b/w the values promoted by families and those by peer groups -usually only temporary -help integrate young people into their larger society Alder and Alder: studied the system of cliques found in schools -found that they were arranged in a strict hierarchy -therefore, peer groups not only to help adolescents form an independent identity by separating them from their families but also to teach them how to adapt to the ways of their larger society The mass media: -internet is the fastest growing mass medium -TV viewing consumes more of the average Canadian’s free time than any other activity -heavy users of TV are concentrated among socially disadvantaged groups Self-socialization: -the cultural materials provided by the mass media help young people construct their identities -gives them more say over which media messages will influence them -self-socialization is choosing socialization influences from the wide variety of mass media offerings Gender roles, the mass media, and the feminist approach to socialization: -although people are free to choose socialization influences from the mass media, they choose some more than others (ex. Gender roles) -feminist sociologists say that people learn gender roles partly through the mass media -ex. Fairy tales, hip hop, romance novels -people don’t passively accept such messages about appropriate gender roles -they often interpret them in unique ways and sometimes resist them -for the most part, people try to develop skills that will help them perform gender roles in a conventional way (but conventions change) 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 -an initiation rite signifies the transition from one
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