SOC 2010 Lecture Notes - Harold Garfinkel, Total Institution, George Herbert Mead
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Socialization is the lifelong process of social interaction through which people acquire personality and
learn the way of life of their society. Socialization is the way that individuals develop their humanity and
- Personality refers to the fairly stable patterns of thought, feeling, and action typical of an individual.
- The Way of Life of a Society refers to the appropriate norms, role behavior, values, and language of a
society – that is, culture.
• Studies of nonhuman primates and young children demonstrate the permanently damaging effects of
social isolation and reveal that social experience is essential to human development.
• Agents of Socialization refer to those significant individuals, people, or groups that affect our self-
concept, attitudes, and orientations to life.
Agents of socialization include:
- The Family
- The Workplace
- The School
- The Peer Group
- The Mass Media
- Day Care
• The influence of specific agents of socialization varies through the life course.
The Development of Self
• Self refers to the ability to see ourselves “from the outside,” to interpret how others see us, and to
project ourselves into the past, the future, and into various, present situations in life.
•Charles Horton Cooley argued that our sense of self develops from interaction with others. He coined
the term looking-glass self to describe the process by which a sense of self develops.
Elements of the Looking-Glass Self:
– We imagine how we appear to those around us
– We interpret others’ reactions
– We develop a self-concept
• George Herbert Mead focused on taking the role of the other (i.e., to put oneself in someone else’s
shoes; to understand how someone else feels and thinks and thus anticipating how that person will act)
as central to the development of the self.