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Socialisation and Social Interaction Lecture and textbook notes (chapter 6) that covers the nature vs. nurture argument in sociology, the development of the self, agents of socialisation, socialisation across the life course and resocialisation.

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Bishop's University
SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Socialisation and Social Interaction January-28-11 6:03 PM To understand what it is to be human is to understand that we are the only organisms who can think about thinking Personality: individual's relatively stable pattern of behaviours and feelings Two approaches to understanding how personalities are developed: biological and environmental o Nature vs. nurture: debate between whether environmental forces or environment define the person we become o Nature side argues that our actions and feelings stem from biological roots; nurture side argues that we are the product of socialisation: process by which we learn culture, develop personalities, and become functioning members of society. Our sense of the world and of ourselves is a result of social interaction: the ways that people interact in social settings while recognising each person's subjective experiences and/or intentions Nature Argument Most behaviour is determined by genetic makeup Men have women have different brain structures which influences how they respond to the world. o Women better at expressing emotions and remembering details of emotional events due to the larger hippocampus o Men have more brain space devoted to sexual drive and larger brain centers for action and aggression Sociobiology: uses evolutionary theory and genetic inheritance to examine biological roots of social behaviour o Began in the 1960's, associated with Konrad Lorenz and Edward O Wilson o Asserts that social behaviour among humans has evolved over time to secure the survival of the species. Attributes that help an individual produce offspring are selected for, and attributes that diminish the ability to produce offspring are selected against. o Also called evolutionary psychology: argues that Darwinian inheritance can explain contemporary human behaviour. Ex. John Patton argues that the Achuar Indians of Ecuador have one the world's highest murder rates because killing is a part of their culture and has been selected for over many years. Being a warrior is the highest status and the best warriors (most likely to survive battle) are considered most attractive and father the greatest number of children. May also be useful in explaining risky behaviour among men; it shows off to women Nurture Argument Most compelling argument on this side: what happens when children are isolated from human contact Effects of social isolation - the case of Anna o When discovered she was unable to walk, talk or do anything that demonstrated basic intellectual capacity (1938) o Could walk, understand simple commands and feed herself after being discovered and worked with for two years o After two more years she learned basic toilet habits and could dress herself. o She died at age ten, and had only progressed to the intellectual capacity of a two and a half year old. Could talk in phrases but never developed a capacity for language Social reality is constructed by people every time they interact with others. Genetic makeup gives us the capacity to be social beings, but it's the process of social interaction that allows us to develop that capacity. Outcomes Socialisation reproduces: o Gender: rejects biological determinism. Our experiences and interactions define our gender. Can see parental reaction to innate differences; different responses to girls and boys; media as a source for gender stereotypes, advertising in particular; imitating gender roles in the environment; o Race: parents shape children's learning about race and relations; attitudes of racial discrimination, usually emphasise promotion of mistrust; o class distinctions; children absorb implications of class in society; Alwin changed the emphasis in child rearing in North America o adult family o work roles Development of Self January-28-11 8:04 PM Self: one's identity, comprising set of learned values and attitudes that develops through social interaction and defines one's self image o Key component of personality. Personality and self join in healthy individuals to produce a sense of uniqueness Self image: introspective composition of various features and attributes that we see ourselves as Sociologists tend to view socialisation as the culmination of a series of predictable stages that people go through that either assist or hinder their adjustment to society around them. Psychologists tend to view socialisation as a process of internal conflict and tension that people must resolve if they are to be happy. C. H. Cooley - How Others See Us Looking glass self: what we think of ourselves is influenced by how we imagine other people see us. To be aware of yourself, you must be aware of society. Shown in the lack of consciousness in feral children Self consciousness and social consciousness are inseparable because people cannot conceive of themselves without reference to others. Therefore the self is a result of social interaction G. H. Mead - Understanding Ourselves Argued that the self is composed of two primary elements: o I: spontaneous, creative, impulsive. Responds to things emotionally.o Me: socialised element of the self, part of the self that regulates behaviour. Controls spontaneous impulses of the "I". Understanding of selves and social environment influenced by those around us. Seen by ways in which we act differently around different people o Investigated how we attribute different levels of importance to those around us. o Significant others: people we want to impress or gain approval from o Generalised other: compilation of attributes associated with the average member of society; represent an individuals appreciation that other members of society behave within socially accepted guidelines and rules. Those in the broader social world that influence our behaviour. Role-taking: assuming the position of another to better understand that person's perspective o Critical to explaining symbolic interactionist view on how we interpret ourselves, other people and the social role. o Critical for empathising with someone else's situation Investigated how we develop a sense of self through social interaction by investigating how children are socialised o Preparatory Stage (birth - 3): first experience with others is to imitate what they see others doing. Aim to please significant others in their lives (usually parents) although they don't understand the meaning behind the interactions. Begin to develop the "I" through positive and negative reinforcement while the "me" forms in the background. o Play Stage (3 - 5): start to assume the roles of others, moving beyond imitation. The "me" continues to grow, children want positive reinforcement from significant others. Language skills develop through this stage and child
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