SOC100H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Symbolic Interactionism, Body Image, Feral Child
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Lecture 3 - Socialization
January 29, 2013
How do we Learn Culture?
We are socialized into our culture and into our society through our interactions with
others. It is a process which begins in childhood and is ongoing throughout our life.
Socialization is how we interact with other people in society and what we learn through
these interactions. So it is from the symbolic interactionism perspective.
We are a product of society and our interactions with others.
We have different roles in different cultures. Through these roles we have an awareness
The idea of socialization is that we develop a sense of self in relation to our world and
through the people we interact with.
Ex. Research on interactions with babies: Had one baby, and had two outfits for it. One
pink dress so people think it's a girl and one blue shirt for people to think it's a boy. They
observed how random adults who didn't know the gender of the baby interacted with it.
When the baby was wearing the dress, people assumed it was a girl, so they handled her
delicately and talked 'baby language' to her. When the baby was changed into the blue
shirt, people assumed it was a boy and played rough with it and talked in their normal
voices. This shows gender socialization. What it means to be a boy or girl. The idea of
being masculine and feminine.
Ex. Toys R Us: A little boy picked up a doll and started playing with it affectionately. His
father looked horrified that he would play with a girl's toy, and told him to choose
something else. The child is learning what it means to be a boy, and the difference
between boy and girl toys through his father. The father is thinking about the norms and
behaviours for the boy. Men are said to not be nurturing etc.
Ex. Toys R Us: The girls section has many pink toys in neat aisles, while the boys aisle is
'messier' on purpose, has lots of blue toys, things thrown in bins etc. Small hints about
Ex. Feral children: Are raised in the wild because they were isolated from society at a
young age. Found a boy in the 19th century in southern France and called him Victor. He
lived in the jungle, know as a wild child. Was taken in by a psychologist to be observed
and studied for his behaviour. He wasn't able to talk or communicate properly with
humans, wouldn't wear proper clothes or eat the food prepared for him. He walked on all
fours, remaining wild and uncontrollable. He understood some things but they weren't
able to get any answers for him so they stopped the study and left him in an institution.
Another girl in the 90's was found. She was raised by dogs so acted as one.
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