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Chapter 3-What is Socialization Oct 1 2008

Course Code
Sheldon Ungar

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What is Socialization?
y Socialization: the social process whereby they undergo such development through interacting
w/ the people around them
y Learn how to act and interact appropriately w/ others, to become a competent and effective
member of society
y Develop a self, a sense of individual identity that allows us to understand ourselves and
differentiate ourselves from others
y Primary Socialization: crucial learning process that occurs in childhood and makes us
members of society
y Secondary Socialization: learning to be a student, husband/wife, parent, learning a job etc-
happens after primary socialization
Nature vs. Nurture
y Although natural differences exist among ppl, such differences explain very little about social
behaviour or how society is organized
y Humans behaviour is a outcome of biological factors, and the debate over whether nature
(biological inheritance) or nurture (the social environment) that is more important in shaping
our beliefs and behaviours
y Intelligence= hereditary? Genetic?
y We are not born human
y We become human through the process of social interaction
y Ex: Anna abandoned and kept in isolation long-term; cared for only enough to make it by
y When discovered at age of 6; unable to walk, feed herself, talk, or respond to others
y As she was cared for she began to make slow progress, but was terminally damaged for life-
permanent disabilities
y At age 8- at development level of two year old, at 10- just began to show signs of using
y Survival of lack of interaction at early years= incapability of becoming fully competent active
members of society
y Ex: orphanage vs. Prison babies
y Prison babies got interact with mothers during first years of birth, while orphans had limited
y Orphanage babies were healthy at beginning, but after 2 year: all physically and socially
y Socialization is essential for= physical/mental wellbeing
The Self and Socialization
y Where does our sense of self come from?
y Individuals develop and modify a sense of who they are- their sense of self- and found that
self-image greatly depends on socialization
y Differentiation occurs gradually as newborn learns to see its mother as a separate person
Two Early Theorists
Charles Horton Cooley
y Look-Glass Self: gestures and reactions of others are mirror or ³looking glass´ in which we
see ourselves
y Just as we look in the mirror to see a reflection of our physical body, we look to others to see
a reflection of our psychological and social self
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y Depending on our expectations about ourselves physically, so too are conceptions about
ourselves socially- our feelings about who and what we are- organized around our evaluation
of how we believe ourselves to be judged by others
y Without social mirror there can be no sense of self
y Group involvement/ communication w/ others
y Significant Others: parents, who are central important to the individual in the development of
the self
y Primary Group: small group; intimate face-to-face isolation and cooperation
y Structure and content of ones self is derived from society- which rep by the groups and
significant others surrounding the individual
George Herbert Mead
y Symbolic Interactionism
y Did not assume that socialization consists largely of learning to con form to the rest of
society, rather he saw socialization as an active process in which individuals play a crucial
role in their own development
y Ability to communicate, symbolic communications
y Symbols are gestures, objects, sounds, that stand for something else and whose meaning
depends on shared understandings
y Dove= Peace
y Human infants first communicate through non-verbal gestures
y Taking the Role of the Other: children are not born with the ability to understand other ppl-
through interaction w/ others, develops an ability to the take the role of another
Three Stages in Taking the Roles of the Other
y Imitative Stage: 2 yrs: children have no real conception of themselves as separate social
beings- when they play they may act out behaviours associated w/ these rules (imitation)
y Play Stage: children begin to adopt the roles of significant others- parent, sports celeb,
storybook hero: play shifts from imitative -> imaginative
y Game Stage: children have developed a generalized impression of the behaviour ppl expect
as well as awareness of their own importance to the group and vice versa
y Generalized Other: a conception of how ppl in general will respond in a situation
The ³Me´ and ³I´
y Me: we are first aware of ourselves as social objects
y I: subjective component of ourselves that allows us to react and to and assess ourselves to
engage in ³internal conversations´- ³why did I do that?´
y I initiating action, and the more reflectively taking the role of the other
y The self is both spontaneous (the I) and conformist (the me)- both active (the I) and
reflective (the me), both experiencing (the I) and experienced (the me)
Williss Application and Extension of Meads theory
y Teens and young adults are still engaged in a process of developing their identity and sense
of self
y As young ppl we tend to be more concerned with our own identity and w/ announcing
ourselves to others
y Social location, class, race, ethnicity, gender,
y Commercialization: cultural industries try to profit from the desire of young ppl to have fun,
express themselves and be up to date
y We are all creative individuals that are trying to transform the world in ways that allow us to
express and control ourselves
y Young ppl take advantage of every opportunity to make the everyday world around them
meaningful- ex: emails, musical taste,
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