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SOCI 210 (61)
Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Socialization

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Sociology (Arts)
SOCI 210
Yasmin Bayer

CHAPTER 4: SOCIALIZATION  Social isolation and the crystallization of self-identity: o The ability to learn culture and become human is only potential, and this potential can’t be realized without socialization, which is the process by which people learn their culture, including norms, values and roles, and become aware of themselves as they interact with others.  Feral children (specifically “the wild boy of Avalon”) are examples because they had no human interaction so were never socialized.  Roles are the behaviour expected of a person occupying a particular position in society.  A study by Rene Spitz on socialization: o Spitz compared babies raised in an orphanage with babies who were raised in a prison nursing home, and the orphans had much less contact with adults because in there were 6 nurses for 45 orphans, but in the prisons the mothers cared for the babies. In the orphanage they would also hang sheets between cribs so the babies couldn’t see each other interacting. The babies in the orphanage didn’t have social stimuli and the social deprivation also caused the orphans being more susceptible to infections and had a higher death rate than the babies in the nursing home had. And by 2-3 years old, all of the nursing home children were walking and talking and only 8% of the orphans were.  The formation of a sense of self continues in adolescence, which is a particularly turbulent period of rapid self-development, but just one episode in the lifelong process of socialization.  Agents of socialization include families, schools, peer groups, and the mass media. These settings teach us how to control out impulses, think of ourselves as members of certain groups, value certain ideals, and perform various roles. But these can give mixed messages and contradict each other.  The self consists of your ideas about attitudes about who you are.  Theories of childhood socialization: o Freud:  He said that infants demand instant gratification but being denied helps them for a self-image, and then it begins to realize it’s needs are different from its parents and it has an existence independence of others. Because of these lessons, children develop a sense of what is appropriate behaviour and then a person conscience crystallizes. He said only social interaction allows the self to emerge. o Cooley’s symbolic interactionism:  Cooley introduced the idea of the “looking glass self.” When we interact, people gesture and react to us, which allows us to imagine how we appear to them. We then develop a self-concept or set of feelings on who we are. An example is when a teacher evaluates students negatively, they develop a negative idea of themselves and then they do worse in school. o Mead:  The I, according to Mead, is the subjective and impulsive aspect of the self that is present from birth. The me, according to Mead, is the objective component of the self that emerges as people communicate symbolically and learn to take role of the other.  Mead’s Four Stages of Development: Role taking: 1. Children learn language and other symbols from their significant others (people who play important roles in the early socialization experiences of children). 2. Children pretend to be others (playing house, playing doctor) 3. (About age 7) Children play complex games where they take the roles of many people at once. 4. They take the role of the generalized other (is a person’s image of cultural standards and how they apply to him or her). Ex. An individual may understand that using the cultural standards, people generally regard him or her as funny, intelligent, etc. o Gender Differences:  Carol Gilligan’s research shows how differences in the sense of self between girls and boys. Parents and teachers pass on cultural standards to boys and girls—adult authorities usually define the ideal girl as eager to please and non-assertive, and girls learn this lesson as they mature, and girls tend to have lower self-esteem. o Cultural Differences:  Ex. In Ancient China (because of complex cooperative irrigation needs) there was emphasis on harmony, cooperation and social order, whereas in Ancient Greece (where there was individual small scale herding and fishing) it was more politically decentralized, and they focused on discrete categories instead of the whole system clearly society plays a major role in shaping how we think and the way we think of ourselves.  How Socialization works: o A Social environment is composed of the real or imagined others to whom individuals must adapt to satisfy their own needs and interests. Every person needs to adapt to their social environment, and adaptation is the process of changing one’s actions to maximize the degree to which an environment satisfies one’s needs and interests. o Different types of people with different characteristics emerge from this because different families and different teachers have different expectations you need to adapt to. o Socialization is an evolutionary process—a person acts on the basic of their existing characteristics, then the environment responds positively or negatively to the person’s actions, and lastly the environment response shapes the individual’s action/behaviour. When environments respond well, they reinforce existing characteristics, and when they respond negatively, change and learning is the result. o In children, they have fewer options for the social environment (because it is just the family). But when they are older and fully socialized, they have more options and are more skilled at getting environments to co- operate, so their personalities are more stable.  Agents of Socialization: o The family is the most important agent of primary socialization, which is the process of acquiring the basic skills needed to function in society during childhood. The family you are born into also exerts an enduring influence over the course of your life (ex. long term effects of a family’s religious atmosphere). But family as the primary socialization was much more pronounced a century ago because they family members were more available for the child (ex. women stayed at home). o Schools are important for secondary socialization, which is socialization outside the family and outside childhood. Academics and vocational subjects are just one part of schooling—there is also a hidden curriculum in school that involves teaching obedience to authority and conformity to cultural norms. In the family, kids are evaluated on personal/emotional criteria, but in school the hidden curriculum leads them to believe they are evaluated on their performance on tests. But in school and the work world, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc. also help determine their success.  Conflict theorists proposed the idea of the hidden curriculum, because many students from disadvantage background struggle with the hidden curriculum. The resistance of people at the bottom of the socioeconomic hierarchy help
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