Chapter 5 – Socialization: Socialization refers to the lifelong learning, through social experience, that
contributes to the development of personality and allows full participation in society.
Culture and Society are macro-level approaches and now we look at micro-level approaches
SOCIAL EXPERIENCE: THE KEY TO OUR HUMANITY
Socialization: the lifelong experience by which people develop their human potential and learn culture.
Personality: a person’s fairly consistent patterns of acting, thinking, and feeling.
It is human nature to nurture.
Human Development: Nature and Nurture
- The Biological Sciences: The Role of Nature
o Darwin – behaviour is instinctive
- The Social Sciences: The Role of Nurture
o John B. Watson, behaviourism – behaviour is learned, not instinctive
- Studies of Non-Human Primates
o Harry and Margaret Harlow, rhesus monkeys
Complete isolation with adequate nutrition = disturbed development
Artificial mother with adequate nutrition = still unable to interact with others in a group
Artificial soft mother = monkeys clung; benefit from closeness
Infant monkeys could recover from about 3 months of isolation; by about 6 months,
isolation cause irreversible emotional and behavioural damage
- Studies of Isolated Children
Progress was made, but 5 years of isolation caused permanent damage
6 years of isolation
intensive learning program directed by psychologists helped significantly
long-term damage, but on her way to a relatively normal life
11 years of isolation
underweight, mental development of a one-year-old
intensive treatment resulted in physical health, but language ability is at a young child
*All evidence points to the crucial importance of social experience in personality development. Human beings
can recover from abuse and short-term isolation. But there is a point – precisely when is unclear from the small
number of cases studied – at which isolation in early childhood causes permanent developmental damage.
Sigmund Freud’s Elements of Personality
Id – the human being’s basic drives
Ego – a person’s conscious efforts to balance innate pleasure-seeking drives with the demands of society.
Superego – the cultural values and norms internalized by an individual
- Basic Human Needs
o At birth: sexual and emotional bonding (eros); death instinct (thanatos); together they create
- Freud’s Model of Personality
o Id – unconscious and demand immediate satisfaction, biology
o Ego – develops as we become aware of ourselves, can’t have everything we want
o Superego – operates as our conscious
- Personality Development o Id-centred: world is bewildering assortment of physical sensations that bring pleasure or pain
o Id and superego remain in conflict; if not resolved, personality disorders may arise
o Culture, in the form of superego, represses selfish demands, forcing people to look beyond their
o Sublimation – redirects selfish drives into socially acceptable behaviour
*In Freud’s time, few people were ready to accept sex as a basic human drive. More recent critics have charged
that Freud’s work presents humans in male terms and devalues women. Freud’s theories are also difficult to
test scientifically. However, Freud influenced everyone who later studied human personality. Of special
importance to sociology are his ideas that we internalize social norms and that childhood experiences have a
lasting impact on our personalities.
Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development
Cognition: how people think and understand
- Sensorimotor Stage
o the level of human development at which individuals experience the world only through their
senses. Ages 0-2
- Pre-operational Stage
o the level of human development at which individuals first use language and other symbols. Ages
- Concrete Operational Stage
o the level of human development at which individuals first see causal connections in their
surroundings. Ages 7-11
- Formal Operational Stage
o the level of human development at which individuals think abstractly and critically. Age 12+
*Freud saw human beings as torn by opposing forces of biology and culture. Piaget saw the mind as active and
creative. He saw an ability to engage the world unfolding in stages as the result of both biological maturation
and social experience. But do people in all societies pass through all four of Piaget’s stages? Living in a
traditional society that changes slowly probably limits a person’s capacity for abstract and critical thought. Even
in North America, perhaps 30% of people never reach the formal operational stage.
Lawrence Kohlberg’s Theory of Development
*Kohlberg’s theory is similar to Piaget’s but Kohlberg focuses on one aspect of cognition: moral reasoning.
Gilligan’s theory is similar to Kohlberg’s, but she focuses on the link between gender and moral reasoning.
- Moral reasoning: how individuals judge situations as right or wrong
o Preconventional Level: young children who experience he world in terms of pain and pleasure
o Conventional Level: teens lose some of their selfishness as they learn to define right and wrong
in terms of what pleases parents and conforms to cultural norms.
o Postconventional Level: people move beyond their society’s norms to consider abstract ethical
Carol Gilligan’s Theory of Gender and Moral Development
- Boys have a justice perspective – rely on formal rules to define right and wrong
- Girls have a care and responsibility perspective – judging a situation with an eye toward personal
*Gilligan’s work sharpens our understanding of both human development and gender issues in research. Yet
the question remains: Does nature or nurture account for the differences between females and males? Gilligan’s
view, that cultural conditioning is at work, finds support in other research. Nancy Chodorow claims that
children grow up in homes in which, typically, mothers do much more nurturing than fathers. As girls identify
with their mothers, they become more concerned with care and responsibility to others. In contrast, boys
become more life fathers, who are often detached from the home, and develop the same formal and detached personalities. Perhaps the moral reasoning of women and men will become more similar as women
increasingly organize their lives around the workplace.
George Herbert Mead’s Theory of the Social Self
Self – the part of an individual’s personality composed of self-awareness and self-image.
- Social behaviourism – how social experience develops an individual’s personality
o The Self
not present at birth, develops
develops only with social experience (interactions)