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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Socialization.docx

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University of Waterloo
SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Chapter 4: Socialization Sociology: A Canadian Perspective What is Socialization? Socialization is the process of acquiring knowledge, skills, and motivation to participate in social life – individuals learn through interaction on how to survive, function, and become members of society.  Not a uniform phenomenon – difference can be found by geographic region, ethnic background, gender, religion, etc. of values and norms  Each generation experiences socializing effects particular to their birthplace and historical location  Criminologists point out that socialization is not necessarily what is learned is acceptable to the ‘mainstream’ or is positive for us, i.e. youth gang behaviour Human Behaviour – Nature or Nurture? The ‘nature-nurture debate’ is an argument over the relative contributions of biology and the environment to human development … e.g. is musical talent a result of biology (nature) or environmental influences (nurture)? Alternatively, this may be argued that both nature and nurture interact in dynamic ways to transform us into functioning members of society. Socialization provides the link between biology and culture. We are born with the capacity to learn, use language, and to forge social and emotional bonds, necessary for normal childhood development. However, the environment may limit (or facilitate) the extent to which these gifts are realized. What happens when our biological potential is not actualized? The Case of Genie Reports conclude that young children living in isolation from society and lived in the wild, e.g. Hesse Wolf-Child, Isabelle, Anna, Genie. Repeated social isolation (measured as a lack of social support and controlling for other factors) leads to poor psychological and physical health. Health problem are attributed to the cumulative ‘wear and tear’ caused by weak adaptions to stress. Social connections (or social ‘capital’) are found to have a buffering effect on our ability to handle life’s ups and down. Theories on Childhood Socialization Learning/behaviourist Frame of Reference  The same concepts and principles that apply to animals also apply to humans  Maturation changes include o Classical conditioning  Links a response to a known stimulus e.g. saliva for food o Instrumental conditioning (or operant) e.g. rewarding for ‘da-da-da’ said by a baby  Attention on the response which is not related to any known stimulus  Functions in an instrumental manner that one learns to make a certain response on the basis of the outcome that the response produces Psychoanalytic Frame of Reference  Developed by Freud  Importance on childhood experiences, biological drives, unconscious processes, and cultural influences  Beneath consciousness, everyone as an impulsive, selfish energy termed as ‘id’  Individuals also have egos and engage in cognitive, conscious though processes making us a unique individual  Parents play a key role in impulse taming by transmitting cultural values and rules that guide the ego and repress the id  Consists of stages of development – oral, anal, and phallic stages, latency and then genital  individuals passing through all these stage culminates a healthy, mature personality with a developed superego o It is possible for one to fixate or regress stages – source of inappropriate or problematic social behaviour Child Development Frames of Reference  Developed by Erikson and Piaget  Emphasizes the early stages of childhood development  Extends beyond the early stages and focuses on social structure and reasoning  Erikson viewed socialization as a lifelong process – developing the ‘eight stages of human development’ o trust v. mistrust (first year) to integrity versus despair (old age)  individuals create solutions to developmental concerns, and these concerns become institutionalized In our culture  Piaget developed four major stages of intellectual development o sensorimotor period (birth to two years), pre-operational period (two to seven years), concrete operational period (7 to 11), and formal operational period (11 through adulthood) o children develop their cognitive abilities through interaction with the world and adaption to their environment through assimilation and adjusting their cognitive framework to incorporate new experiences as they become socialized into adults  Kohlberg expanded on Piaget’s ideas o Child would be presented with moral dilemmas and asked what they will do and why o Subject responses clustered into three general levels of moral reasoning which will be subdivided into more specific stages:  Earliest age – wrong to steal, or against the law  Stage 4 (children mature) – moral decisions are made  Few people reach Stage 5 or 6, where 6 is a theoretical stage in which people live by principles based on human rights that transcend government and laws that endorse civil disobedience Symbolic Interactionist Frame of Reference  Interactions with others and the internalized definitions, meanings, and interpretations  Basic assumptions include: (expansion on p.84) o Humans must be studied on their own level o An analysis of society is the most valuable method in understanding society o At birth, the human infant is asocial o A socialized being is an actor as well as a reactor  Development of social self takes place in interaction with others – social self is never static, family play an
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