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Ivanka Knezevic

CHAPTER 4 SOCIALIZATION ***Introduction: what is socialization? Can be defined as the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and motivation to participate in social life; it is the process whereby individuals learn, through interaction with others, that which they must know in order to survive, function, and become members of our society; it is not confined to babies and children but constitutes a complex, lifelong learning process that enables us to develop ourselves, roles and identities Differences are found by geographic region, ethnic/immigration background, gender, religion, and social class. Each generation experiences socializing effects particular to their birthplace and historical location Criminologists point out that socialization does not necessarily mean that what is learned is acceptable to the ‘mainstream’ or is positive for us. ***Human Behavior—nature or nurture? We may be predisposed toward certain abilities, but our environment will determine the extent to which these abilities can be realized One of the most exciting advances in this area is the emerging science of epigenetics, or the study of how the environment modifies the way that genes are expressed One useful way to conceptualize socialization is that it provides the link between biology and culture. ---The case of genie Repeated social isolation leads to poor psychological and physical health, such as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In conclusion, socialization is the essential bridge between the individual ad society, and it is the process through which we become human ***Theorizing Socialization ---theories on childhood socialization 1. learning/behaviorist frame of reference Learning theory assumes that the same concepts and principles that apply to animals apply to humans. Socialization as applied to the newborn infant involves changes that result from maturations that include classical or instrumental conditioning. Classical conditioning links a response to a know stimulus. Operant or instrumental conditioning focuses attention on the response which is not related to any known stimulus. It functions in an instrumental manner in that one learns to make a certain response on the basis of the outcome that the response produces. (Reinforcement or reward) 2. Psychoanalytic Frame of Reference (Sigmund Freud) Psychoanalytic theory stresses the importance of childhood experiences, biological drives and unconscious processes and cultural influences. Beneath the surface of each individual’s consciousness are impulsive, pleasure-seeking, and selfish energies that Freud termed the ‘id’. Individuals also have ‘egos’ and engage in cognitive, conscious thought processes that make each one of us a unique individual. Bothe the ‘id’ and the ‘ego’ are controlled by the individual’s gradual internalization of societal restraints (the ‘superego’) Parents play a key role in ‘impulse taming’ by transmitting cultural values and rules that guide the ego and repress the id Socialization consists of a number of stages: oral, anal, phallic, latency, genital phase. Freud theorized that it is also possible for one to remain in one stage for an inordinate length of time (fixation) or return to an earlier stage (regression) and that this can be the source of inappropriate or problematic social behavior Freud thought that sexuality was a primary motivating force not only for adults but also for children. ---Child Development Frames of Reference Erikson and Piaget: they both extended their stages beyond the early years and focused more attention on social structure and reasoning. E: viewed socialization as a lifelong process, ‘eight stages of human development’ (from trust versus mistrust to integrity versus despair) P: interested in maturational stages; more in cognitive development, characterizing this as the ability to reason abstractly and to organize rules into higher-order, complex operations or structures (four major cumulative stages of intellectual development: sensorimotor period0-2; pre-operational period2-7; concrete operational period7-11; formal operational period11-18) children develop their cognitive abilities through interaction with the world and adaptation to their environment. (Assimilating) Kohlberg: expanded on Piaget’s ideas with his stages of moral development. His ideas were based on his research in which children were presented with moral dilemmas that asked what they should do and why they would do it. The first stage is related to moral, the last stage is related to the human rights that transcend government and laws ---Symbolic interactionist frame of reference (SI) Central importance is placed on interactions with others and the internalized definitions, meanings, and interpretations of our interactions. Basic assumptions include: humans must be studied on their own level; an analysis of society is the most valuable method in understanding society; at birth, the human infant is asocial; a socialized being is an actor as well as a reactor Another key concept is the idea of the development of a social self, which takes place in interaction with others. The social self is never fixed, static, or in a final state. Family members play an important role not only in the development of the social self but also in feelings of self-worth Of central important are the roles of significant others and reference groups George Herbert Mead: social, not biological, forces are the primary source of human behavior. Spontaneous and unsocialized self as ‘I’, socialized self as ‘ME’. “Generalized other”: play stage (models others), game stage (pretend to be others), generalized other stage (learning generalized values and cultural rules). ---Functionalist and conflict perspectives A functionalist approach addresses the ways in which conformity helps to preserve and meet the needs of society. The fundamental task of any society is to reproduce itself such that the needs of society become the needs of the individual Conflict perspectives focus more on issues of power and control and how socialization helps the powerful wealthy pass on their advantages to the next generation. Socialization does so by supporting ideologies and practices that work to the advantage of dominant groups and by social channeling. This creates a ‘false consciousness’, or a lack of awareness and a distorted perception of class realities. ---Feminist theories and gender role socialization Feminists often critique functionalist views and build upon conflict theorizing by emphasizing how gender is a fundamental organizing feature of social life Focus is often placed on how social interaction, including discourse, is socially constructed and on how gender-role socialization mirrors and perpetuates inequities found throughout society Fundamental differences in gender-role socialization and stereotyping continue to exist, and this begins at birth and continues throughout one’s life “Pinks
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