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Chapter 4

SOCA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Social Isolation, Lev Vygotsky, Symbolic Interactionism

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Chapter 4: Socialization
Social Isolation & the Crystallization of Self Identity
Wild boy of Aveyron [was isolated from humans, and thus, abnormal]
Suffer from congenitally subnormal intelligence
oUncertain how much or what type of social control they had before
Socialization: process by which ppl learn their culture
oUnleashes human potential
oThey do so by:
1. Entering and disengaging from a succession of roles
2. Becoming aware of themselves as they interact with others
Role: the behaviour expected of a person occupying a particular position
Rene Spitz: did natural experiment:
oChildren raised in prisons vs. Those raised in an orphanage
oPrison children had normal growth; orphans growth was much slower
oConcluded childhood socialization is important in making us fully human
w/o childhood socialization, human potential remains undeveloped
adolescence: turbulent period of rapid self development
agents of socialization: families, schools, peer groups, mass media
Theories of Childhood Socialization
founder of psychoanalysis
theory: self emerges during early social interaction and early childhood experience
exerts a lasting impact on personality development
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Self Image/ Sense of Self: set of ideas and attitudes abt who they are as independent
oSelf imagine begins to emerge as soon as ids demands are denied
Child eventually develops a sense of what constitutes appropriate behaviour
Unconscious: part of self that contains repressed memories we are not aware of
oEmergence of superego is painful/frustrating process
oRepressed memories influence emotions/actions even after they’re stored
oPainful instances of childhood repression may cause psychological problems
oRequiring therapy to correct
oSome repression is the cost of civilization
When ego fails to balance the needs of id and the superego, indi develop personality
Components of the Well Adjusted Self [Freud]:
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CRITICISM of Freuds argument:
o1. The connection b/w early childhood development and adult personality are
more complex than Freud assumed
Failed to anticipate that depth, problem solving ability, maturity
might derive from painful experiences
o2. Gender bias in Freuds analysis of male and female sexuality
Freud: normal women are immature n dependent on men b/c they
envy male sexual organ
Classified mature and independent women as abnormal
o3. For neglecting socialization AFTER childhood
Freud: believed human personality is fixed at abt age 5
WRONG! Socialization continues throughout the life course
Cooleys Symbolic I nteractionism
Charles Horton Cooley:
oIntroduced idea of the looking glass self
oFounder of symbolic Interactionism
oObserved that when we interact with others, they gesture and react to us
Allows us to imagine how we appear to them
We then judge how others evaluate us
From these judgements, we develop a self concept or a set of
feelings/ideas of who we are
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oour feelings abt who we are depend largely on how we see ourslves evaluated
by others
ojust as we see physical body reflected in the mirror, we see our social selves
reflected in ppls gestures and reactions to us
oyoung women seem to me MOST prone to such behaviour
owomen having difficulty in achieving ideal body weight/shape promoted by
mass media
George Herbert Mead
Developed idea of the looking glass self
Agreed with Freud
I: subjective & impulsive aspect of the self that is present from birth
Me: the objective component of the self that emerges as ppl communicate
symbolically and learn to take the role of the other
oUnique human capacity to take the role of the other
oAll human communication depends on being able to take the role of the other
Ex. Interpreting mothers smile
oMe is not present from birth, emerges gradually with social interaction
Self as developing in 4 stages of role taking:
1.Children learn to use language and other symbols by imitating imp ppl in their lives,
such as mother n father: significant others
2.Children pretend to be other ppl
a.Ex: role imaginations such as house, doctor, school
3.When they reach abt age 7, children learn to play complex games requiring they
simultaneously take the role of several other ppl
a.Ex: baseball infielders
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4.Taking role of generalized other: persons image of cultural standards & how they
apply to him
Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget:
Divided development of thinking [or cognitive] skills during childhood years into 4
oSensorimotor stage: 1st two yrs of life
Children explore world through their 5 senses
Cannot think using symbols
oPreoperational Stage: b/w ages 2-7
Children begin to think symbolically
Language and imagination blossom
Still unable to think abstractly
oConcrete Operational Stage: b/w ages 7-11
Abstract thinking begins at age 7
Able to see connection b/w causes and effects
oFormal Operational Stage: by abt age 12
Develop ability to think more abstractly/critically
Lawrence Kohlberg
Showed how childrens moral reasoningtheir ability to judge right from wrong
also passes through development stages
Children distinguish right from wrong based on whether something gratifies their
immediate needs
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Pre-conventional Stage : what is right simply satisfies the young child
oEx) snatching cookie from someone is RIGHT
Conventional Stage: teenagers begin to judge right & wrong whether specific
actions please their parents/teachers and are consistent with cultural norms
oEx) knows getting caught will result in punishment
Some never advance beyond conventional morality
Postconventional Stage: think critically about moral principles
oPonder meaning of freedom, justice, equality
oAccepting moral principles independently, not what others think
Vygotsky & Gilligan offer sociological approaches to thinking abt cognitive & moral
Ways of thinking arent much determined by innate factors as they are by the nature
of social institutions in which indi grow up
Gi l l igan and Gender Differences
Emphasized that moral development is socially differentiated & doesnt follow
universal rules
Parents and teachers tend to pass on different cultural standards to boys and girls
Adult authorities define ideal woman as eager to please, non assertive
Girls learn this lesson as they mature
Fact that girls encounter more male teachers reinforces the lesson
Thus, girls suffer a decline in self-esteem b/w ages 5 and 18, boys do not
Agents of Socialization
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Most important agent of primary socialization: the process of mastering the basic
skills required to function in society during childhood
oFor most babies, family is the world
Family is a small grp, members are frequent face to face contact
Also exerts an enduring influence
oEx) long term effect of familys religious atmosphere
Secondary socialization: socialization after the family
2/3 canadians over age 14 have completed high school
Class, Race, & Confl ict T heory
Hidden curriculum: teaches students what will be expected of them in the larger
oThat they are judged on the basis of their performance
Capacity of schools to socialize is more imp than all academic subjects [except math]
In family, children are evaluated on the basis of personal & emotional criteria
As students, they are evaluated on the basis of their performance on standardized
Conflict Theory: some will accept hidden curricula, others will reject
Self-fulfi l l ing Prophecy
Defi: expectation that helps cause what it predicts
Thomas Theorem: situations we define as real become real in their consequences
oEx) ppl say certain stocks will fall, they start selling em, that itself causes
price of stocks to fall
Peer Groups
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Peer Groups: indi who arent necessarily friends but abt the same age & similar
Separates children from their families & develop independent sources of identity
Influential w/ issues such as appearance, dating, social activities
Dominant socializing agent from middle childhood to adolescence
Children began to reject parental value, being rebellious
Causes conflict b/w generations
Peer grps also help ‘integrate young ppl into larger society
Self Social ization
Self Socialization: choosing socialization influences from wide variety of MMedia
Mass Media
Include television, radio, movies, CDs, videos, magazines, books, newspaper
Fastest growing medium is INTERNET
Watching TV is the MOST time consuming free time activity [20hrs/week]
TV time > socializing in homes
helps young ppl cope w/ anger, anxiety, unhappiness & construct their identities
Gender Roles, Mass Media, & the Feminist Approach to
Social ization
Gender roles: widely shared expectations abt how males & females are supposed to
Feminist sociologists: claim that ppl arent born knowing how to express
masculinity and feminity in conventional ways
oInstead, ppl learn gender roles [partly via MMedia]
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Gender roles by mmedia begins when:
oMusic videos/ hip hop tend to demean women
oRefer to women as bitches
oReinforced by romance fiction
Theme: transformation of womens bodies into objects for mens
oLeads in Disney movies are boys
Resocial ization & Total I nstitutions
Resocialization: when powerful socializing agents cause rapid change in ppls
values & self conception [ex: ceremonies]
Initiation Rite: signifies transition of the individual from one grp to another
3 stages ceremony:
1.Ritual Rejection: separation from the old status & identity
2.Ritual Death: degradation, disorientation, stress
3.Ritual Rebirth: acceptance of the new group culture
Total Institutions: settings in which ppl are isolated from the larger society and
under strict control & supervision [ex: asylums, prisons]
Palo Alto Experiment: your sense of self & the roles you play are not as fixed as
you may think
Adult Socialization
Adult socialization necessary b/c:
1.Adult roles are often discontinuous
oDifferent expectations w/ earlier n later years
2.Some adult roles are invisible
oChildren have limited knowledge to know what it means to be married
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3.Some adult roles are unpredictable
oTo help us predict new role, we engage in Anticipatory Socialization:
beginning to take on the norms of the role to which we aspire
oUnpredictable changes: divorce, sudden death of spouse, job loss,
4.Adult roles change as we mature
oResult of inner developmental process
oEx: middle life crisis: become aware of eventual demise, begin to ? way of life
*1, 2, 3 are outside forces; ex where all 4 reasons are operating: role of terminally ill person
Adult Social i zation & the Flexible Self
Ppls identities/roles changing faster than before
Reasons for this growing flexibility:
oGrowing ability to fashion new bodies from old
Identity & the I nternet
Computer assisted social interaction can affect how ppl think of themselves
Virtual communities: association of ppl, scattered across country/region who
communicate via comp & talk abt subjects of common interest
oEx: chat rooms
b/c virtual communities (vc) allow interaction using concealed identities, ppl are
freer to assume new identities & discover parts of themselves
in vc, shy ppl can become bold, old can become young, woman can become man
thus, ppl are freer to shape their selves as they choose
Dilemmas of Childhood & Adolescent Socialization
Preindustrial era: chores at age 5, work at age 10-12, marry at age 15-16
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Last century, idea of childhood as distinct period of life became universal
Reasons for prolonged childhood:
oGave youngsters chance to prepare for adult life
oImproved nutrition allowed ppl to live beyond age 35
Declining Adult Supervision and guidance
oSociety has left children behind as a cost of progress in workplace
oYoung children left alone to build their own community
Increasing media influence
oIn olden days, schools/church taught kids more values/beliefs
oNow, mass media offers more messages contrary to parents/schools
oLeaves teens uncertain abt what constitutes appropriate behaviour
Declining Extracurricular activities/ increasing adult responsibilities
oExtracur activities provide opp for students to develop concrete skills
oCan learn something abt yr physical/emotional/social capabilities and
limitations, what youre made of, what you can do/ cannot do
oOnly quarter of high schoolers take part in extracurricular activities
oHalf of Can teenagers working part time
Thus, we seem to have vanishing adolescence
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