SOCA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Symbolic Interactionism, George Herbert Mead, Lawrence Kohlberg

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Study NotesSOCA01 - Ungar, Shelly
CHAPTER 4: SOCIALIZATION
the view that social interaction unleashes human abilities is supported by studies showing that
children raised in isolation do not develop normal language & other social skills
even though socializing influence of the family decreased in the 20th century, influence of
schools, peer groups & mass media increased
peoples identities change faster, more often, more completely than a decade ago; self has
become more plastic
socialization is more confusing and stressful now because the main institutions teach
contradictory lessons
decrease in parental supervision/guidance, increasing of adult roles by youth, decrease in
participating in extra-curricular activities are changing character of childhood & adolescence
Social Isolation and the Crystallization of Self-Identity
Socialization - process by which people learn their culture (including norms, values, roles) and
become aware of themselves as the y interact with others
Role - behaviour expected of a person occupying a specific position in society
René Spitz - compared children who were raised in an orphanage with children raised in a
prison nursing home
in the nursing home, the mothers cared for the babies
in the orphanage, there were only 6 nurses for 45 orphans
social deprivation caused orphans of 9-12 months to be more susceptible to infections and had
higher death rate
by the age of 2, all the children from the nursing home were walking & talking, compared to
only 8% of orphans
Harlows - emotional development requires affectionate cradling
without childhood, normal human potential remains undeveloped
crystallization of self-identity in adolescence is only one episode in a life-long process of
socialization
Theories of Childhood Socialization
Self - consists of your ideas and attitudes about who you are
Austrian founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud: proposed the 1st social-scientific
interpretation of the process by which the self emerges
The id - part of the self that demands immediate gratification
The superego - part of the self that acts as a repository of cultural standards
The ego - psychological mechanism that balances the conflicting needs of pleasure-seeking id
and the restraining superego
The unconscious - part of the self that contains repressed memories we are not normally aware
of
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Study NotesSOCA01 - Ungar, Shelly
3 criticisms of Freud’s arguments:
1. The connections between early childhood development and adult personality are more complex
than Freud assumed
2. Many sociologists criticize Freud for gender bias in his analysis of male and female sexuality -
Freud argued that psychologically normal women are immature and dependent on men because
they envy male sexual organ & women who are mature and independent are classified as
abnormal
3. Sociologists often criticize Freud for neglecting socialization after childhood - Freud believed
by age 5, human personality is fixed, but socialization continues throughout the life course
Cooleys Symbolic Interactionism
Sociologist Charles Horton Cooley introduced the idea of “looking-glass self”
he observed that when we interact with others, they gesture and react to us
our feelings and ideas about who we are depend largely on how we see ourselves evaluated by
others - we see our social selves reflected in people
Examples: the way people judge us helps determine whether we develop positive/negative self-
concept. Some students’ poor performance in school may be partly as a result of teachers
evaluating negatively, i.e by race/class.
Similarly, the way others evaluate us helps determine helps us determine the size of
discrepancy between our self-concept & the person we would like to be, some may engage in
compulsive buying sprees/ out-of-control collecting to compensate for the discrepancy
Mead
George Herbert Mead (1934) - The I, is the subjective and impulsive aspect of the self that is
present from birth. The me, is the objective component of the self that emerges as people
communicate symbolically & learn to take the role of the other
all human communication depends on being able to take the role of the other
Example: How do you interpret your mother’s smile? Does it meanI love you” or something
else. According to Mead, you have must see your self objectively - see what she sees.
self emerges from people using symbols - words & gestures, to communicate
it follows me - not present in birth but emerges gradually through social interaction
Children: Self developing in 4 stages:
1.imitating important people in their lives, called significant others (Mead)
2.children pretend to be other people - role playing
3.children play complex games requiring that they take the role of several other people
simultaneously
4.Generalized other - according to Mead, is a persons image of cultural standards & how they
apply to him or her
Piaget
Swiss Psychologist Jean Piaget divided development of thinking in 4 stages:
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Study NotesSOCA01 - Ungar, Shelly
1.Sensorimotor Stage of Cognitive development: First 2 years of their life, children explore
world through only their 5 senses
2.Preoperational Stage: Children aged 2 to 7. Language and imagination blossoms - children
begin to think symbolically
3.Concrete operational Stage: Between ages 7 and 11 - children are able to see relationship
between causes and effects in their environment
4.Formal operational Stage: About 12 years of age - children begin to think more abstractly &
critically
Kohlberg
American Social psychologist, Lawrence Kohlberg: showed how childrens moral reasoning -
ability to judge right from wrong - also passes through developmental stages :
1.Preconventional Stage of moral development: children distinguish right from wrong based on
whether something gratifies their immediate needs
2.Conventional Stage: teenagers begin to think what is right or wrong based on whether specific
actions please their parents and teachers and are consistent with cultural norms
3.Postconventional Stage: think abstractly and critically about moral principles
Vygotsky
cognitive/moral dimensions of development minimizes the extent to which society shapes the
way we think
Belarusian psychologist Lev Vygotsky & American psychologist Carol Gilligan offer
approaches to development through sociological dimensions
ways of thinking are determined not so much by innate factors as they are by nature of the
social institutions in which individuals grow up
Gilligan and Gender differences
Gilligan attributed differences in the moral development of boys to the different cultural
standards parents and teachers pass on to them
agents of socialization such as families, schools, peer groups, and mass media are now being
assessed
Agents of Socialization
Families:
Freud & Mead - family is the most important agent of primary socialization
primary socialization the process of acquiring the basic skills needed to function in society
during childhood.
family is well suited to providing the kind of careful, intimate attention required for primary
socialization: small group, face-to-face contact, parents love their children & motivate them
parents are the key source of their childrens religious identification throughout life
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Document Summary

The connections between early childhood development and adult personality are more complex than freud assumed: many sociologists criticize freud for gender bias in his analysis of male and female sexuality - Freud argued that psychologically normal women are immature and dependent on men because they envy male sexual organ & women who are mature and independent are classified as abnormal. Sociologists often criticize freud for neglecting socialization after childhood - freud believed by age 5, human personality is fixed, but socialization continues throughout the life course. 3. others - we see our social selves reflected in people: examples: the way people judge us helps determine whether we develop positive/negative self- concept. Some students" poor performance in school may be partly as a result of teachers evaluating negatively, i. e by race/class. Mead: george herbert mead (1934) - the i, is the subjective and impulsive aspect of the self that is present from birth.

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