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Chapter 4

SOCA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: George Herbert Mead, Symbolic Interactionism, Abstraction

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Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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SocioNotes | Chapter 4
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
o Uncertain how much or what type of social control they had before
Socialization: process by which ppl learn their culture
o Unleashes human potential
o They 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:
o Children raised in prisons vs. Those raised in an orphanage
o Prison children had normal growth; orphans growth was much slower
o Concluded 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
Self Image/ Sense of Self: set of ideas and attitudes abt who they are as independent beings
o Self imagine begins to emerge as soon as id’s 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
o Emergence of superego is painful/frustrating process
o Repressed memories influence emotions/actions even after they’re stored away
o Painful instances of childhood repression may cause psychological problems
o Requiring therapy to correct
o Some repression is the cost of civilization
When ego fails to balance the needs of id and the superego, indi develop personality disorders

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SocioNotes | Chapter 4
Components of the Well Adjusted Self [Freud]:
CRITICISM of Freud’s argument:
o 1. 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
o 2. Gender bias in Freud’s 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
o 3. For neglecting socialization AFTER childhood
Freud: believed human personality is fixed at abt age 5
WRONG! Socialization continues throughout the life course
Cooleys Symbolic Interactionism
Charles Horton Cooley:
o Introduced idea of the “looking glass self”
o Founder of symbolic Interactionism
o Observed 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
o our feelings abt who we are depend largely on how we see ourslves evaluated by others
o just as we see physical body reflected in the mirror, we see our social selves reflected in
ppl’s gestures and reactions to us
o young women seem to me MOST prone to such behaviour
o women having difficulty in achieving ideal body weight/shape promoted by mass media
EGO: balances conflicting needs
of pleasure seeking id and
restraining superego
demands immediate
repository of cultural standards
[personal conscience]
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