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Chapter 130-154

SOC101Y1 Chapter 130-154: Socialization 130-154

Course Code
Sheldon Ungar

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Chapter 3 - Socialization
What is Socialization?
- In order to interact with others we need a “self”, a sense of individual identity that allows us to
understand who we are in relation to others and to differentiate ourselves from them. This
allows us to react to what we learn so that once we know what is expected of us in any given
situation we can choose to behave in ways consistent with the societal norm
- Socialization: the vital link b/w individuals and society. It makes social interaction, social
organization, and social order possible.
- Socialization occurs in a cultural context, so it varies form person to person
- Primary Socialization: the crucial learning process that occurs in childhood and initiates our
entry into society
- Secondary Socialization: learning to be a student/spouse/parent, moving to another country,
growing old, etc.
- Is biological inheritance or social environment more important in shaping our beliefs and
- Nature and nurture are inseparable; the brain provides the physiological tool required for
interpreting experiences, but unless children have the opportunity to learn, reason and solve
problems at an early age, the brain may not develop.
- Case of social isolation: Genie
From the age of 2 until she was discovered at 13, Genie was kept in a small room at the
back of her family home. Her father forbade people from communication with her, and only
‘spoke’ to her with growls and barks. Thus, she never gained a vocabulary, and resembled
an animal in her mannerisms. She was coached on how to speak and interact and made
significant progress, however her years of social isolation left a mark on her ability to relate
to others.
- People have a basic biological need for social interaction, communication, and intimate
relations with others.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2015
The Self and Socialization
- Proposed the first interpretation of the process by which the self emerges
- He noted: infants demand immediate gratification but begin to form a self-image when their
demands are denied. This denial incites protest, however infants soon learn to adjust to avoid
such situations (i.e. if they wake up crying at night and the parent refuses to feed them, the
infant will learn to eat more before going to sleep)
The infant begins to sense that its needs differ from those of its parents, it has an existence
independent of others, and must balance its needs w/ the realities of life. These lessons in
self-control develop a sense of what construes appropriate behaviour and a moral sense of
- A psychological mechanism develops that normally balances the pleasure-seeking and
restraining components of the self
- The traditional view was that the self emerges naturally, however Freud argued that only
social interaction allows the self to emerge
- Introduced the idea of the “looking-glass self”, suggesting that the gestures and reactions of
others are a mirror (looking glass) in which we see ourselves
We look to others to see a reflection of our social self
- Our feelings about who and what we are is socially organized around our evaluation of how
we believe ourselves to be judged by others
- Self image emerges as a product of involvement in groups and communication with others.
The first images of self are received from “significant others - those closest to children
during the early stages of their lives.
- Primary group: the small group around us in which interaction is characterized by intimate,
face-to-face association and cooperation
- Explored the relationship b/w the individual and society. Foundation of Symbolic
- Society is essential to human development bc thinking is possible only if we can
communicate symbolically, and we learn to do so by interacting w/ others.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Symbols: gestures, objects and sounds
- The key to socialization is the ability to take the role of the other. This involves anticipating
how others will see and react to you.
Three Stages in Taking the Role of the Other:
i. Imitative Stage: Children under the age of 2 have no real conception of themselves as
social beings. When they play, they often act out the behaviour associated w/ certain roles
i.e. mother, father, firefighter. This is imitation rather than role-playing.
ii. Play Stage: Children begin to adopt the roles of significant others i.e. a character from a
book, and their play shifts from imitative to imaginative. They learn to imagine how people
will respond w/o actually having to act out the situation. The role is not necessarily rooted in
reality but is defined according to the child’s wishes. Children find difficulty in coordinating
their actions w/ others. i.e. playing soccer. Kids are more concerned with just kicking the ball
rather than playing certain positions.
iii. Game Stage: Children develop a generalized impression of the behaviour people expect
and awareness of their own importance to the group and vice-versa. Children respond to
the “generalized other”, a conception of how people in general will respond.
The “I” and the “Me”
- We are not only subjects but objects of ourselves; social and cultural beings whom we can
evaluate, respond to, try to modify.
- Mead called the subjective part of the self “I” and the objective part “Me”.
- I acts and Me reflects on our actions through the lens of social norms, values and
- Emphasized the degree to which identity formation continues among teens and young adults.
- Class, racial, ethnic, gender, and regional differences are associated w/ differences in
socialization patterns
- People do not automatically learn norms and values of the social context in which they
happen to find themselves: they do learn them, but they also experiment and make choices
from the variety of socialization opportunities they confront.
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