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Chapter 4

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Ungar, Shelly

Sociology Chapter 4- Socialization Social Isolation and crystallization of self identity -Like wild boy of Aveyron, children who are raised without social contact (ex. Locked in attic) cannot form intimate social relationships with others, remain disinterested in games, and only develop the most basic language skills -uncertain how much and what type of social contact they had before being discovered (could have been abused), so their condition may not be due to only social isolation -ability to learn culture and become human is only a potential, to be actualized… -socialization: (process by which people learn their culture- including norms, values, and roles- and become aware of themselves as they interact with others) must take place -Rene Spitz: compared children being raised in orphanage with children being raised in nursing home. Nursing home children had more contact with caregivers. -depriving infants of social stimuli for most of day made them less demanding -by age 9-12 orphans were more susceptible to infections and had higher death rate then nursing home babies, more nursing home kids were walking at young-age then orphans -orphans began playing with genitals at older age, impaired sexual life? -without childhood socialization, most of our human potential remains unlocked -formation of self continues in adolescence, where experiences crystallize self-identity -this is just one part of lifelong process of socialization -role: behavior expected of a person occupying particular position in society Theories of Childhood Socialization Freud -social interaction soon enables infants to begin developing a self image or sense of Self: set of ideas and attitudes about who they are as independent beings -proposed the first social-scientific interpretation of process by which self emerges -he was Austrian founder of psychoanalysis -referred to part of the self that demands immediate gratification as the id -self image begins to emerge as soon as the id’s demands are denied. Ex. Parents don’t comfort baby when cries at night, learns lessons from experience such as putting itself back to sleep -baby begins to sense that its needs differ from its parents, that it has an existence independent of others, and that is must somehow balance it needs with realities of life -b/c of such lessons in self-control(ex. Toilet training) child eventually develops sense of appropriate behavior and right and wrong, a personal conscience called a superego forms -it’s a repository of cultural standards, child also develops third component of self called ego -psychological mechanism that, in well adjusted individuals, balances conflicting needs of the pleasure seeking id and restraining superego -emergence of superego is painful and frustrating, to get on with daily lives we must repress memories of denying the id immediate gratification -repression involves storing these memories in part of self we are normally unaware of, the unconscious -repressed memories influence emotions and actions even after they are stored away, could cause possible psychological problems -some repression is cost of civilization, “can’t live in orderly society without denying id” Criticism: 1. connections b/w early childhood development and adult personality are more complex than Freud assumed -wrote that when ego fails to balance needs of id and superego, people develop personality disorders. Typically occurs if young child is raised in overly repressive atmosphere, recommended raising young children in relaxed and permissive environment to avoid problems -research shows no connection b/w aspects of early childhood training and development of well adjusted adults 2. Many sociologist criticize Freud for gender bias in his analysis of male and female sexuality -Freud argued psychologically normal women are immature and dependent of men b/c they enjoy the male sexual organ, women who are mature and independent classified as abnormal 3.Sociologist often criticize Freud for neglecting socialization after childhood- believed that human personality was fixed by age 5 -Freud’s sociological contribution was insistence that self emerges during early social interaction and that early childhood experiences exerts a lasting impact on personality development Mead -Charles Horton Cooley: introduced “looking glass self”- our feelings about who we are depend largely on how we see ourselves judged by others -George Herbert Mead developed idea of looking glass self -said subjective and impulsive part of self is I, argued that repository of culturally approved standards emerges as part of self during social interaction, called with objective social component of self me -Freud focused on denial of id’s impulses as mechanism that generates self’s objective side, Mead drew attention to unique human capacity to “take role of the other” as the source of the me -understood that human communication involves seeing yourself from the point of view of others -all human communication depends on being able to take the role of other, self thus emerges from people using symbols such as words and gestures to communicate -me is not present from birth, emerges from gradual social interaction -unlike Freud, thought that emergence of the self was fun rather then traumatic -saw development of self in 4 stages of role taking -First, children learn to use language and other symbols by imitating important people in their lives, like their mother or father, mead called such people significant others -Second, children pretend to be other people, they use their imaginations to role-play in games such as “doctor” -Third, when they reach 5 or 7 learn to play complex games requiring they take on simultaneous roles, ex. Baseball – learn to think In complex way ex. Results of hesitation, etc. -once they can think in complex way, begin fourth stage in development in self, taking the role of the generalized other ex. Years of experience, employing cultural standards, may teach someone that they are looked upon as certain way such as funny,intelligent,etc. -person’s image of these cultural standards and how they are applied to them is what G.O is Recent Developments -Jean Piaget- divided development of thinking (cognitive) skills into 4 stages -First 2 years of life, children explore world only through their 5 senses- called this the sensorimotor stage, can’t think in terms of symbols, interpretations of world limited to senses -children begin thinking symbolically b/w ages of 2-4, preoperational stage of cognitive devel. -language and imagination emerge from this stage, still unable to think abstractly -ex. Asked children to observe 2 glasses of equal amounts, said the one that had water filled higher b/c was taller was the one that was greater, not aware of abstract concept of volume -7-8 yr old children understood concept of volume, suggests abstract thinking begin b/w age 7-11 -moreover b/w these ages, able to see connections b/w causes and effects in their environment , called this concrete operational stage -Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg took paigets ideas in diff direction, showed how children’s moral reasoning (ability to judge right from wrong), also passes through developmental stages -argued young children distinguish right from wrong only on basis of whether something gratifies their immediate needs, called this preconventional stage -in contrast, teenagers begin to think about right and wrong in terms of whether actions please parents and teachers and are consistent with cultural norms, conventional stage -some ppl never advance beyond conventional morality, others develop capacity to think abstractly and critically about moral principles, post conventional stage ex. May question whether laws conform to moral principles -modern psychology did lot to reveal cognitive and moral dimensions of childhood development -from sociological POV, main problem is that minimizes extent to which society shapes the way we think, most psychologists assume ppl pass through same stages of mental development in similar ways regardless of structure of society and positions in it -Vygotsky- ways of thinking are determined not so much by innate factors as they are by nature of the social institutions in which people grow up. Ex. Chinese vs. Greek culture, harmony and social order essential for Chinese, so consensus more important then debate. Greek society less socially complex, gave citizens more freedom, stressed personal agency, debate -Gilligan-emphasized sociological foundations of moral development in studies of boys and girls, attributed differences b/w them by cultural standards parents and teachers pass on to them -Found unlike boys- girls suffer a decline in self-esteem b/w ages of 5-18, society defines ideal women as eager to please and therefore non assertive, most girls learn this lesson as they mature and self esteem drops , fact that more male then female teachers/authority shows this Agents of socialization The Family -primary socialization: process of mastering basic skills required to function in society during childhood, most important agent of PS is the family, Freud and Mead understood this -argued for babies family is the world, family is well suited to providing kind of careful, intimate attention required for primary socialization -family into who you’re born exerts enduring influence throughout life. Ex. Principal way religious groups grow is through children of the family, parents remain key source of children’s religious identification through life -influence of some socialization agents increased and some decreased, i.e. the family -partly b/c adult family members were more available for child care then are today -Childcare-and therefore socialization- became big social problem in 20 century (industry grew, more jobs, more divorce, less time for childcare) Schools -secondary socialization: socialization outside family after childhood, public school system was increasingly responsible for this as well as taking care of the child-care problem -industry needed better trained and educated ppl, therefore every province established “compulsory education” rule, prescribed minimum and maximum ages child had to attend school -schools help prepare students for job market, don’t necessarily give students accurate picture of what job market requires. Ex. High school students often have unrealistically high expectations about kinds of jobs they are likely to get when complete education -unaware of “education jobs” gap and widespread unemployment/underemployment that exist -hidden curriculum: teaches students what will be expected of them in larger society once they graduate, how to be “good” citizens -HC has done its job if it convinces students they are judged on basis of performance alone. Also if teachers students punctuality, respect for authority, importance of competition in leading to excellent performance, and conformist behaviors that lead to “good behavior” -in reality ppl could be judged on race, sex, etc, and not only performance Many students’ from poor and racial minority reject HC in whole or in part, skeptical about ability of schools to open job opportunities for them, rebel against authority of the school -self-fulfilling prophecy: expectation that helps cause what it predicts -W.I Thomas and Dorothy Swain Thomas-Thomas theorem:” situations we define as real become real in their consequences”, if you think you gonna do bad in school you will -teachers can also develop expectations that turn into self-fulfilling prophecies Ex. Test given to students, told teachers which students would be high achievers and which would be low, but in fact they were chosen at random. Test re-taken, and kids expected to good by the teachers actually did better Peer Groups -consist of individuals who aren’t necessarily friends buy are about the same age and status -help children/adolescents separate from families and develop independent identity -influential over lifestyle issues like appearance, social activities, dating -middle childhood through adolescence, peer group often is most dominant socialization agent -often conflict b/w values of family and those promoted by adolescent peer group -shouldn’t overstate these conflicts because they are usually temporary, once adolescents mature, family has more influence on important issues -another reason is b/c peer groups aren’t only sources of conflict, also help integrate young people into larger society -Patricia and Peter Adler: observed schools and noticed that ones with substantial number of visible minorities, cliques were divided by race, and visible minority cliques were less popular than white cliques. Showed how elementary peer groups prepare them for class and racial inequalities, and gender spec
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