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Chapter 3

SOC101Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: George Herbert Mead, Symbolic Interactionism, Interactome

Course Code
Robert Brym

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Chapter 3: Socialization
What is Socialization?
Negativism can be difficult stage to live through for both the parents and the child but
childhood experts insist it is an essential stage in developing a sense of self and
becoming an autonomous (independent) human being
Negativism is a way that child learns what really can or cannot be done; form of rebellion
in which the child sets limits for the parents;
The social process whereby they undergo such development through interacting with the
people around them is known as SOCIALIZATION
To be socialized means to learn how to act and interact appropriately with other, to
become a competent and effective member of society yet, sociologists assert that to be
socialized is also to develop a self, a sense of individual identity that allows us to
understand ourselves and differentiate ourselves from others
Each of these processes depends on and implies the other: To have a self, we must
interact with others, to interact competently, we must reflect on and understand ourselves
in relation to others
Socialization is an active and interactive process
o Active process since those being socialized participate and to which they
o Interactive process since those who are socializing, like the parents, are
themselves undergoing a learning process
Socialization is a lifelong process of social interaction during which the individual
obtains a self-identity and skills needed for living in society
The crucial learning that transforms us into cultural beings, proceeds through interaction
with others who are important to us and usually to whom we are important
Primary Socialization: crucial learning process that happens in childhood and makes us
members of society
o Important to becoming who and what we are
Secondary Socialization: learning that happens after people have undergone primary
o Happens following the first few years of life when the individual is able to
communicate symbolically, has developed a sense of self, and can well imagine
themselves in someone else‟s position
o Ongoing feature of our liveslive in world of constant and dramatic change
Socialization makes social interaction, social organization, and social order possible
Norms regulate behaviour (ex. Sidewalk behaviour); social norms make social life
orderly and allow use to deal with and interact with hundreds of anonymous strangers
Norms constrain us, they channel and guide our behaviour in everyday life

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Content of socialization differs greatly from one society to another
People in a certain society learn the norms, values, and lifestyles specific to their social
Within every society individuals differ in significant ways from one another, to some
extent is the product of socialization
Each person is influenced by distinctive or overlapping subcultures of family and friends
Subcultures is a group within the larger culture that has distinctive values, norms, and
Nature and Nurture
we can‟t deny that some human behaviour is the result of biological factors
we are not born human we become human through the process of social interaction
Socialization is essential both to the physical well-being and to the social competence of
an infant
even when, as in the case of Anna, infants survive lack of interaction and caring in early
childhood, they are incapable of becoming fully competent, active members of society
The children have not had the chance to develop a self, they have no sense of social
identity in in terms in which they understand themselves and others around them
Self is a point of reference for planning and orientation, for sorting and assessing life‟s
situations in terms of importance
The Self and Socialization
Importance of the body for constructing self and identity
Non-normative bodies can profoundly influence a person‟s self and identity
Self is not fixed: a study of weight-loss surgery they were “new” people in terms of
body and self, they thought the surgery removed the layers of fat to reveal the „real‟ body
and its corresponding „real‟ self
Socialization , involves not only learning about others but also developing a sense of self
Process of self-growth: theories of scholars: Charles Horton Cooley & George Herbert
Mead and modified by Paul Willis
Charles Horton Cooley
Introduced the idea of looking-glass self: gestures and reactions of others are a mirror or
“looking glass” in which we see ourselves
Cooley‟s emphasis was less on the actual responses of others than our imagination, or
interpretation, of those responses
Without the social mirror, there can be no sense of self
Self-image emerges as a product of involvement in groups & communication with others
The first images of the self are received from significant others, those people, such as
parents, who are of central importance to the individual in the development of the self

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Other images both complement and supplant those first images, especially as the child‟s
interaction network expands
Role played by the primary group, the small group, (especially the family) that is
characterized by intimate, face-to-face association and cooperation
Through the repeated processes of imagination and identification, the self-concept is built
and organized
In this way, the structure and content of the self are derived from society, which is
represented by the group‟s and significant others surrounding the individual
George Herbert Mead
Concentrated the analysis on the importance of the interplay between society and the
Major contribution was theory of the relationship among mind, self, and society that
become the foundation symbolic interactionism and influenced many sociologists who
use a wide variety of other perspectives
Against Cooley, since he didn‟t believe that socialization consists largely of learning to
conform to the rest of society
Instead, he saw socialization as an active process in which individuals play a crucial role
in their own development
Key to that process is the ability to communicate
Symbols are gestures, objects, or sounds that stand for something else and whose
meaning depends on shared meanings ex. Dove is a bird, but it represents or is a
symbol of peace
Human beings first communicate with non-verbal gestures; this process leads to
development of language, replaces gestures with ideas
Symbols allows child to think of itself in relation to others and is at the core of all stages
of the socialization process
You will “take the role of the other” that is attempt to determine or appreciate
someone else‟s perspective in a particular situation
Taking the role of the other, is an essential skill children develop to the effective
members of society
As Mead showed, children, through their interaction with others, develop an ability to
take the role of the other this ability is central to children‟s understanding of others
and to the internalization of values, attitudes, and beliefs of the society in which they live
Mead also suggested that it is through taking the role of the other that children also
develop a sense of self Conformity and individuality are interconnected; mind,
self, and society are the product of interaction
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