Chapter 3 – Social Isolation and Socialization
Socialization – The process by which people learn their culture, either by:
1) Entering and disengaging from a succession of roles, and
2) Becoming aware of themselves as they interact with others
Experiment done where the only difference was the baby was wearing different clothing.
One was dressed as a boy, and one was dressed as a girl.
The child was taught indirect things from just being assumed that they were a boy or a girl.
Toys R Us
- The girls section was laid out very clearly with pink everywhere
- The boys section was almost maze-like and had guns everywhere
- A wild looking boy was found in the woods
- Taken in by a psychologist, wouldn’t talk, preferred the outdoors, etc. Was very animal-like
because he was raised in the woods
- Children have also been taken away from society and been socialized away from society
- Viktor spend the rest of his life in an institution because he wasn’t able to be resocialized
He couldn’t learn language because language is a part of our culture
- Feral children may not respond to clapping, (it is used by doctors to see if children are deaf),
but the feral child responded to the breaking of nuts instead of clapping
- Nurture vs. Nature Role – A set of expected behaviours, or the behaviour expected of a person occupying a
particular position in society
Convincing evidence that socialization unleashes human potential came from Rene Spitz.
What Spitz did was compare children who were being raised in an orphanage, to those who
were being raised in a nursing home attached to a women’s prison
Both institutions gave good healthcare and food, but the nursing home but…
In the orphanage, there were 6 nurses for 45 children, while the nursing home had their
individual mothers for every child that was there, as a result they received more love and social
The orphans had much less time in contact with others, and didn’t see a “slice of life” in
comparison to the nursing home (who saw mothers, doctors, nurses talking, cleaning, food,
medical treatment, etc.)
Social deprivation had other effects though, the difference in child care made orphans more
susceptible to infections and ad a higher death rate than those in the nursing home.
By ages 2 to 3 in the nursing home, babies were walking and talking, compared with fewer
than 8% of the orphans.
The Crystallization of Self-Identity
- Sense of self continues in adolescence
The adolescence is a significant period of self-development, which is why people can remember
a lot from their youth.
“A sociologist once wrote that ‘the central growth process in adolescence is to define the self through the clarification of experience and to establish self-steem.”
- Agents of socialization are social institutions that shape who you are, or what you are.
(Family, schools, friends, peer groups, mass media)
The Symbolic Interactionist Foundations of Childhood Socialization
- Socialization begins at birth, babies cry, need food and comfort and affection
Infants soon begin to develop a sense of self
Noted that infants demand immediate gratification, but begin to form a self-image when their
demands are denied.
For example, when parents decide to not feed or comfort them every time they wake up in the
middle of the night.
Infants learn to eat more before going to bed, and to go back to sleep once they wake up in the
middle of the night, a sense of self.
The infant learns that its needs are different than the parent’s, and through this it develops
moral and behaviour sense.
Freud said that only social interaction allows for self-conscience to appear.
Introduced the idea of looking-glass self, meaning that our interpretation of ourselves depends
largely on how others see us (think about looking in a mirror)
When we interact with others, it allows us to see how other people see us and allows for the
development of self.
This is why when people react positively about you, you feel good, and when they act
negatively, you feel bad. There is a video in the class discussing guys wanting to work out and improve their self-image,
one guy got bullied by a girl because he was fat and he wanted to drop out of school.
How do others evaluate us?
How does that evaluation inform our sense of self?
Mead expanded upon the idea of looking-glass self and looked at the terms, “I”, and “me”
According to Mead, I is the subjective and impulsive aspect of the self that is present from birth.
Our planned self, I is a single letter – a single person
The me is the objective component of the self that emerges as people communicate
symbolically and learn to take the role of the other.
Interactions with other people, me = multiple letters, so multiple people
Mead said that human communication involves seeing yourself from other people’s view points,
how else would you interpret things like, and “Your mothers smile when she sees you. Your
friends when they see you. Etc.”
Mead’s 4 Stages of Development
1. Children learn to use language and symbols by imitating important people in their lives, like
their mother and father. Mead called people who were important in early socialization,
2. Children pretend to be other people. They use their imagination for role-playing.
3. When they reach the age of 7, learn to play complex games that simultaneously take the role
of several other people. In baseball you need to be aware of everyone’s intent to as a pitcher to see if you can throw properly, or if you can get someone out if they try to steal a base.
4. When a child can think like this, they enter the fourth stage which involves the generalized
other, years of experience teach an individual that other people employ their cultural standards
to someone, which makes them believe one may be intelligent, funny, stupid, or more. It is the
entire society that is involved.
These 3 ideologies believe that social inter