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Chapter 3

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

Course Code
Robert Brym

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New Society Chapter 3-Socialization
Social process whereby children undergo development through interacting
with the people around them
o Learn how to act and interact appropriately with others
o Become competent and effective members of society
o Develop self
o Must look at people’s sense of belonging and their sense of autonomy
o Active process (participate and contribute)
o Interactive
o Lifelong process
Acquires self identity
Skills needed to live in society
Primary socialization
o Occurs in childhood
o Crucial learning process
o Makes us members of society
Secondary socialization
o After primary, whole life
o Following the first few years of life
o Able to communicate, symbolize, self, empathy
Channel and guide behaviour of everyday life
Make things smooth and orderly, freeing us from the need to plan every step
Influenced by subcultures
o Has distinctive values, norms and practices
Nature and Nurture
Natural differences exist among people but explains little about social behaviour
and organization
Sociologist emphasize importance of society and socialization
o Suspicious of biological inheritance
o Often shifts to racist and sexist views
Both are complementary and inseparable
Not born human, we become human
o Through social interaction
o Biological need for social interaction
o “Anna” (pg. 51)
Self and Socialization
Self image greatly depends on social interaction

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Research demonstrates the importance of the body for constructing self and
o Self is not fixed
o Can modify self when necessary radically altering it in response to
interactions with others
Charles Horton Cooley
Early 1900s
Work in socialization groundbreaking
o See ourselves through the reactions of others
o Less on responses more on personal imagination/interpretation
o Outlook depends on expectations
o Without social mirror there can be no self
o Self-image emerges as product of involvement in groups and
communication with others
First=significant others
Particularly important=primary group
George Herbert Mead
Foundation of symbolic interactionism
Saw socialization as an active process in which individuals play a crucial role in
their own development
o Key ability to communicate
Especially symbolic communication
Children are not born with the ability to understand people
o Develop ability to take role of the other
o Central to understanding and internalization of values, attitudes and beliefs
of society
o Develop a sense of self through taking role
Conformity and individuality are interconnected
Three Stages in Taking the Role of the Other
Imitative Stage
o Less than 2 years old
o No real conception of themselves
o Make believe
Play Stage
o Begin to adopt roles of significant others
o Shifts from imitative to imaginative
Imagine how people will respond

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o Difficulty coordinating actions with others
Game Stage
o Developed generalized impression of the behaviour people expect and
awareness of their own importance to the group and vice versa
o Metaphor of complex behaviour at this stage
o Responding to generalized other
How people in general will respond to a situation
Compromises values, beliefs, attitudes that individual understands
to be part of society
o Internal conversation
“Me” and “I” (Mead)
Aware of ourselves as social objects
o Objective elements of self=me
o Subjective element of self=I
This allows internal conversation
“I” initiates action
“Me” takes role of the other
Throughout life, sense of self continues to develop because it involves continual
conversation between “I” and “Me”
Willis’s Application and Extension of Mead’s theory
Paul Willis
Disagreed with sociologists who assumed socialization fundamental in children
until school
Argued teens and young adults still engaged in developing sense of self
Young people concerned with own identity
o Social location
o Commercialization
Stresses the link among creativity, identity and social context
o Take opportunity to make life meaningful
Socialization not unitary process
o Different categories of people will act in different ways
Gender Socialization
Process through which individuals learn to become feminine and masculine
according to expectations in society
Gender identity is learned
Raise boys and girls so that they will be different
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