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Chapter 4

Introduction to Sociology - Chapter 4

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Sociology 1020
Kim Luton

Introduction to Sociology Chapter 4: Socialization 24 October 2011 Introduction: - it was believed that unsee, yet powerful, forces determined people's action - many people believing that human genetics determined much of our "nature" - movement was rooted in Darwin's concept of adaptation and his theory of biological evolution into "higher" species - the eugenics movement promoted genetic engineering - the control of breeding within between the "races" - this involved the goal of race improvement through slective breeding, with an implication that the "weak" should be left to die, or at least should not be allowed to reproduce - it was the racism inherent in the eugenics movement that drew the attention of social scientists who had seen studying "nurture" - or enivornmental - influences on human behaviour - suggested that it was unlikely that humans have gentic predispoitions strong enough to determine fully their complex behaviour patterns, especially throughout their lives - they argued that cultures can produce patterns of human behaviour that cannot be reduced to our gentic makeup - the nature versus nurture debate - was a lively one that can still be found in some form today - nevertheless, the contention that humans are affected by experiences during their lifetimes is no longer in dispute, and extreme pronouncements that poverty and crime are genetically based have long been discredited - how much people can resist attempts to influence them; shape between behaviour if there are many contradictory influences at work in people's lives - how much control parents can exercise over their children's development? - what schools can do to fully educate all of their students? - the degree of self-ditection we can expect of people growing up in societies with societal influence pulling them in different and contradictory directions Defining Socialization: - generally socialization refers to the processes by which someone is taught to live among the other humans - ensure both the physical survival of individual members and the survival of the group or culture - when some is socialized, he or she has the motivation, skills, and knowledge necessary to live with others in group relationships - when any of these three factors (prosocial motivations, social skills, and cultural knowledge) is missing or deficient, a person can experience difficulties in getting along with others - members need to be encouraged in some way too conform to their values and norms - sometimes enticements for conformity involve pressuring or coercing people to obey in a variety of ways, from simple looks of disapproval by strangers to charging people with criminal offences or using physical force - some view these stages as largely cultural in orgin, while others view them as "constitutional" in nature - part of an epigentic makeup of the individual, in which the person is likened to a flower, with genetically preset stages of growth, the outcome of which depoends on how well, or poorly, the envirnoment nurtures it during each stage Issues in the Study of Socialization: - onr issue involves the extent to which in specific contextx socialization is inherently benign or coercive, and for whom - from a concflict perspective, much socialization simply involves getting people to want to do what they otherwise must do, without using excessuve force - if this is true, and functionalists are mistakenly assuming that socialization is benign, then fuctionalists may simply be contributing to the oppression of human beings by studying how to perfect coercive socialization precesses - in cases where people fail to adapt we run the risk of "blaming the victim" if we focus only individuals' reactions because the deviant behaviour may simply be a result of socialization into a culture or subculture specific to that environment that we do not understand - a second issue concerns the extent to which people can resist attempts to socialize them - there are diagreements regarding how much free will people are capable of exercising in their dealings with the social structure that lie behind socialization effeots this issue is known as the structure-agency debate - even though no physical corecion is used n enforcing these structures, a high degree of conformity can result, as in the case of conventions of personal appearance and self-presentation Perspectives on Socialization: Sociological perspectives: Functionalism: - they tend to view socialization as a necessary and benign process inherent in all groups and societies - socialization peforms several vital fuctions that maintain the structure of groups and societies, particulary from one generations to the next - first, socialization plays a major role in the formation of the individual personality, while moulding people's attitudes and behaviuors to confrom to group values and norms - second, socialization represents a set or process and contexts responsible for cultural transmission - third socialization performs the funcction of socail integration - with their common personality characteristics and common language, people come to share common conceptions of their place in the world, as well as their places in their own cultures - these functions of socialization are not necessarily perfectly or uniformly fulfilled among all members of a group - within a culture, each person has a slightly different socialization history, even within the same family - people from a variety of cultural backgrounds mix with one another, making socialization processes highly complex and often incomplete Conflict approaches: - conflcit theorists do not disagree with fuctionalists regarding the basic nature of socialization processes - they tend to disagree with is how benign some of these processes are, hoe neutral their outcomes can be, and even how necessary some socialization is - conflec theorists focus on the concept of social reproduction - namly, the ways on whoch societies reproduce themselves in terms of privilege and status - people do indeed learn about appropriate attitudes and behaviours, but these attitudes and behaviours vary by social class, gender, and race/ethnocity, so people within each of these social categories - the working class tend to be taught to accept their position and not question who benefits from their uncritical accpetance of the class structure Feminist apporaches: - feminist sociologists have many of the same concerns as conflict theorists with repect to the nature and outcome of soicalization processes - concerned with gender socialization, as specfic sets of "processes through which individual learn to become femine and masculine according to expectaions current in their society - individuals develop gender identify and learn to express gender norms - gendered division of labour - adolescence is a time of particular vulnerabilty to gender socialization processes, with feminity
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