Chapter 4: Socialization: Becoming Human and Humane Dr. Santos Soc 100
Introduction • Socialization- the lifelong process of learning to become a member of the social world • Interaction - the basic processes of socialization through which a child is shaped into a human being, learns its culture, and becomes a member of a society • Social self - the changing perceptions we have of who we are as a result of ongoing socialization, from birth to death.
The Nature vs. Nurture Debate • The debate over whether biology (genes, evolution) or socialization explains the self and all human behaviors • Sociobiology (evolutionary psychology)- is a bio-determinist theory that claims our genetic make-up “wires” us for certain social behaviors • Not well accepted by most sociologists > 1920s • Greatly abused in from 1850 (Social Darwinism) all the way to 1945 (Fascism)
The importance of socialization • Children need human contact, affection, and interaction in order to fully develop • E.g., Anna, Isabelle, neglected orphan children, the latter with deaf-mute mother • Because these children were not socialized at the proper time, their developmental disorders persisted after attempts to integrate them into society, Anna much worse than Isabelle
Socialization and the social world • Most of our experiences are a part of our socialization experience • Micro-level- e.g., parents, friends • Meso-level- e.g., schools and religion • Macro-level- e.g., national advertisements • Organizations and institutions are dependent upon socialized people to help them persist: school, boot camp, internship, church school, etc.
The Structural-functionalist perspective - different socializing agents support one another --> social harmony --> social order • The Conflict perspective - different socializing agents have conflicting goals --> social conflict --> social change • Those who have power use socialization to manipulate others into supporting the power structure that benefits the elite --> “false consciousness” among subordinate social strata • Most individuals have very little power to decide or control their futures (not so if organized & mobilized for collective action - “consciousness”)
Development of the self • Self - the perceptions we have of who we are which are developed from our perceptions of the way others respond to us in our myriad interactions • The development of the self begins at birth and through infancy • Biology and sociology both contribute to the development of the self
The looking glass self (Cooley) • We imagine how we appear to others • We interpret how othersjudge that appearance and then respond to that interpretation through behavior • We experience feelings of pride or shame based on this imagined appearance and judgment by others • We respond based on our interpretation
Role-taking (Mead) • We imagine ourselves from the point of view of others and assume the role we think we are • When humans can symbolically recognize objects, they can then view the self as an object • This process begins with having a name, which differentiates the self from other objects • Only humans use symbols • We imagine ourselves being others: role-playing
Symbolic interaction theory • We take the actions of ourselves and others into account and take mental notes accordingly • The self can be passive (developed by the way that others see us) and active (an initiator of action - an agent)
Parts of the self (Mead) • The “I”- spontaneous, unpredictable, impulsive; acts without considering social consequences • The “me”- knows the rules of society and attempts to channel the impulses of the “I” into socially acceptable behavior that still meets the “I’s” needs • The “me” requires the ability to take the role of the other
Stages in the development of the self (Mead) • Play - children actually take on the role of particular others, but do not understand complex relationships • Game- children can take the role of multiple others at once and understand the generalized other • Generalized other- a composite of societal expectations • Can now play complex games (e.g., baseball)
The connections of the self to the meso-level • Iowa school • Our sense of self is defined by our social positions within organizations and institutions in society • The self is relatively stable because a core self develops • Because those organizations are so important to our core self, we have a vested interest in their preservation
Socialization throughout the life cycle • Rites of passage occur at most stages • Important because they impact how others perceive the individual, how the individual perceives herself, and what is expected of the individual • Infant - Childhood - Adolescence • Adulthood - Middle Adulthood – Retired and the Elderly - Death and Dying
The process of resocialization • Resocialization- the process of abandoning one or more social positions in favor of others that are more suitable for a newly acquired status • Can be voluntary or non-voluntary
Agents of socialization • Agents are the mechanism through which the self learns the beliefs, values, and behaviors of the culture • The importance of various agents change over the life course • Agents can be formal or informal • Socialization differs by parenting style, social class, race, sex, etc.
Families as agents of socialization • Families use positive and negative sanctions to help teach right from wrong • The amount and type of sanctions differ by family • Family socialization differs by culture • The number of children in a household and birth order can influence individual socializations
Social class and socialization • Social class- the wealth, power, and prestige rankings individuals hold in society • Parents socialize their children to enter into adult roles common to other members of their social class • The unequal distribution of resources in society have an impact on who we become
Electronic media: Meso-level agents within the home • Children in the U.S. spend more time watching television than any other waking activity • What messages do these agents of socialization send to children?