Socialization = lifelong process of internalizing culture and learning necessary behavior to
function in a given society. Learn through social interaction.
internalize = adopting/accepting a group’s set of norms, values, beliefs, etc...
social interaction = interaction between people
Ex. Child raised outside of a society.
Nature vs. Nurture
Nature = hard wired, physical, psychological
Nurture = learned behavior
Studies of twins
Nature’s influence via height, weight, disease, eye vision, etc...
These influence behavior but don’t dictate: ex. Basketball
Exceptions: hormonal behavior (post partum depression, sex drives
Genetic and physical illnesses (Turretz, Down’s)
Psychological illnesses (Clinical depression, ...)
Agents of Socialization
Family, School, Religion, Peers, Media
Much emphasis placed on childhood socialization
ex. Freud, Dr. Drew (MTV)
Sociologists argue that events after childhood have huge influence on who we become/are:
Culture (what we promote, tolerate...) Ex. Drugs, smoking
Struggle and trauma (ex. Death, losing job, financial depression)
All these events shape us and teach us about ourselves and our society
Resocialization + Total Institutions
military, prison, mental hospitals
How Socialization Occurs
George Herbert Mead
socialization = development of the self
self = self image, self-identity, who you are, your values, attitudes, beliefs, preferences
Self = I (individual impulses, desires)
Me (reactions of important people to us and society in general)
Humans learn through self-reflection - we evaluate stimuli and our responses to them
1. We use symbols
Ex. We learn our name, other’s names
We learn that behavior depends on situations: TV on/off, company over, etc...
2. We take the role of other: by putting ourselves in other’s shoes we see how that
person would respond to us if we acted in a given way.
Learn about yourself and other people through this.
Learn to act “appropriately”
3. Looking glass self: we imagine ourselves as other’s see us.
This shapes who want to be, who we try to be
Most people act in such a way to maximize other’s opinions of them
4. The process: increasing social experience/interaction = more socialized/developed
a. infants mimic - recognizing others
b. through interaction realizes “significant others”
c. through interaction with significant others realizes self
d. Through taking the role of other and looking glass learn about self, “roles, status”
Role = behaviors associated with a status
status = social position in a hierarchy
e. through interaction with “generalized other” realizes society, culture
This learning process is different than animals and infants
- learn purely through stimulus/response or through “hard wired” impulses
-no situational awareness
Social Construction of Reality
Through socialization society has power/influence over us, but we have influence over
We create reality through everyday life
Ex. Civil rights
Ex. Sexism - names
Other influences on social behavior
Status: ascribed, achieved, master
Definition of the situation:
Presentation of self - impression management
every interaction has actor(s) and audience
ex. With physicians, boss, advisor
verbal communication: vocabulary, interrupting, pauses,
humor (to save face if subordinate, to dominate by superior)