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Sociology: A Brief Introduction, 4/e
Richard T. Schaefer, DePaul University

Socialization

Learning Objectives

Socialization is the process whereby people learn the attitudes, values, and actions appropriate for members of a particular culture. This chapter examined the role of socialization in human development; the way in which people develop perceptions, feelings, and beliefs about themselves; the lifelong nature of the socialization process; and the important agents of socialization.

After studying this chapter you should be able to understand the following:


1

Socialization affects the overall cultural practices of a society, and it also shapes the images that we hold of ourselves.

2

Heredity and environmental factors interact in influencing the socialization process. Sociobiology is the systematic study of the biological bases of social behavior.

3

In the early 1900s, Charles Horton Cooley advanced the belief that we learn who we are by interacting with others, a phenomenon he calls the looking-glass self.

4

George Herbert Mead, best known for his theory of the self, proposed that as people mature, their selves begin to reflect their concern about reactions from others-both generalized others and significant others.

5

Erving Goffman has shown that many of our daily activities involve attempts to convey distinct impressions of who we are, a process called impression management.

6

Socialization proceeds throughout the life course. Some societies mark stages of development with formal rites of passage. In the culture of the United States, significant events such as marriage and parenthood serve to change a person's status.

7

As the primary agents of socialization, parents play a critical role in guiding children into those gender roles deemed appropriate in a society.

8

Like the family, schools in the United States have an explicit mandate to socialize people-and especially children-into the norms and values of our culture.

9

Peer groups and the mass media, especially television, are important agents of socialization for adolescents.

10

We are most fully exposed to occupational roles through observing the work of our parents, of people whom we meet while they are performing their duties, and of people portrayed in the media.

11

The state shapes the socialization process by regulating the life course and by influencing our views of appropriate behavior at particular ages.

12

As more and more mothers of young children have entered the labor market of the United States, the demand for child care has increased dramatically, posing policy questions for nations around the world.