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assess sociological views of socialisation

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Introduction

Assess sociological views of socialisation Most sociologists believe you have to learn how to fit into society, e.g. learn how to behave and what to believe. This process is called socialisation. It begins in childhood (primary socialisation) and continues throughout life (secondary socialisation). As usual in sociology, there are different views about how it all works. Primary socialisation comes first. In early childhood, individuals learn the skills, knowledge, norms and values of society. This all happens in three ways. Firstly, children internalise norms and values by imitating their parents/guardians. Secondly, children are rewarded for socially acceptable behaviour. Lastly; Children are punished for socially "deviant" behaviour. Primary socialisation is often seen as the most important because evidence shows that children who are deprived of social contact during development often can't function as social adults. In 1970, an American girl known as "Genie" was discovered. She'd been locked up by her father for her first 13 years and never managed to recognise even basic social norms. ...read more.

Middle

Peer groups are made up of people of similar social status. The peer group can influence norms and values. This can be towards conformity (doing what society likes) or deviance (doing what society doesn't like). Youth subcultures sometimes encourage deviant behaviour, like joyriding. Another agent of secondary socialisation is religion. Religion often provides social norms and values. Most religions oppose theft and murder, and teach respect for elders. However, the mass media is also an agent and are powerful in shaping norms and values in the audience. Some sociologists (e.g. Althusser) argue that the media have now replaced religion in secondary socialisation. As a further agent, the workplace socialisation involves learning the norms and values that enable people to join the world of work, such as being on time and obeying the boss. Socialisation is the process that turns individuals into members of a social culture. According to some sociological perspectives, an important result of socialisation is that each individual ends up with a number of roles. ...read more.

Conclusion

The functionalist Durkheim calls this constraint. If it weren't for internalised norms and values, people would do what they liked. Internalised norms and values are like having a little police officer inside your head, stopping you from doing wrong and crazy things. Functionalists say that socialisation creates a consensus, where everyone has the same values and norms. It's important for people to conform to the norms and values of society. When people conform to the expectations, they're rewarded. When people don't conform to social expectations, they're punished. Sociologists call these punishments sanctions. Sociologists call behaviour which doesn't conform to society's expectations deviant. There are two types of social control. Formal social control is where rules imposed by agents of social control such as the police, the courts and the army. E.g. if you stole some money, you could be punished with a prison sentence. Informal social control is where norms and values reinforced by the family, education, media, workplace and peers. E.g. if you refused to contribute to a friend's leaving present, you might get disapproving looks and comments from other people. As we can see, there are many views about socialisation. ...read more.

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