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Socialization: "Learnt Sociality"

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Introduction

Socialization The process of socialization is learnt rather than inherited and involves members of society acquiring the culture of the society in which they grow up in. This lifelong process starts from the time a child is born and continues throughout their entire life. It enables individuals to play a normal role in society by teaching and shaping human behaviour in accordance with the values and norms that are accepted in their community. The primary agencies, and possibly the most important, of socialization are usually the parents and family. They have an intense influence on their children, providing them with the basic cultural skills necessary for future development and progress within society. During early years babies are helpless and cannot survive unaided and it is necessary for parents to teach them the language, appropriate behaviour patterns, and accepted traditions in the culture in which they are born. Infants copy the examples set by their parents and respond to signs of approval or disapproval, such as an approving smile or a disapproving cross voice. This enables children's behaviour to be manipulated so that it conforms to the standards expected of them by their parents and society. Gradually children become self-aware and knowledgeable and take an active role in the socialization process, they are able to act upon what they have learnt, which allows them to increase their social interaction in other areas. ...read more.

Middle

Socialization is the same for both men and women, however the expected behaviour patterns are not. Gender roles vary in different cultures and it is parents and society that teach this. Parents will manipulate children's behaviour to conform to the accepted normal behaviour for a girl or a boy. They will also direct their children towards games and toys considered appropriate for their gender, dolls for girls and guns for boys. Many parents would find it very disturbing if their son were to ask for a doll, this is called canalisation. Parents and adults will also use language appropriate to gender. For example at a recent football match, with my daughters, the man sitting next to my daughter suggested that she placed her hands over her ears when the crowd sang some of the songs, he considered they were not appropriate for her to hear. Gender also affects the activities that are considered appropriate, for girls', netball, dance, and gymnastics and for boys' football, rugby, and cricket. However as sexual discrimination has become a major influence in our culture many of these boundaries are slowly being eroded. In other cultures gender roles vary considerably but through gendered socialization expectations and identities can be clearly defined. There are many norms and values within a society that will differ from one family to the next. ...read more.

Conclusion

One side being egotistical and selfish and the other a belief in moral values. It is this second side that society must manipulate if social order is to be maintained. By general consensus on moral issues individuals can form an integrated social group. If the selfish side was dominant then conflict would result. As Durkheim said 'For where interest is the only ruling force each individual finds himself in a state of war with every other'. He thought that individuals accepted social order because they believed them to be right. Functionalists believe that the social structure is made up of 'interrelated parts' and society has basic requirements that are necessary for its survival, these are known as 'functional prerequisites'. Accepted values, integration, and the maintenance of order, through punishment, are all essential to maintain order and stability. It is the socialization process that makes this possible. There are many conflicting views on how social order is maintained but socialization is necessary if society is to co-operate peacefully. Social behaviour is determined by what we are taught. The transmission of values from one generation to the next by the family, is a fundamental and stabilizing part of the social structure. If individuals were encourage to follow selfish and egotistical pursuits it would cause irreparable damage both to individuals and the social structure. Clearly socialization must teach the individual acceptable behaviour, values and norms if society is to remain harmonious. ...read more.

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