Socialization: Meaning and Stages; Agencies of Socialization; theories of socialization

Socialization: Meaning and Stages; Agencies of Socialization; theories of socialization

Socialization is the lifelong process through which individuals acquire the cultural norms, values, behaviors, and social skills necessary for effective participation in society, involving stages such as primary, secondary, and anticipatory socialization, influenced by various agencies like family, education, peers, and media, with theories including the perspectives of symbolic interactionism, functionalism, and conflict theory.

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Socialization refers to the process by which individuals learn the culture of their society. It involves learning the norms, values, behavior patterns, and social skills that enable them to become functioning members of their society.

Stages of socialization

  1. Childhood: Early childhood experiences in the family are important for development of trust, empathy, and basic cultural values. Educational institutions later provide rules and regulations.

  2. Adolescence: Peer groups gain importance, providing the sense of belonging. Experiments with identity, shaping values and beliefs.

  3. Adulthood: Socialization continues in places like workplace and community groups, taking on roles and obligations. Parenthood brings another dimension of socialization.

  4. Old age: Adjustment to loss of work role, physical changes, and preparation for death. Maintaining social interactions remains important.

Agencies of Socialization

  • Family: Primary agent of socialization shaping basic personality. Teaches language, cultural values and norms.

  • Schools: Formal education in educational system, controlled environment for socialization into skills and values.

  • Peer groups: Strong socialization force especially in adolescence providing opportunities of intimate interaction.

  • Mass media: Exposure to messages and symbols reflecting values and norms. Role modelling by media personalities.

  • Workplace: Adjustment to expected behaviour patterns in the workplace culture. Adoption of professional ethics.

Theories of Socialization

  • Functional theory: Emphasis on role of socialization in contuinity of society by transmitting shared cultural values.

  • Conflict theory: Concerned with use of socialization to perpetuate inequalities and the role of human agency.

  • Symbolic interactionism: Focuses on interaction between individuals and groups in construction of self-concept and meanings.

  • Ethnomethodology: Emphasizes everyday micro-interactions and communications through which shared societal understanding is created.

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