I’m sure you’ve heard this word before.
But, what if I ask you what it really means? Or, what are the agencies that play a major role in socialization?
If you cannot answer these questions, I suggest you read this article.
How About a Definition of Socialization?
Socialization simply refers to the wide range of ways individuals learn how to be human beings and are taught the basic rules of the society in which we live. It is a process by which human infants start to acquire the necessary skills to perform as fully functional members of the society.
Socialization is known as one of the most critical stages in life as it marks the beginning of learning the society’s customs, attitudes, beliefs, values and cultures. It is a life-long learning process that starts in the womb and ends in the tomb.
To quote Giddens,
“Socialization is the process where the helpless infant gradually becomes a self-aware, knowledgeable person, skilled in the ways of the culture in which he or she was born, Therefore, it can be said that socialization is the means through which society ensures that its culture is passed down from generation to generation.”
Two Forms of Socialization
This crucial phase of life is divided into two important categories:
- Primary Socialization: It is the learning of basic skills which takes place at home. Here, the family is the primary agency that plays the role of teaching how to eat, how to walk and how to talk to an infant.
- Secondary Socialization: Compared to primary socialization which is more intimate and close learning, this one takes place during later years of childhood, where social skills such as norms, cultures and values are learned through agencies like school, peer pressure, mass media, religion and workplace. It is an indirect preparation for future social roles in the society.
Now, let’s talk more about the different agencies of socialization:
I always say this: a child’s first world is that of his family and his first-ever human relationships are with the immediate members of his family like his mother, father and siblings. As the primary agents of the early socialization, the parents play a huge role in guiding the kids into their respective gender roles that are considered appropriate by the society.
There’s no denying that families can teach children important values that the latter will hold throughout their lives.
And, when we talk about a child’s first social contact with the social world, our thoughts are reverted to families who help children attain this objective, teaching them correct patterns of behavior.
And, if we are talking about what’s right or what’s wrong, this is usually taught by parents – through an informal manner – where right or wrong behaviors are approved or rejected with rewards and punishments.
Why do you think parents were chosen as the major agent of socialization?
The answer is pretty oblivious. Families are not only closely related but also more physically close to the children, creating the notion that the environment of the family always influences the way a child grows.
Right after family comes education institutions that take over the charge of socialization. Today, we know that schools do not only teach writing, reading but students are also learning how to develop themselves, discipline themselves and obey rules.
I’m pretty clear on this argument. No matter how many of us try to deny it, religions still play a vital role in shaping individuals’ selves and personalities. It influences the morality of something being understood as right or wrong.
There’s no need to argue. We all agree that in this modern century, mass media is constantly shaping the personalities of people and their image of the world.
For more on socialization, stay tuned for part two.