Some of a person’s behaviour is natural while most of the behaviour is ‘learnt’. When a child comes in the world, he/she is gradually moulded in society into a social being and learns social ways of acting and feeling. His/her existence in the society becomes impossible without this process. This process of moulding and shaping the personality of the human infant is called ‘socialization’. In general ‘Socialization’ is a social training by which every society prescribes its own ways and means of giving social training to its new born members so that they may develop their own personality.
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Socialization is often referred to as the ‘transmission of culture’, the process by which people learn the rules and practices of social groups. Just as we learn a game by playing it, so we learn life by engaging in it. Socialization is definitely a matter of learning and not of biological inheritance. People become what they are by socialization. Through the process of socialization the individual becomes a social person and attains personality. Socialization is the process whereby the individual acquires the conventional patterns of human behaviour. Every person tries to adjust himself/herself to the condition and environment predominantly determined by the society of which he/she is a member. If he/she fails to do so, he/she becomes a social deviant and is brought back into the line by the efforts of the group of which he/she is a member. This process is knows as socialization. It is the opposite of individualization. Some definitions of socialization by different sociologists are given below:
Bogardus: Socialization is the process of working together, of developing group responsibility, or being guided by the welfare needs of others.
W.F. Ogburn: Socialization is the process by which the individual learns to conform to the norms of the group.
Peter Worsley explains socialization as the process of transmission of culture, the process whereby men learn the rules and practices of social groups.
Harry M. Johnson understands socialization as learning that enables the learner to perform social roles. He further says that it is a process by which individuals acquire the already existing culture of groups they come into.
Lundberg says that socialization consists of the complex processes of interaction through which the individual learns the habits, beliefs, skills and standards of judgement that are necessary for his effective participation in social groups and communities.
Some terms in sociology relating to socialization:
Sociality: It is the capacity to mix with others, to enter into relations with them easily and comfortably.
Socialism: It is a theory of future structure of society.
Maturation: Maturation refers to the physical and chemical processes of development over which people have comparatively little control.
2. THE PROCESS OF SOCIALIZATION
Socialization is a process of transforming the human animal into a human being, of converting the biological being into a social being. It is said that the working of the process of socialization starts long before the child is born. The direct socialization begins only after birth.
Factors of the Process of Socialization
There are four factors of this process of learning. These are imitation, suggestion, identification and language.
Imitation: Imitation is copying of the actions of another by an individual. In imitation the person imitating performs exactly the same activity as the one being performed before him. It is the main factor in the process of socialization of the child. Through imitation a child learns many social behaviour patterns. Language and pronunciation are acquired by the child only through imitation.
Suggestion: McDougall defines suggestion as the process of communication resulting in the acceptance with conviction of the communicated proposition in the absence of logically adequate grounds for its acceptance. Suggestion is the process of communicating information which has no logical or self-evident basis. It may be conveyed through language, pictures or some other similar medium. Suggestion influences not only behaviour with others but also one’s own private and individual behaviour.
Identification: A child cannot make any distinction between his/her organism and environment in his/her early age. At that time most of his/her actions are random of which he/she is not conscious. As the child grows in age, he/she comes to know of the nature of things which satisfy his/her needs and such things become the object of his/her identification. The speed and area of identification increase with the growth in age and through identification the child becomes sociable.
Language: As we all know, language is the medium of social intercourse and the means of cultural transmission. At first a child utters syllables having no meaning but gradually the child comes to learn his/her mother-tongue. The language moulds the personality of the individual from infancy.
Theories of Socialization
The heart of socialization is the development of the self. Gardner Murphy has defined self as “the individual as known to the individual”. The self of a person is what he/she consciously or unconsciously conceives himself/herself to be. There are mainly three important theories to explain the development of self.
(a) C.H. Cooley’s Theory of ‘Looking-Glass Self’
According to him, one develops the concept of self with the help of others. One does not come to form opinions about himself/herself unless and until he/she comes into contact with other people and knows their opinions about him/her. Just as the picture in the mirror gives an image of the physical self, so the perception of others gives an image of social self. There are three principal elements of the looking-glass concept, they are:
The imagination of our appearance to the other person
The imagination of his judgement of that (imagined) appearance.
Some kind of self-feeling such as pride or mortification.
The individual develops the idea of self through contact with the primary group, particularly with the members of the family. Thus, the child’s view of himself/herself may be affected by the kind of name given by his family or friends. For example, a child called ‘angel’ by his mother gets a notion of himself which differs from that of a child called ‘rascal’. Cooley concludes that ‘the self is social and that self-consciousness would not exist in the absence of society”.
(b) George Herbert Mead’s Theory of ‘Self’
Mead has stated, ‘the individual, largely through interaction, becomes aware of himself/herself’. He has said that the individual in order to get a picture of himself/herself plays the roles of others. In seeing himself/herself as others see him/her, the individual is actually putting himself/herself in the place of others, and imagining what their response might be.
A new-born infant depends upon his/her mother for his/her needs and identifies himself/herself with her emotionally. Eventually the child differentiates himself/herself from the mother and comes to know the role of the father. The child then differentiates his/her father from his/her mother and then integrates him into the social system.
The child learns at an early age that one of the most important ways of controlling his destiny is to influence the feelings of others towards him/her.
(c) Freud and His Concept of the Human Mind
Sigmund Freud, the father of psycho-analysis has explained the process of socialization in terms of his concepts of Id, Ego and Super ego which constitute the three systems of mind.
The id is concerned only with satisfying the animal impulses of a person.
The ego serves as the mediator between desire and action. It represses the urges of the id when necessary.
The super ego always holds up the behaviour norms of society. It provides the ego the idea of moral and immoral and this in turn intervenes with the id.
According to Freud, the individual’s super ego is a reflection of his parents’ standards of right and wrong. Thus, logically the child, in its socialization process adopts the norms of conduct of the society through the super ego.
3. AGENCIES OF SOCIALIZATION
The process of socialization is operative throughout life. What a child is going to be is more important than what he is. It is socialization which turns the child into a useful member of the society and gives him/her social maturity. The chief agencies of socialization are the following:
The Family: The process of socialization begins for every one of us in the family. They are not only closely related to the child but physically also they are nearer to the child than others. The child learns respect for persons in authority. The environment of a family influences the growth of a child. Of the parents it is the mother who first begins the process of socialization.
The School: The school is the second agency of socialization. The education the child gets in the school moulds hi/her ideas and attitudes. Education is of great importance in socialization. The communication they receive from their teachers help to socialize them and to make them finally mature members of their societies.
The Playmates or Friends: The relation between a child and his/her playmates is one of equality. It is based on cooperation and mutual understanding. The child acquires something from his/her friends and playmates which he cannot acquire from parents. From the friends the child acquires cooperative morality and some of the informal aspects of culture like fashions, fads, crazes, modes of gratification and forbidden knowledge. The knowledge of such things is necessary from the social point of view.
The Church: Though in modern society the importance of religion has diminished, yet it continues to mould our beliefs and ways of life. When a child sees his/her parents going to the temple and performing religious ceremonies, he/she listens to the religious sermons which may determine his course of life and shape his ideas.
The State: The state makes laws for the people and lays down the modes of conduct expected of them. If people fail to adjust their behaviour in accordance with the laws of the state, they may be punished for such failure. Hence the state also moulds our behaviour.
4. ELEMENTS OF SOCIALIZATION
There are there elements which play their part in the socialization process of the individual, they are:
The physical and psychological heritage of the individual.
The environment in which he is born, and
Culture in which he is because of the action and interaction between these elements.
5. ROLE OF SOCIALIZATION
Socialization is the most important factor in personality development. Some importances of socialization are listed below:
Socialization converts a person, the biological being into a person, the social being.
Socialization contributes to the development of personality.
It helps to become disciplined.
It helps to enact different roles.
It provides the knowledge of skills.
It helps to develop right aspiration in life.
It contributes of the stability of the social order.
Socialization helps to reduce social distance.
It provides scope for building the bright future.
It helps the transmission of culture.
6. SOCIALIZATION OF ADULTS
Socialization is a life-long process. At no point in the life of a person it comes to an end. The socialization of adults is easier than the socialization of children.
The socialization of adults can be a prolonged and a tough process. This is particularly so when the skills to be learnt are complex and the responsibilities of the role are heavy. Generally adult socialization is designed to help the person gain specific skills.
Generally speaking, individualization is the opposite of socialization. It is that social process which tends to make the individuals more or less independent of their own. Individualization is the process in which people come to know themselves and acquire the sense of inner responsibility. Socialization brings people into relation with others; individualization makes him autonomous or self-determining.
It is the process carried through by the individual and the society, and is primarily a mental process which is being spread through the prevailing ideas.
Aspects of Individualization
Mannheim has distinguished four main aspects of individualization. These aspects are:
Individualization as a process of learning different from other people: The external differentiation of individuals leads to the formation of new groups. The people isolated from other people develop different types of personality.
Individualization on the level of new forms of self regarding attitudes: The individualization comes to feels himself/herself as superior and separate from others and evaluates himself/herself in high terms. The person begins to regard his/her life and character as unique.
Individualization through objects: Some people have a fixed feeling towards certain people and objects. Many factors influence the individual choice such as wealth or the process of modern production and distribution. Family conditions also shape the wishes of the individual.
Individualization as a kind of deepening into ourselves: The feeling of solitary can develop a feeling of privacy and partial isolation in an individual. It leads to introspection which is again another from of individualization.
The importance of socialized attitudes cannot be minimized in a society. A person with socialized attitudes would no do any work which is socially harmful. A socialized citizen would place human welfare above his individual gain. He would put human values above all else. Modern society has still to solve some basic problems of socialization at all stages of childhood and youth. The improvement of socialization offers one of the greatest possibilities for the future alteration of human nature and human society.
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