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Sources of socialization

1.  The family:

–   Children are born into families, and it is within the family context that they obtain their first exposure to the values, norms, beliefs and knowledge characteristics of their society. Parents significantly affect their children’s outlook on such wide-ranging issues as gender role identify, alcohol and drug abuse, achievement and aggression. Sometimes family influences involving distinctive patterns of facial and bodily expression or behavioral patterns are readily apparent. People often contend that a particular approach to rearing children is best. Children do not need exposure  to a particular set of socialization patterns to develop properly, most children grow up to be relatively well adjusted, productive adults

One psychologist has concluded, to ask what a child needs is to pose half a question. We must always specify the demands the community will make upon the adolescence and young adults. Thus the child rearing will prepare them for society.

2.  Mass Media

–  The mass media are the instruments of communication that reach a large audience without any personal contact between the senders and the receivers. Books, records, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and movies are the most prominent mass media. All of these are sending messages to people in an attempt to influence their behavior – to buy certain vote for certain leaders, to attend specific sports functions and entertainments, even to think in certain ways. People are often unaware of the effect of this information that is constantly being sent their way

The unfortunate side of this mass media information is that it is not always in the best interests of people to pay attention to the messages, E.g. if a person sees an advertisement on TV for a beautiful new car, he may be led to believe that he really needs this car when he cannot financially afford it. Television and other commercial media are profit-oriented. TV network and local channels, radio station, newspapers and magazines sell time or space to advertisers, whose investment proves worthwhile only if large audience pays attention to the medium

3.  Peers

–   Young people of school age spend an average of twice as much time with their peers (children their own age) as they do with parents, and the fact that they like this arrangement, underlines the significance of teenage peer groups. Whether we applaud or condemn the influence of young people’s peer groups, we might wonder why they have become so important. The sociological perspective, which neither applauds nor condemns that influence, examines the social world in which modern young people live and observes that in a highly complex industrial society. Some families turn over many of their primary functions, such as moral training, to the schools. Within the school, a close, emotional relationship is unlikely to develop between adolescent students and their teachers. Student must look to their own age group for much of their emotional support and guidance 

4.  Schools and day-care centre

  • Schools:

–  The first day of school is an important moment sociologically. When they enter school, children encounter for the first time a significant source of socialization outside the bounds of the family.

They receive formal knowledge from teachers and from books in the school. They are likely to obtain more distinct emphasis on patriotism than is normally provided at home. They learn how to behave in group settings. They learn to sit quietly and to obey teachers providing instructions whether the instructions make sense or not. They are also encouraged to compete, to attempt to produce higher quality work than do their classmates. They develop a body of criticism concerning the regimentation in the early school years.

  • Day Care Centers:

It is necessary for the working parents of preschool children who have physical and emotional disabilities. The issue of day care has produced a great deal of controversy and confusion. The basic questions regarding confusion are: Whether or not day care is harmful for children. E.g. A recent study concluded that once in kindergarten, children who had been in day care centers and those who had been in family care showed no significant differences in adaptive behavior, communication skills, daily living abilities and motor skills. On the other hand, a pair of prominent sociologists indicated that  separation  from intimate family ties  and the rapid turnover  of personnel  that occurs in  many  day care programs may have  a negative  impact on  children’s development.

5.   Additional agents of socialization

 a. Institutional “caretakers”:

  • Staff members provide significant socialization for orphans, juvenile delinquents and mentally and physically handicapped children.
  • The fact that these staff members are frequently overworked generally means that the quality of socialization they can provide would be considered quite inadequate by most people.

b. Social workers:

Individuals of various ages often receive help from such organizations as programs for the elderly; centers for the treatment of drug abuse and social welfare departments.

In some cases, insightful staff person (or the opposite – a cold, uncaring individual) can have an impact out of proportion to the time and energy spent with the person needing help.

c. Community Members:

 Sometimes people will encounter individuals whose guidance or example may lead them to decisions about their best future course of action.

 E.g. A charming, articulate professor or physician may inspire a young woman or man to prepare for the same profession.

Sources of Resocialization

Total Institutions:

These are concerned with resocialization.

–  A total institution is a place of residence where inhabitants experience nearly complete restriction of their physical freedom in order to be effectively resocialized into a radically new identity and behavioral pattern.

–   Resocialization is the process of learning totally new patterns of behavior.

–   Such barriers are: locked doors, high walls, water, cliffs or barbed wire.

– These are used to prevent unrestricted contacts with outsiders. E.g. Psychiatric hospitals, prisons, monasteries, boarding schools and some army camps.

–  There is usually an abundance of new rules for the person to learn and practice in order to fit in the new culture. 


                                                       Dr. Rajha Abdul-Hassan

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