Socialization
What happens in socialization is that the social world is
internalized within the child. The same process, though perhaps
weaker in quality, occurs every time the adult is initiated into a
new social context or a new social group. Society, then, is not
only something “out there,” in the Durkheimian sense, but it is
also “in here,” part of our innermost being.
Peter L. Berger, Invitation to Sociology
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Socialization: The Key to Our
Humanity and personality
• Socialization is the lifelong social experience
by which individuals develop their human
potential and learn culture.
• Social experience is also the foundation for the
personality, a person’s fairly consistent
patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Socialization: The Key to Our
Humanity and personality
 In the nineteenth century there was an intense debate
regarding the relative importance of nature (biology) and
nurture (socialization) in the shaping of human behavior.
Modern sociologists view nurture as much more important
than nature in shaping human behavior.
 Studies of twins (including identical twins) shows that
socialization and heredity both contribute to human
development
The Nature vs Nurture debate continues
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Socialization: The Key to Our
Humanity and personality
• Research on the effects of social isolation has
demonstrated the importance of socialization.
All the evidence points to the crucial role in
social development in forming personality.
• Harry and Margaret Harlow’s experimental
work with rhesus monkeys.
• Studies of isolated children such as Anna,
Isabelle, and Genie
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Creating a sense of self : Cooley
• The Self and Socialization
• The formation of the self – the set of concepts we use in
defining who we are – is a central part of the
socialization process.
• The self emerges in the course of interaction with other
people and represents the ideas we have regarding our
attributes, capacities, and behavior. It typically includes
an egocentric bias.
• Charles Horton Cooley’s notion of the looking-glass
self highlights the point of view that our consciousness
arises in a social context –, the idea that self-image is
based on how others respond to us.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Creating a sense of self : Mead
• George Herbert Mead maintained that we gain a sense
of self by acting toward ourselves in much the same
fashion that we act toward others.
• Mead envisioned this process as a series of
stages: In the play stage, the child plays roles
modeled on significant others;
• followed by the game stage and then the
generalized other stage.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Creating a sense of self : Mead
● The self is a dimension of personality composed of an
individual’s self-awareness and self-image.
● It emerges from social experience.
● This social experience is based on the exchange of
symbols.
● Understanding someone’s intentions requires imagining
the situation from that person’s point of view, a process
called taking the role of the other.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Creating a sense of self : Mead
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
The “I” is the self as subject.
The “me” is the self as object.
The self develops through several stages:
Imitation.
Play, in which children take the roles of significant others.
Games, in which they take the roles of several other people at the
same time.
Acquisition of the generalized other, defined as widespread
cultural norms and values we use as references in evaluating
ourselves.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Creating a sense of self : Mead
• He may be criticized for ignoring the role of biology in the
development of the self.
• Self-image is differentiated from self-conception. Self-esteem
is governed by reflected appraisals, social comparisons, and
self-attribution. Personal efficacy is another aspect of selfevaluation
• Conclusion: Mead showed that symbolic interaction is the
foundation of both self and society
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Creating a sense of self : Goffman
Erving Goffman emphasized the presentation of self through
a process he called impression management; his point of
view is embodied in what Goffman called the
dramaturgical approach.
He studied a series of total institutions starting with a mental
hospital
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Creating a sense of self : Goffman
• Dramaturgical approach: studies interaction as
if we were all actors on a stage
• Impression management: altering presentation
of self to create distinctive appearances and
satisfy particular audiences
– Face-work: efforts people make to maintain a
proper image and avoid public
embarrassment
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Creating a sense of self: Freud
Sigmund Freud’s theory of Personality
● The personality is shaped by two opposed forces:
eros, the life instinct, and thanatos, the death instinct.
● The personality includes three basic components:
The id, the human being’s basic drives.
The ego, a person’s conscious efforts to balance innate
pleasure-seeking drives with the demands of society.
Note who different this is from the contemporary
use of “having a big ego” which really means a
very positive self image
● The superego, the operation of culture within the individual
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Creating a sense of self: Freud
• Freud believed that we internalize norms and his
idea that childhood experiences have lasting
importance in the socialization process remain
critical.
 Some of his work has been criticized as reflecting a sexist
bias.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Stages of Personality Development :
Kai Erickson
Stage 1 — Infancy: the challenge of trust (versus
mistrust).
Stage 2 — Toddlerhood: the challenge of autonomy
(versus doubt and shame).
Stage 3 — Preschool: the challenge of initiative
(versus guilt).
Stage 4 — Preadolescence: the challenge of
industriousness (versus inferiority).
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Stages of Personality Development :
Kai Erickson
 Stage 5 Adolescence: the challenge of gaining
identity (versus confusion)
 Stage 6 —Young adulthood: the challenge of
intimacy (versus isolation).
Stage 7 — Middle adulthood: the challenge of
making a difference
(versus self-absorption).
 Stage 8 — Old age: the challenge of integrity (versus
despair).
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Stages of Personality Development :
Jean Piaget
• Piaget identified four stages of cognitive development
– sensorimotor stage, the level of human development in
which individuals experience the world only through
sensory contact
– preoperational stage, the level of human development in
which individuals first use language and other symbols.
– concrete operational stage, the level of development at
which individuals first perceive causal connections in their
surroundings.
– formal operational stage, the level of human development
at which individuals think abstractly and critically.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Stages of Personality Development :
Jean Piaget
• Piaget showed that human beings’ ability to shape
their social world unfolds gradually as the result of
both biological maturation and social experience.
• His theory may not apply to people in a
society.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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•
Primary interest in Moral development.
• Kohlberg suggests that the moral development of
children passes through 3 stage
• preconventional,
• conventional,
• postconventional stages.
• Kohlberg’s model presents moral development in
distinct stages.
• Critique: his theory is based on research using
exclusively male subjects.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Stages of Personality Development :
Carol Gilligan
•
Primary interest: The gender factor
• Gilligan found that boys’ moral
development reflects a justice model which
stresses formal rules, whereas girls put
more emphasis on caring and responsibility
and less on the rules.
• Critique; Gilligan’s work enhances our
understanding of gender issues.
• However, she does not adequately
address the issue of the origin of the
gender-based differences that she has
identified.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Socialization and the Life Cycle
• Socialization throughout The life cycle
– Socialization is a continuing, life-long process. All
societies have to deal with the life cycle that begins with
conception and ends with death.
– Role socialization involves anticipatory socialization,
altering roles, and exiting from roles.
– The life cycle consists of childhood, adolescence, young
adulthood, middle adulthood, later adulthood, and death
– Americans are grappling with the issue of euthanasia, and
the hospice movement provides a more humane approach
to the dying experience.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Theories of Socialization Erickson
•
•
Resocialization: Total Institutions.
– Total institutions are settings in which people are isolated from
the rest of society and manipulated by an administrative staff.
– Their purpose is resocialization: radically altering an inmate’s
personality through deliberate control of the environment.
– This is a two-stage process:
• The staff breaks down the new inmate’s existing identity.
• The staff tries to build a new self.
Social interaction is the process by which people act and react in
relation to others. Social structure guides human behavior rather
than rigidly determining it.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Socialization and the Life Cycle
• And don’t forget the process of socialization into specific
institutions such as schools, Jobs, the Military.
• Although linked to the biological process of aging, essential
characteristics of each stage of the life course are socially
constructed.
• Each stage presents characteristic problems and transitions that
involve learning something new and, in many cases,
unlearning what has become familiar.
• General patterns relating to age are always modified by social
variables such as race and gender.
• People’s life experiences vary depending on when they were
born. A cohort is a category of people with a common
characteristic, usually their age.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Socialization and the Life Cycle
• Childhood became an increasingly separate phase of
life with industrialization; it is currently becoming
shorter.
– Child Labor: Industrialization prolongs childhood and
discourages children from work.
– Adolescence is often a period of social and emotional
turmoil reflecting cultural inconsistency. It is a time of
social contradictions when people are no longer children
but not yet adults. Like all phases of the life course, it
varies with class position.
– Adolescence and the Development of Self Among High
School Students: Adolescence is a time when people are
concerned about identity. Grace Kao documented the
importance of racial and ethnic stereotypes in students’
developing sense of self.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Socialization and the Life Cycle
• Adulthood is divided into several stages:
– Early adulthood involves working toward goals set
earlier in life.
– Middle adulthood is characterized by greater
reflectiveness.
– Old age begins in the mid-sixties. The U.S. is
currently experiencing an increase in the elderly
population.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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Socialization and the Life Cycle
• Death and Dying
• Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identifies five stages in coming to accept
death:
•
•
•
•
•
denial,
anger,
negotiation,
resignation
acceptance.
• Today fear and anxiety about death are common, but greater
acceptance is likely in the future.
© Copyright 2010 Alan S. Berger
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