socialization(redirected from Agents of Socialization)
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- (also called ENCULTURATION) the process in which the CULTURE of a society is transmitted to children; the modification from infancy of an individual's behaviour to conform with the demands of social life (see ACCULTURATION). In this sense, socialization is a FUNCTIONAL PREREQUISITE for any society, essential to any social life, as well as to the cultural and SOCIAL REPRODUCTION of both general and particular social forms. As emphasized by PARSONS and Bales (1955), socialization, undertaken in the FAMILY and elsewhere, involves both integration into society (ROLES, INSTITUTIONS, etc.) and the differentiation of one individual from another.
- the replacement of private ownership of the means of production by PUBLIC OWNERSHIP.
- (MARXISM) the tendency of capitalist production increasingly to depend on collective organization (e.g. the interrelation of many different processes). This is one important reason why MARX expected a transition to SOCIALISM (and common ownership of the means of production) ultimately to occur.
Because it is concerned with relationships between the individual and society, it is clear that socialization in this sense is a concept that bridges the disciplines of sociology and PSYCHOLOGY. Theories of socialization have concentrated on:
- cognitive development (e.g. PIAGET);
- acquisition of moral and personal identity through family relationships (e.g. FREUD);
- the acquisition of the SELF concept and social identity (e.g.G. H. MEAD);
- internalization of the moral categories and values of the group (e.g. DURKHEIM);
- the development of social skills which sustain interaction in all settings, chief of which is linguistic communication, through which the social and physical environment are appropriated and interpreted (e.g. BERNSTEIN).
A distinction is also sometimes drawn between two forms of socialization:
- the process involved in becoming an adult social being, with the focus largely on childhood - primary socialization; and
- the more general processes through which culture is transmitted (e.g. adult peers, media of communication, etc.) – secondary socialization.
According to D. Wrong (1961), it is useful to distinguish between these two forms of socialization 1 , but it is essential that the active, purposeful and reflexive dimensions of socialization, of relations between self and others, should be acknowledged for both forms of socialization (see OVERSOCIALIZED CONCEPTION OF MAN). See also NATURE–NURTURE DEBATE, DEVELOPMENT, LOOKING-GLASS SELF.
the process by which an individual acquires specific knowledge and values and accepts standards that enable him to function as a full and equal member of society. Socialization includes the socially imposed processes of the purposeful shaping of personality (upbringing) as well as the inherent and spontaneous processes that affect the formation of personality.
There is a wide range of theories on socialization. Some investigators consider man to be a biological entity whose innate forms of behavior and instincts become adapted to social conditions (Freudianism), whereas others view personality as a passive product of social influences. According to the Marxist concept, socialization must be studied phylogenetically and ontogenetically. In the former the development of the generic properties of mankind are studied, and in the latter the development of a specific type of personality. Socialization is not merely the sum of the external influences that regulate the manifestation of an individual’s immanent biopsychological impulses and drives but also the process of the formation of an integrated personality. Individuality is not the precondition but the result of socialization. The substance, stages, and specific mechanisms of socialization are historical in nature; they differ greatly from one society to another and are determined by a society’s socioeconomic structure.
Socialization is not just the direct interaction of individuals but is also the total aggregate of social relationships, including those that are the most deep-seated and indirect. It is not a mechanical imposition of a ready social form on an individual. While the individual is the object of socialization, he is also the subject of social action and the initiator and creator of new social forms. The success of socialization therefore depends on the extent to which an individual is involved in the creative social action that transforms society through the elimination of obsolete norms, morals, and customs.
The different aspects of socialization are studied by psychology (the mechanisms of behavior and the learning process at different stages of the life cycle), social psychology (the socializing function of immediate surroundings and interpersonal relationships), sociology (the interrelationship between socialization processes and institutions in a macrosystem), history and ethnography (comparative historical studies of socialization in different societies and cultures), and pedagogy (upbringing).
REFERENCESVygotskii, L. S. Razvitie vysshikh psikhicheskikh funktsii. Moscow, 1960.
Kon, I. S. Sotsiologiia lichnosti. Moscow, 1967.
Bueva, L. P. Sotsial’naia sreda i soznanie lichnosti. Moscow, 1968.
Leont’ev, A. N. Problemy razvitiiapsikhiki, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1972.
Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research. Edited by D. A. Goslin. Chicago, 1969.
I. S. KON