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3: Socialization and Social Interactions
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- 3.1: Prelude to Socialization and Social Interactions
- Socialization is the term sociologists use to describe the process by which people learn their culture. Socialization occurs in societies big and small, simple and complex, preindustrial and industrial. It happens in the United States, in Brazil, in Saudi Arabia, and in Indonesia. Without socialization we would not learn our culture, and, as the previous chapter indicated, without culture we could not have a society. Socialization, then, is an essential process for any society to be possible.
- 3.2: The Importance of Socialization
- Socialization is the process through which individuals learn their culture and become fully human. Unfortunate examples of extreme human isolation illustrate the importance of socialization for children’s social and cognitive development.
- 3.3: Agents of Socialization
- Several institutional and other sources of socialization exist and are called agents of socialization. The first of these, the family, is certainly the most important agent of socialization for infants and young children.
- 3.4: Explaining Socialization
- Cooley and Mead explained how one’s self-concept and self-image develop. Freud focused on the need to develop a proper balance among the id, ego, and superego. Piaget wrote that cognitive development among children and adolescents occurs from four stages of social interaction. Kohlberg wrote about stages of moral development and emphasized the importance of formal rules, while Gilligan emphasized that girls’ moral development takes into account personal relationships. Erikson’s theory of identit
- 3.5: Resocialization and Total Institutions
- Some people live in settings where their lives are so controlled that their values and beliefs change drastically. This change is so drastic, in fact, that these people are in effect resocialized. Such resocialization occurs in what Erving Goffman called total institutions. As their name implies, these institutions have total control over the lives of the people who live in them.
- 3.6: Social Interaction
- If socialization results from our social interaction with others, it is also true that we learn how to interact from our socialization. We have seen many examples of this process in this and previous chapters. Among other things, we learn how far apart to stand when talking to someone else, we learn to enjoy kissing, we learn how to stand and behave in an elevator, and we learn to shake hands when greeting someone.
- 3.S: Socialization and Social Interactions (Summary)