Sociology Index


Socialization is a process of social interaction and communication in which an individual comes to learn and internalize the culture of their society. While socialization refers to the general process of acquiring culture, anthropologists use the term enculturation for the process of being socialized to a particular culture. Acquiring alien culture through socialization is acculturation. Successful socialization can result in uniformity within a society. If all children receive the same socialization, it is likely that they will share the same beliefs and expectations. Socialization begins immediately at birth, with the conditioning influences of infant handling, and continues throughout an individual's lifetime. Even insignificant actions of parents can have major impacts on the socialization of their children.

Society provides us justifications for our systems of socialization, social control and stratification. Sociologists use the term sociological imagination to describe the ability to see the impact of these socialization processes on our private lives. Most of the crucial early socialization throughout the world is done informally under the supervision of women and girls. In the initial stages of life, mothers and their female relatives are primarily responsible for socialization.

During socialization, girls learn how to be daughters, sisters, friends, wives, and mothers. In addition to socialization, they learn about the occupational roles that their society has in store for them. We also learn and usually adopt our culture's norms through the socialization process.

Gender socialization is the process through which children learn about the social expectations, attitudes and behaviors associated with one’s gender. Gender awareness, in combination with an early exposure to gender from multiple sources of socialization such as parents, siblings and peers, has immediate consequences on children’s attitudes and behaviors toward members of their own and other-gender group. We carry out social control and reproducing the stratification system. Sociologists use the term the social construction of reality to describe how people build the social world.

Sociologists recognize the limitless variety of individual experiences of socialization, but have given much attention to general patterns of socialization found in individual societies and groups within them. The sociological use of the term socialization refers to the learning and absorption of culture and not simply to the process of interacting with others. Socialization is also sometimes used to refer to the collective ownership and management of economic resources.

Socialization Books

Handbook of Socialization: Theory and Research by Joan E. Grusec and Paul D. Hastings.

Family: Socialization and Interaction Process - Robert F. Bales.

A Complementary Perspective to Primary Socialization Theory
David N. Nurco, D.S.W., Monroe Lerner, Ph.D., L.H.D. (Hon.) Abstract: Primary socialization theory as formulated by Oetting and his associates emphasizes the transmission of societal norms during childhood and adolescence within society's three major socializing agencies: family, school, and small, intimate peer groups.

Personality traits and other personal characteristics influence negative outcomes, such as deviant behavior or drug abuse, only to the extent that they interfere with socialization to family or school. Our own research does not address primary socialization theory directly in that we have not focused on the transmission of norms per se as central.

Our research has supported the hypotheses of primary socialization theory, ever extending them in specific areas, such as the importance of family influences as etiological factors. Primary socialization theory leaves some gaps requiring further elucidation.