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Socialization and the Life Cycle. Socialization The process by which humans become self- aware and knowledgeable about the culture in which they were.

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Presentation on theme: "Socialization and the Life Cycle. Socialization The process by which humans become self- aware and knowledgeable about the culture in which they were."— Presentation transcript:

1 Socialization and the Life Cycle

2 Socialization The process by which humans become self- aware and knowledgeable about the culture in which they were born. Social reproduction is the process by which societies have structural continuity over time through continual socialization. Children learn through their elders which perpetuates and continues the values, norms and social practices of the older generation. This causes social behavior changes in society to be very gradual generally.

3 Socialization cont. There are certain changes in society that occur very abruptly which can sometimes cause a backlash. The development of the internet is one example of this.

4 Child Development Cognition is the ways in which children learn to think about themselves and their environment. George Herbert Mead argued that children develop their sense of self through “taking the role of the other.”(imitating others) The social self or me is how children come to see themselves through the eyes of others. Self- consciousness develops from this social self. This is different than the I which is the unsocialized infant who cries out for what they want according to Mead.

5 Mead cont. Children develop notions of morality and values when organized play and games begin to occur. Mead refers to this as the generalized other. This is generally when cultural differences begin to develop and are reinforced.

6 Jean Piaget Piaget was a Swiss sociologist who argued that children themselves have a very active capability to make sense of the world. He believed there were several stages where children developed new skills. The first stage from birth until about age two is the sensorimotor stage because infants learn through touching and feeling their environment.

7 Piaget cont. The second stage from about age two to seven is the preoperational stage in which children develop language and use words to represent objects and images. This stage is egocentric because the child interprets the world from his own position. The third stage is the concrete operational stage from about age seven to eleven where children develop reasoning and logic.

8 Piaget cont. The fourth stage from age eleven to fifteen is the formal operational stage where children develop the ability to problem solve and ask abstract questions. Piaget believed all children went through the first three stages but that the extent to which children went through the fourth stage depended on their schooling. Also, the ages that Piaget used were general and reflective of the early 20 th century. From an American perspective the ages at which we go through Piaget’s stages are earlier because of our quality education system and advanced society.

9 Agents of Socialization Agents of socialization are groups or social contexts in which significant processes of socialization occur. The family is the primary agent of socialization through infancy and young childhood. Schools and peers gradually become the main socializing agents and later the workplace does.

10 The family Traditionally the family unit a child was born to largely determined how the rest of their life would go. This has changed as social mobility has increased and change is much more possible. The family unit varies considerably across cultures. Extended relatives may play a larger role in some families and single-parent households have also become common.

11 Schooling School is a formal process through which children acquire knowledge. However, the norms taught in schools are also important. Children learn how to listen effectively, take notes, and respect others and many other important skills in life in school.

12 Peer groups Peer groups generally consist of children at a similar age. These tend to be single-sex for young children before becoming co-ed at some point. Peer groups are very important in creating and reinforcing specific gender roles that allow us to fit in within a group.

13 The mass media The mass media consists of all forms of media that humans are exposed to such as television, radio, movies, newspapers and countless others. Many studies have been conducted to determine how exposure to certain types of media affect human behavior. There is conflicting evidence about how exactly our behavior is shaped by the media, but comparative studies across time and cultures confirm that the media is very important in socialization.

14 Work Work reinforces socialization from peer groups because most workplaces are composed of similarly minded people. Thus, our professional behavior will change over time as will our casual behavior. The concept of going to work is a relatively recent one because in traditional rural societies, work was usually completed at home or close to it.

15 Social roles Social roles are socially defined expectations that a person in a given position follows. For example, we expect a doctor to act differently than a farmer in a professional and a casual environment. Humans are not purely passive in adopting to these roles, they understand and assume them through the overall process of socialization.

16 Identity Identity is a person’s understanding of who they are and what is meaningful to them. Social identity is composed of characteristics that others attribute to someone. This can be anything from a person’s gender to nationality to occupation. Self-identity refers to how we view ourselves and the world around us. Most Americans have a highly individualistic self-identity. Social identity is an important part of self- identity.

17 Gender socialization Gender socialization is how we develop gender roles through social factors. Gender learning can occur at the sub- conscious level for young children who are given different feedback, toys, and games based on their gender. The media is very important in creating gender roles. Traditionally in movies almost all leading roles were males and female roles tended to be the “damsel in distress.”

18 Gender socialization cont. Children use their parents at first to develop notions of what it means to be male or female. These are then reinforced by interactions within same-sex peer groups where deviation from gender norms tends to be ostracized.

19 Socialization through Life Course The human life course is the transition that humans undergo both biologically and socially from childhood to adulthood. The concept of childhood is a modern one whereas traditionally, infants went straight into a specific role in the community with certain responsibilities. The modern teenager is also a new phenomenon where humans are between childhood and adulthood. Child labor laws are a major reason in the development of these two concepts.

20 Life course cont. Young adulthood is the period after schooling but before marriage when humans explore sexual, and work preferences. Adulthood is traditionally very permanent but has become more mobile with the increasing divorce rate and career changes. Old age is also a period of life that has changed in modern times because of how common it is for adults to live twenty or thirty years after retirement. Seniors were usually given a high amount of respect but have lost authority to their children in modern times.


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