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What Are Agents of Socialization?

What Are Agents of Socialization?

Agents Of Socialization: How do we learn to interact with other people? Socialization is a lifelong process during which we learn about social expectations and how to interact with other people. Nearly all of the behavior that we consider to be ‘human nature’ is actually learned through socialization. And, it is during socialization that we learn how to walk, talk, and feed ourselves, about behavioral norms that help us fit into our society, and so much more.

Social groups often provide the first experiences of socialization. Families, and later peer groups, communicate expectations and reinforce norms. People first learn to use the tangible objects of material culture in these settings, as well as being introduced to the beliefs and values of society.

What Are Agents of Socialization?

Socialization occurs throughout our life, but some of the most important socialization occurs in childhood. So, let’s talk about the most influential agents of socialization. These are the people or groups responsible for our socialization during childhood – including family, school, peers, and mass media.

Agents of socialization include family, schools, peers, and mass media. Children are surrounded by several different types of agents of socialization.

In the United States, the primary agents of socialization include the family, the peer group, the school, and the mass media.

Agents Of Socialization Definition

When human children are born, they know nothing of the society they are born into. Socialization is the process through which individuals acquire culture to assimilate into society. Socialization is continuous and it happens all through a person’s stages of life. A person familiarizes themselves with language, norms, values, roles, customs, and attitudes.

Through the socialization process, a person forms their personality and sense of self. Successful socialization manifests as a uniformity within a particular society. Governments, for example, tend to standardize education to nurture law-abiders and control potential radicals. In any society, there exist individuals who, because they did not internalize society’s values, do not conform to the set standards. There are several sources of socialization called agents which are family, peers, schools, and mass media.

Agents Of Political Socialization

Agents Of Political Socialization

The aspects of mass media include television programs, magazines, radio, websites, music, and movies. These aspects have been shown to influence an individual’s preferences in popular culture. Sociologists agree that the extent of the influence of mass media is hard to measure. Mass media relays impersonal information in a one-way direction to a passive audience.

Commercials significantly impact our choices of retail products such as clothing, food, and household items. The media is always criticized for exposing children and young adults to negative scenarios. In today’s world, the average child soaks in thousands of violent acts shown on television before attaining adulthood. Various studies have reported a strong correlation between watching violent movies and shows, and committing violent acts although watching such shows does not always result in violence.

Scholars are continuously engaged in a debate over the link between media violence and violence perpetrated by the youths. The perceived correlation has triggered calls by societal groups for the censoring and even the banning of particular acts of violence. Mass media empowers its audience by giving them wider information not only about their particular territory of residence but also the entire world.

What Are Agents Of Socialization

The family represents a child’s first emotional tie, and it is by far the most significant agent of the socialization process. Infants are entirely reliant on other people to survive, and the parents assume the role of guiding them to be able to care for themselves. Parents or guardians provide children with their initial system of beliefs, norms, and values, and the system is based on their ethnic community, social status, and religion among other factors. The system that parents inculcate on children normally has a profound effect throughout their lives.

Social class has been identified as a critical factor in the socialization process. Most children are enrolled in schools for the primary purpose of acquiring education. The institutions socialize children in various ways. First, the children are instructed on a formal curriculum, a system informally known as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Teachers represent the school’s authority figures, and they continually reinforce school values and other established practices to inculcate obedience.

Primary Agents Of Socialization

There is no better way to start than to talk about the role of the family in our social development, as a family is usually considered to be the most important agent of socialization. As infants, we are completely dependent on others to survive. Our parents, or those who play the parent role, are responsible for teaching us to function and care for ourselves. They, along with the rest of our family, also teach us about close relationships, group life, and how to share resources. Additionally, they provide us with our first system of values, norms, and beliefs – a system that is usually a reflection of their own social status, religion, ethnic group, and more.

Define Agents Of SocializationFor example, Alexander, a young boy who lives in America, was born to an immigrant family. He grew up bilingual and was taught the importance of collectivistic values through socialization with his family. This experience differs drastically from someone born to an older, ‘traditional’ American family that would emphasize the English language and individualistic values.

The next important agent of childhood socialization is the school. Of course, the official purpose of school is to transfer subject knowledge and teach life skills, such as following directions and meeting deadlines. But, students don’t just learn from the academic curriculum prepared by teachers and school administrators. In school, we also learn social skills through our interactions with teachers, staff, and other students. For example, we learn the importance of obeying authority and that to be successful, we must learn to be quiet, to wait, and sometimes to act interested even when we’re not.

Alexander, like other children, might even learn things from his teacher that she did not intend to teach. For instance, he might learn that it’s best to yell out an answer instead of raising his hand. When he does so, he gets rare attention from the teacher and is hardly ever punished.

Agents Of Socialization Quizlet

Schools also socialize children by teaching them about citizenship and national pride. In the United States, children are taught to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Most districts require classes about U.S. history and geography. As the academic understanding of history evolves, textbooks in the United States have been scrutinized and revised to update attitudes toward other cultures as well as perspectives on historical events; thus, children are socialized to a different national or world history than earlier textbooks may have done. For example, information about the mistreatment of African Americans and Native American Indians more accurately reflects those events than in textbooks of the past.

For most people, the process of socialization begins in the family. Family is their first source through which they commence their social communication. As a child, a person learns to see and interpret himself and society through the eyes and understanding of his parents and other elders of the family. It is with the aid of the older family members that he/she becomes familiar with the social culture. It is through the family that ‘socially acceptable’ ways of thinking and behaving are imparted to a child. Values such as sharing, honesty, idealism, discipline, etc., are also cultivated in a person through his family. Therefore, it is vital how parents treat their children, and also how parents behave in front of them because it is through these interactions that a child will perceive and develop a sense of ‘self’.

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