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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 02-04-13 09:19

What is socialisation?

  • Socialisation is the process of learning our culture
  • We are taught the norms and values of our society, which we internalise to become part of our personal set of norms and values
  • There are four main types of socialisation; primary socialisation, secondary socialisation, re-socialisation and anticipatory socialisation.
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Primary Socialisation

  • The first stage in the process of learning about culture
  • Occurs in the early years of life when we are in intimate and prolonged contact with our parents
  • Parents are our significant others - have a great influence on us as we care about their judgements on us
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Secondary Socialisation

  • Second stage of the socialisation process
  • Received later in life from a wide range of people and agencies e.g. teachers, peer groups, the media and casual aquaintances
  • Usually play a supportive role - adding to the primary socialisation of earlier years
  • However teachers introduce us to new and more complex knowledge and rules
  • Similarly, friends can introduce us to values and lifestyles which wouldn't win the approval of our parents
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  • Involves learning new norms and values when our roles in life change
  • Can be a gradual process - e.g. growing into adulthood
  • However it can also be dramatic and abrupt - e.g. army recruits experience the shock of basic training
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Anticipatory socialisation

  • Individuals alter the pattern of their behaviour to conform to those of a superior social group in the hope of joining it at a later time
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Agents of Socialisation

  • Agents of socialisation - the people or groups who play a part in our socialisation
  • Agents include;

1. Family

2. Schools

3. Peer Group

4. Mass Media

5. Religion

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The Family

  • Despite the family becoming more diversified (e.g. lone-parent households, step-families, etc), parental figures still remain the main agents of socialisation
  • A sense of security in the early years of life is often seen as crucial for developing a stable personality for effective learning of norms and values
  • In order to learn the norms, values and rules for living, as well as how we are expected to act as males and females, we imitate our parents and use them as role models
  • What we learn varies according to social class, ethinicity, religion and locale - however the process of how we learn, i.e. how we are socialised, is likely to be similar in many families.
  • Families are likely to use sanctions - reactions to behaviour designed to either reinforce a behaviour or to stop it from happening again
  • Positive sanctions usually involve praise, however negative sanctions may involve punishment
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Ann Oakley - Gender Roles

  • Ann Oakley claims that children learn gender roles within the family through canalisation and manipulation
  • Manipulation - parents may pay attention to a girl's hair and appearance so she learns that these are important to her identity as a female
  • Canalisation - directs boys and girls twords rehearsing their adult roles through role play using different sorts of toys e.g. dolls and miniature cookers for girls and construction toys and guns for boys.
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  • Agent of secondary socialisation
  • Have both informal and formal ways of controlling behaviour and transmitting norms and values
  • Formal curriculum - subjects taught at schools and the content of lessons
  • Formal social control - controls children formally though written schools rules. When these rules are broken, formal sanctions are employed to discourage a repeat of the behaviour
  • Informal curriculum - Also known as the hidden curriculum. This is the background assumptions, expectations and values that run through the school system. Children absorb these norms and values without even realising they are doing so. For example, through the exam system they learn about the importance of competition, hard work and success.
  • Schools also broaden children's social horizon as they mix with people from different social classes, ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds.
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Peer Group

  • Form of secondary socialisation
  • Made up of people of a similar age - usually friends
  • One way in which peers influence each other is through peer pressure e.g. persuading someone to dress or behave in a particular way
  • When individuals fail to conform, they are sometimes rejected and left feeling isolated - informal social control
  • However within the groups, young people begin to develop independence from their parents - preparing them for taking on adult roles
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Mass Media

  • Media has an increasingly significant influence in secondary socialisation
  • Media can be; television, radio, film, music, newspapers, magazine, the internet - anything that sends a message to a large and widespread audience
  • Way in which people are influenced by the media is more focused on role models and imitation than on the imposition of sanctions
  • Content analysis of the media often reveals persistently stereotypical images and messages, and this has been particularly true of those associated with gender
  • Marjorie Ferguson (1983) found in her study of young women's magazines that they promoted  atraditional idea of feminity. She also suggested that these magazines encouraged females to aspire to traditional roles of wife and mother, and home making rather than career
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  • Despite Britain being described as a secular society, religion continues to play an important role in the process of socialisation for numerous people.
  • Written rules encourage people to follow specific moral codes that are reflected in the norms of particular religions
  • Religion is often closely linked to family background and so the sancitons imposed to encourage particular behaviours are often the same as those found in families
  • However there are also formal sanctions that religious leaders are able to impose on those who break religious norms e.g in the Catholic religion, divorce is not recognised and anyone who has been divorced is not able to receive Holy Communion
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