The Role of the Socialisation process

  • Created by: FinnR_
  • Created on: 16-06-22 09:21


Socialisation is the process in whichthe norms and values of society are internalised into humans. 

Primary socialisation:


Secondary socialisation:

Religion, Media, Peers, Education, Work

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Sociological Perspective

Structural theories:

Feminism, Marxism, Functionalism

How does it happen? Which agencies? Who benefits? 

Social action:

Interactionists and Postmodernists talk about us having control and choice rather than being puppets on a string. Could use it to critic structural theories


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Parsons - social institutions socialise us into key values of society, promoting value consensus. Some norms and values are given sacred quality which governs social behaviour, creating social order and stability. They incourage social solidarity and social intergration. Parsons - Family is a 'personality factory'. It is the parents job to mould the child and teach the culture to the child without thinking. The child then feels a sense of belonging. 

Warm bath theory - women provide care, love, support, etc to children and the husband as a support for their 'breadwinner' role. 

Education: Functionalists see education as preparing people for adult society. They beleive in meritocracy. It passes on shared values to create conformity and consensus. The formal curriculum might teach students about the past of their society, so that they have a better understanding and feel a greater sense of belonging. The hidden curriculum teaches us Ns+Vs outside of the family. We learn skills needed for the workforce. 

Religion: Durkheim says that religion is a major factor as it creates value consensus through certain values with sacred quality. Shared beliefs unite society. Sacred values become moral codes, which regulate our behaviour. For example - the ten commandments. 

Media - Most significant today (especially for younger people). Used as a guide to make sense of the world. Provides us with role models and designs for life. Films and TV shows have key themes which transmit key values. 

Functionalists say that society benefits from socialisation. Durkheim uses the 'organic analogy' to compare the vital organs to agents of socialisation. Without it society would fail. 

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Structural - we are puppets on a string and controlled by society. The agents on society control and limit our individual behaviour. Its a conflict theory which means society is not harmonious or equal. The control benefits specific people rather than everyone. Socialisation benefits the Bourgeoisie as they make money from people being taught to work and buy. 

Primary socialisation: Family -  Zaretsky sees the family as a support to capitalism. It shares values like obedience so that it seems normal when someone is exploited in work later in life. Role models - adults going to work every day. 

Education - Althusser - Critical of the education system. It is part of the Idealogical State apparatus (institutions used to transmit values of capitalism) The hidden curriculum teaches values, attitudes and beliefs so that people accept capitalism. 

Religion - Opium of the people - Religion offers hope and justifies inequality. 

Blind faith - Acts as a distraction to exploitation. The reward of afterlife makes poverty, inequaliy and exploitation bearable. 

Media - Responsible for mass culture which is a way for people at the top to make a lot of money. Marsh & Keating say that the media distracts us. It encourages false needs (things we don't really need). 

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The family are a large agent for this. For example, colour norms. There is nothing biological about blue and pink but families might start dressing their boys or girls in these colours. The family will often try to raise children according to their view of normal masc or fem behaviours. 

Will et al (1976) - 5 young mothers interacted with 6 month old called beth. They gave her dolls and smiled at her a lot. She was seen as sweet. A second group of mothers were offering trains and other 'male toys' to a baby named Adam. Beth and Adam were the same child in different clothes. 

Mead (1962) did research on 3 different tribes in New Guinea. She believed that many masculine and feminine characteristics are a result of cultural conditioning of different societies. Other cultures have different gender norms to Britain. 

Men can benefit from socialisation because they are socialised to be strong and powerful. They are often encouraged to do jobs like sports and this leads to women having a disadvantage in the job market. 

Booklet 4: Gender

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