Socialisation and control


Socialisation and control


Violating a social norm

Formal – breaking an official rule, punishments could be detention, jail

Informal – breaking unofficial rules

Focal agencies

Different agencies will have more of a role in our socialisation at different points in our lives


Socialisation is the process in which individuals learn the norms and values of a society or culture.

Socialisation occurs when the agents of socialisation (people and institutions that influence our norms and values) use the following:

  • Imitation (of role models)

  • Sanctions

  • Canalisation (when gender related)

  • Sanctions (Formal, informal, positive, negative)

Primary agents

  • Family

Secondary agents

  • Education

  • Media

  • Religion

  • Peers

  • Workplace


There are 4 types of sanctions that reward or punish our behaviour. Sanctions socially control our behaviour (discourage deviance)

Positive: Reward, e.g. sweets/toys

Negative: Punish and deter e.g. naughty step

Formal: Official rules broken

Informal: Unwritten, social norms broken


Copying or mirroring the behaviours of others. Plays a big art in learning the norms, values and language, and of culture. E.g. Feral children imitate the animals around them.

Role models

When we follow the example of someone who we respect and are of a higher status. Tend to be of the same gender.


Channelling boys and girls into 'appropriate' activities to reinforce gender identity. Only concerned with gender.

Talcott Parsons and Socialisation

Primary socialisation

This is when the child learns from the immediate family which live in the home. The child adopts the beliefs and values of the family and learns the expectations that the parents have for them.

Secondary socialisation

This is when the child learns what the wider society expects of its members, and it generally takes place out of the home. It is acquired through agencies if socialisation like friendship groups, education, media and religion.

Tertiary socialisation

This happens when a person is an adult and takes place when people need to adapt to new situations such as becoming a parent, getting a new job, coping will illnesses or disabilities.

Family and peer socialisation

The family deliberately and consciously teach their children how to be functioning members of society. They teach them certain abilities like walking, speaking, reading and writing, and things like desires, how to deal with threats, learn social roles and good manners. This can happen through role


No comments have yet been made