Socialization is the process whereby we learn to become competent
members of a group. Primary socialization is the learning we experience from the
people who raise us.
Researchers have many theories about the developmental stages that children
Freud theorized that the development of the id,
ego, and superego occurs over time and that the three must be in
Mead developed a theory which posited that “self” is a product of social
Cooley developed the notion of the looking-glass self.
Piaget posited four stages of cognitive development:
sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and
Kohlberg developed a theory of moral development with three levels:
preconventional, conventional, and postconventional.
Agents of socialization are people, groups, and experiences that
influence behavior and self-image. They include family, school, peer groups, and the mass
Isolated or institutionalized children may not experience
primary socialization and can suffer many social and psychological defects as a result.
Primary socialization occurs in childhood. Resocialization, the
learning of new norms and values, occurs later in life, when life circumstances change or when
people join a new group.
The workplace is an agent of resocialization.
Total institutions are environments in which people are isolated from
mainstream society and expected to adhere to rigid rules. They demand resocialization. Some
examples of total institutions are prisons, mental institutions, and the military.
When we learn new norms and values in anticipation of a future role, we are
practicing anticipatory socialization.
Practicing new norms in advance makes the transition easier and lets us know whether
the role is right for us.
Gender socialization is the tendency for boys and girls to be socialized
differently. The impact of gender socialization can be seen in family, education, and career