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Socialization

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Socialization Quiz

Compare and contrast primary socialization and resocialization.

Primary socialization and resocialization are both processes by which we learn to become competent members of a group. Primary socialization occurs when we are children and refers to the learning that we receive from the people who raise us. Socialization continues throughout childhood and can be influenced by family, school, peer groups, and the mass media. Resocialization occurs later in life, when we must adapt to changes. We must learn new norms and values whenever we encounter a new group or when life circumstances change dramatically. Most resocialization occurs in the workplace.

What is Sigmund Freud’s theory of personality development?

Freud believed that basic biological instincts combine with societal factors to shape our personalities. The mind, according to Freud, consists of three parts that must interact properly for a person to function well in society. These three parts are the id, superego, and ego. The id represents a human being’s most primitive desires. The superego, also called the conscience, is the part of the mind that internalizes society’s values about right and wrong. The ego resolves conflicts between the id and the superego. If any one part becomes dominant, the person might encounter personal and social problems.

How do we acquire a self?

Sociologists disagree about how we acquire a self, the part of a person’s personality consisting of self-awareness and self-image. According to George Herbert Mead, the key to development of the self is “taking the role of the other,” or putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. The self develops solely through social experience and interaction. As the self develops, we internalize the expectations of more and more people. Mead referred to this group as the generalized other. Charles Horton Cooley believed that the self developed in relation to a smaller group of people—significant others. A significant other is someone whose opinions matter to us and who is in a position to influence our thinking, particularly about ourselves. Cooley’s looking-glass self refers to a self-image based on how we think others see us. We form a self-image based on the reflection we see in the social mirror of our significant other.

Following the overthrow in 1989 of Nicolae Ceausescu’s oppressive regime in Romania, the world learned about thousands of children housed in decrepit orphanages. Westerners flocked to Romania to adopt these orphans. What kinds of socialization problems did some orphans experience after their adoption?

Newly adopted children faced the problems common to institutionalized children. These orphans, who had suffered mental and physical deprivation, had difficulty establishing and maintaining emotional connections with their new family. Many new parents who had hoped for loving relationships with their new children found instead that these orphans were unable to bond with them. Some orphans also suffered cognitive impairment. They were more likely than children who had been nurtured early on to score poorly on intelligence tests.

What is gender socialization? How and why does it happen?

Gender socialization refers to the fact that boys and girls are raised differently. Some behaviors and attitudes that are considered appropriate for one sex are considered inappropriate for the other. For example, boys are given chemistry sets; they are encouraged to become analytical and learn how to fix things. Girls are given dolls; they are believed to be more nurturing and patient than boys. Schools, the media, and society in general reinforce gender roles. These roles—female as nurturer, male as provider—may have important biological and historical purposes but are largely unnecessary in modern society.

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