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Agents Of Socialization Essay

1712 words - 7 pages

Agents of Socialization
The Family
The family affects socialization in many ways. For most people, in fact, the family may be the most important socialization agent of all. Infants are totally dependent on others for care. The responsibility for providing a safe and caring environment typically falls on parents and other family members. For several years—at least until children begin school—the family also has the job of teaching children skills, values, and beliefs. Children also learn from the type of environment adults create for them. Whether children learn to see themselves as strong or weak, smart or stupid, loved or simply tolerated—and as Erik Erikson suggests, ...view middle of the document...

These enrichment activities—far less available to children growing up in low-income families—build cultural capital, which advances learning and creates a sense of confidence in these children that they will succeed later in life.
Conflict theorist stress that socialization contributes to false consciousness—a lack of awareness and a distorted perception of the reality of class as it affects all aspects of social life.As a result,Socialization reaffirms and reproduces the class structure in the next generation.For eg., children in low income families may be unintentionally socialized to believe that acquiring an education and inspiring to lofy ambitions are pointless because of existing economic conditions in the family.
The School
Schooling enlarges children’s social world to include people with backgrounds different from their own. It is only as they encounter people who differ from themselves that children come to understand the importance of factors such as race and social position. As they do, they are likely to cluster in playgroups made up of one class, race, and gender.
Schools join with families in socializing children into gender roles. Studies show that at school, boys engage in more physical activities and spend more time outdoors, and girls are more likely to help teachers with various housekeeping chores. Boys also engage in more aggressive behavior in the classroom, while girls are typically quieter and better behaved.
Schooling is not the same for children living in rich and poor communities. For all children, the lessons learned in school include more than the formal lesson plans. Schools also informally teach many things, which together might be called the hidden curriculum. Activities such as spelling bees teach children not only how to spell words but also how society divides the population into “winners” and “losers.” Organized sports help students develop their strength and skills and also teach children important life lessons in cooperation and competition.
For most children, school is also the first experience with bureaucracy. The school day is based on impersonal rules and a strict time schedule. Not surprisingly, these are also the traits of the large organizations that will employ young people later in life.
From a functionalist perspective schools are responsible for
 Transmission of culture
 Social control
 Social placement of individuals
 Teaching students to be productive members of society
 Personal growth and development
The Mass Media
The mass media are the means for delivering impersonal communications to a vast audience. The term media comes from the Latin word for “middle,” suggesting that media connect people. Mass media arise as communications technology (first newspapers and then radio, television, films, and the Internet) spreads information on a massive scale.
The media function as socializing agents in several ways :
1.They entertain us by providing the opportunity to live...

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