30 September 2010


The process of conditioning by which children learn to become responsible members of their society through internalising norms and values within the society is 'socialisation'.
According to Brinkerhoff and White (1995),Jay and Jary(1995) and Scott and Marshal(2005) concur to the term socialisation, as the process of learning the roles ,statuses and values necessary for effective participation in social institutions. Hence socialisation is the primary channel for the transmission of a way of life or culture overtime and generations.
It is actually a modification from infancy of individual behaviour to conform with the demands from society which involves both integration and differentiation of one individual from another. Zonden(1988)says that individuals are neutral at birth ,but also require ways of thinking ,feeling and acting through their social experience particulary during socialisation.
Agencies of socialisation are many ,but lets focus on the family as a major primary agent of socialisation. Giddens (2004)puts agencies of socialisation as groups or social contexts in which significant process of socialisation occur.
Functionalists view socialisation as individuals become competence and conforming member of society and this benefits society as whole.
Marxist's conflict perspective ,also agreed that socialisation may be an effective tool of producing conformity,although this doesn't benefit society as a whole.
And Handel (2006)say symbolic interactionists perceived socialisation as a passive process where chilldren simply learn what they are taught. Children are regarded as actively involved in creating and negotiating their own roles as self concept. Cooley (1902) quoted in Brinkerhof and white (1995) adds that children develop their self concept by viewing themselves as they think others view them and name this 'the looking glass self'. Then Cooley outlined three steps in the formation of looking glass self:
♦Imagine how one appears to others.
♦How others judge that appearance.
♦Develop feelings about it and responses to
these judgements.
According to Cooley ,therefore the judgement of others and one subjective interpretations are fundermental determinants of the self concept.
Mead cited in Brinkerhof and White (1995) argues that social norms are learnt via the process of role taking. Both role playing and role taking are responsive to the expectations of role models who may be parents ,siblings ,teachers or peers.
The family is the primary and major agency of socialisation from infancy to childhood . Parsons (1959)in Haralambos and Horborn (2004) says,the family is the most important agency of socialisation. Thus socialisation takes place with identification with adults and this also includes learning different gender roles in which women are more expressive (emotional) and more instrumental (they plan rationally to achieve certain goals).
Social interaction in the family helps people to learn the values ,norms and beliefs which makes up the patterns of their culture. Through this ongoing process of interaction individual come to understand to assume the social roles and learn how to carry them out.
The family allows social reproduction a process whereby society's structural continuity. Data(1984)says that it is the family where the child's knowledge of the entire ,personal ,moral ,social and religious life is adopted by inculcating and fixing the basic acceptable habits and attitudes.
However Cooper (1972) cited in Giddens (2004) from conflict Marxist perspective views the family as an ideological conditioning device which conditions children to accept their own exploitation. Social controls implanted by the family tend to be effective because of the taboos which saturate family life.

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