“What is socialization? What are the institutions for the socialization? (part 2)

 “What is socialization? What are the institutions for socialization? (part 2)

Institutions for socialization_ichhori.webP

People learn how to properly navigate their social environments through socialization. How does the socialization process work? How can we acquire the skills to use the material culture of our society’s objects? How do we acquire the ideas, standards, and behavior that make up its non-material culture? Interaction with a variety of socialization agents, such as families, peer groups, and formal and informal social organizations, facilitates this learning.

Social institutions and social groupings work together as socialization agents to provide early socialization experiences. These agents convey expectations and uphold conventions. In these environments, people first learn how to use the material culture’s tangible things and are also introduced to the society’s beliefs and values.


The first socializing factor is family. A child learns everything they need to know from their parents, siblings, grandparent, and other family members, including those in their extended family. However, it is crucial to remember that families do not socialize children in a vacuum. How a family raises children is influenced by a variety of social influences. For instance, we can see that individual behaviors are influenced by the historical era in which they occur using the sociological imagination. When a father spanked his son with a wooden spoon or a belt for misbehaving 60 years ago, it was not particularly harsh; yet, nowadays, the same behavior would be viewed as child abuse. 

Sociologists acknowledge that socialization is significantly influenced by race, socioeconomic class, religion, and other societal factors. For instance, when parenting their children, impoverished families typically place more value on submission and obedience whereas wealthier families place more value on judgment and creativity. This may be due to the fact that working-class parents tend to have less education and employment with repetitive tasks, which benefit from having the capacity to conform and follow norms. Wealthy parents prefer to model behaviors for their children that would be advantageous in settings that require creative problem-solving, due to their higher level of education and propensity for management or other occupations requiring such skills. Children are also taught to conform to gender conventions, racial stereotypes, and class-related behaviors.

For instance, stay-at-home fathers are a common social phenomenon in Sweden. Government policy offers paid time off from work. This encourages fathers to stay at home with their newborns for at least eight weeks. According to researchers, a father’s involvement in raising children benefits the relationship between the parents, the father’s personal development, and the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development of the children. 

Peer Groups

Peer group socialization starts in the early years, for example, when older children are taught the rules of a game or how to shoot a basket by younger children on the playground. Teenagers value peer groups in a new way as they start to separate their identities from their parents and assert their independence. Furthermore, as children frequently participate in different kinds of activities with their peers than they do with their families, peer groups offer their own possibilities for socialization. Adolescents’ first significant socialization experience outside of their family is through peer groups. It is interesting to note that while friendships rate highly in adolescents’ priorities, parental influence balances this out.

Cultural institutions

Socialization is also influenced by the social structures of culture. People are taught how to act in and negotiate these systems in formal institutions like schools, companies, and the government. By bombarding us with messages about standards and expectations, other institutions like the media aid in socialization.

Although studying maths, reading sciences and other disciplines is the system’s obvious purpose, students also attend school for other reasons. Schools also perform a hidden social function by fostering in children characteristics like cooperation, punctuality, and the use of textbooks. Teachers serve as role models and leaders in the classroom and at school, and these rituals frequently reinforce for children what society expects of them. This feature of schools is referred to by sociologists as the “hidden curriculum” or the “informal teaching” done by schools.

Children discover that there are winners and losers in society when they take part in relay races or competitions. When children are required to work on a group project, they get to practice working as a team in cooperative settings. The hidden curriculum, according to Bowles and Gintis, prepares children for conformity in adult life. Children are taught how to deal with bureaucracy, rules, and expectations. They also learn how to wait their turn and sit still for long periods of time. The latent curriculum includes the latent skills of competition, teamwork, classroom discipline, time awareness, and dealing with bureaucracy. Schools also help children become more socialized by explicitly teaching them about citizenship and nationalism.

Similar to how children spend a large portion of their day in school, most adults eventually spend a sizable amount of time at a place of employment. Workers need to be resocialized into a workplace, both in terms of material culture (such as learning how to use the copier) and non-material culture (such as whether it is okay to speak directly to the boss), even though they have been socialised into their culture since birth. Different jobs call for different forms of socialization. Many people in the past had one job till retirement. The norm today is to change employment at least once every ten years. People must therefore be accustomed to and socialized within a variety of job settings.

Even though some faiths and religions may have a tendency to be informal institutions, religion focuses on rituals connected to formal institutions. For many people, religion is a significant socialization agent. These places, like other institutions, instruct visitors on how to engage with the material culture of the religion (like a mezuzah, a prayer rug, or a communion wafer). Some individuals associate religious festivals with significant family-related rites, such as marriage and childbirth. Many of these institutions reinforce gender norms and aid in their socialization and enforcement. Religion develops a shared set of socialized values that are transmitted across society, from ceremonial rites of passage that strengthen the family unit to power dynamics that strengthen gender roles.

Mass media

Impersonal information is disseminated to a large audience through television, newspapers, radio, and the internet. People gain knowledge about non-material culture - what is true (beliefs), what is essential (values), and what is expected (norms) - along with material culture’s products (such as new technologies and transportation alternatives. 


The process of socialization is ongoing and not just a one-time thing. We are not permanently socialized as we pass along a conveyor belt and are “stamped” by some socializing mechanism. Socialization is actually a lifelong process. Age norms and time-related rules and regulations have a significant impact on socialization throughout the lifespan. As we mature, we have life transitions that call for socialization into a new role, such as reaching school age, starting a job, or retiring. On a cultural level, many of life’s social standards are established and upheld. The expectation to perform roles is made obvious by interaction with others and by observing how others interact. Adulthood introduces additional demands and expectations, as well as new roles to play, to the process of socialization. Social roles are always changing as people age. In addition to being essential for the maintenance of societies and cultures, socialization plays a crucial role in a person’s personal growth.

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