Socialization process can be defined as a process through which newmembers of the society, especially children learn the norms, values,rules and regulation from other members of the society. It is aprocess through which individuals acquire social skills within asocietal setting. It is an essential process through which culturepreservation and continuity is attained. Children are born withoutcultural and social values that identify individuals with aparticular society or promote unity and harmony. In the early days oftheir life, through social interactions, children learn what thesociety expects from them. However, socialization is a continuousprocess throughout an individual’s life, unless there is a mentalor developmental condition. There is always a new thing to learn inorder to fit better in a particular society. Although socializationmainly refers to the process instills desirable characteristics in anindividual, it can have negative outcome. People have acquiredantisocial characters depending on the society in which he or she isbrought up. For example, individuals who grow up in highly populatedcity suburbs with social vices such as drug abuse and gang activitytend to acquire antisocial characters (Jonathan et al, 2003).
There are basic stages in the socialization process irrespective ofthe type of socialization. The first stage is investigation whichinvolves a search for information about the particular social group.The second stage is socialization where an individual enters thegroup and identify with the values and norms of the group. The thirdstep is maintenance where the individual negotiates his or her rolewithin a social group. In this stage, the individual can bere-socialized or be expelled from the group. This is followed by are-socialization stage and a remembrance process, which involves,shedding the old social values and attaining new ones (Macionis,2010).
There are several types of socialization processes. Naturalsocialization process occurs naturally where young children discoverthe world around them and acquire skills that enable that to fit inthe particular world. Natural socialization occurs withoutintervention in human beings. It has also been observed in othersocial animals mainly mammals and birds. However, there have beensome attempts to control the socialization process, which resultsinto what sociologists refers to as planned socialization. This hashappened throughout history where people make plans on how to educateand train other members of the society. In the modern world, bothplanned and natural socialization plays an important role insocializing young children. The socialization process can also bepositive or negative. Negative socialization process takes place whenacts considered negative, such as punishment or criticism, to educateindividuals on the values of a society. On the other hand, positivesocialization occurs when exciting experiences are involved in thesocialization process. Basically, life is a mix of both positive andnegative socialization due to the challenges and happiness thatcharacterize a human life (Mohanty, 2005).
Socialization can also be primary or secondary socialization. Primary socialization is very basic in children upbringing because itforms the basis of the socialization process. It involves thelearning of values, attitudes and character considered appropriatewithin a culture or society. Primary socialization involves theinfluence by individuals close to the child, mainly parents, siblingsand close relatives. For example, a child in a violent family mayaccept violence as an acceptable behavior (Mohanty, 2005). Secondarysocialization involves the acquisition of appropriate behaviors andvalues as a member of a group or society. It involves learning thebehavior patterns and morals through the socializing agents in agroup within a society.For example, among children above the ageof six, the most important agent of socialization is school. This isthe basic secondary socialization process. In schools, children areexpected to behave differently from how they behave at home. Teachersand the school environment ways of interacting with the children andthe rules are different. Agents of secondary socialization changesprogressives from childhood, teenage to adulthood (Brian et al,2012).
Socialization can also be anticipatory, re-socialization,organizational, group, gender or racial socialization. Anticipatorysocialization refers of a process where individuals learn socialvalues by rehearsing their future position. For example, couples canrehearse marriage life by living together before formally gettingmarried. Also, children can learn social roles by imitating grownups, for example, a boy can learn being a man by behaving like hisfather (Levine & Hoffner, 2006). Organizational socializationinvolves individuals learning values and characters that enable themwork effectively within an organization. New employees within anorganization are taken through an orientation process where theylearn the work environment, organization culture, history, values andduties before assuming responsibility. The social knowledge andskills acquired during the orientation program have a huge impact onthe performance of an employee. The main role of organizationalsocialization is being a control process through which the values,culture and traditions of an organization are internalized among newemployees (Furedi , 2009).
Individuals can also be re-socialized. Re-socialization refers to aprocess through which an individual sheds off old social values andbehavior patterns and accept new behaviors. The process involves atransition to a new life. Although it occurs throughout the lifecycle of an individual, there are specific stages of life thatinvolves a major transition in life. This involves a break from thepast, for example, migrating into a new country with different normsand values or conversion from one religion to another. There are alsoextreme re-socialization processes for example when a transsexualindividual is forced to socially and abruptly alter their genderroles (Mohanty, 2005). Group socialization involves individualsacquiring social skills through peers rather than the normal agentsof socialization. While peers are important agents of socialization,there are some social skills that need to be learnt from parents andmentors. For example, children with the same parents but havedifferent peer groups are likely to develop divergent socialcharacter and behavior pattern due to the influence of groupsocialization. Gender socialization is a process through whichindividuals attain the defined gender roles within a culture orsociety. Every culture and society has defined gender roles. Throughgender socialization, young male children learn to be boys and gentlemen while females learn to be girls and ladies. This socializationis aided by role models and awareness of gender expectations (Anthonyet al, 2009). Racial socialization involves acquiring the values andbehavior patterns that defines a racial group. This involves youngmembers of a society learning the heritage and history of theirracial background (Hughes, et al, 2006).
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