Lesson 4 -  SOCIOLOGY 101 On Line




Chapter 4 – Socialization Over the Life Course


Study Assignment:  Reach Chapter 4 – Sociology by Jon M. Shepard


After careful study of this chapter, you will be able to:



Action Assignment – Answer the following questions.  Each response must be at least 100 words.


No. 1:  Defend the proposition that human nature is more a matter of nurture than nature.           Cite evidence in your argument.


No. 2:  What do you think is the greatest contribution symbolic interactionism has made to our understanding of the socialization process?  Why?


No. 3.  You are now a college student.  Have you undergone (or are you currently undergoing) desocialization, resocialization, or anticipatory socialization?  Provide examples from you own experience.


Highlights of Chapter 4 are listed below:


1.                  Does violence on television lead to real life violent acts? (91)


2.                  Socialization – The process of learning to participate in group life through the acquisition of culture.


3.                  How is socialization related to personality?  Without socialization, a human infant cannot develop a personality – The relatively organized complex of attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors associated with an individual.


4.                  How can the effects of socialization be assessed?  (92)


5.                  What other disruptions in social contact retard human development?  (94)


6.                  The process of socialization permits us to develop the basic characteristics we associate with being human.  It is also through socialization that we learn culture and learn how to participate in social structures.


7.                  How does each theoretical perspective view the socialization process?  (95)


8.                  Three Theoretical Perspectives that shed light on the process of socialization:


A.     Functionalism – The theoretical perspective that emphasizes the contribution (functions) made by each party of a society.

B.     Conflict theory – The theoretical perspective that emphasizes conflict, competition, change, and constraint within a society.

C.     Symbolic Interactionism – The theoretical perspective that focuses on interaction among people based on mutually understood symbols.  This view gives a more complete view than the other two.


9.                  Self concept – An image of oneself as an entity separate from other people that still stand today.

10.              Looking Glass Self – a self concept based on our perception of others’ judgment of us:

            A.  Three stage process that is constantly taking place.  First, we imagine how we appear to others.  Next, we imagine the reaction of others to our imagined appearance.  Finally, we evaluate ourselves according to how we imagine others have judged us.


George Herbert Mead points out, some people or more important to us than others.  Those whose judgments are most important to our self-concept are called significant others.  For a child the significant other is mother, father, etc….


11.              Role Taking – the process which allows us to take the view pint of another individual and then respond to ourselves form that imagined view point.  Three stages:  First, Imitation Stage, which begins around age one and a half to two years, the child imitates (without understanding (the physical and verbal behavior of a significant other.  Second, Play Stage – the stage during which children take on roles of others one at a time.  This occurs around age three or four, a young child can be seen play at being mother, father, police officer, teach or astronaut.  The play involves acting and thinking as a child imagines another person would.  The third phase in the development of role taking is game stage.  The stage in which children learn to engage in more sophisticated role taking.

12.              Generalized other – an integrated conception of the norms, values, and beliefs of one’s community or society emerges.

13.              What is self?  According to Mead, the self is composed of two analytically separable parts:  the “me” and the “I”.  The me is the part of the self formed through socialization.  Because it is socially derived, the “me” accounts for predictability and conformity.  Yet, much human behavior is spontaneous and unpredictable.  To account for this spontaneous and unpredictable part of the self, Mead wrote of another dimension of the self – the “I”.  The “I” doesn’t operate just in extreme situations of rage or excitement but interacts constantly with the “me” as we conduct ourselves in social situations.

14.              A psychoanalytic Perspective – Aside from his theories of the unconscious, Sigmund Freud’s greatest contributions was his work regarding the influence of early childhood experiences on personality development.

15.              Human Personality – Sigmund Freud thinks the personality has three parts:  the id, the ego and the superego.  Id demands satisfaction.  Superego prohibits satisfaction.  Ego supplies rational information in this conflict.

16.              Erik Erikson extended the human development research of his mentor, Sigmund Freud.  Erikson believed all individuals pass through a series of eight developmental stages from infancy to old age.    See page 99.

17.              Jean Piaget – Page 100.  Piaget has isolated four stages of cognitive development:  the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, the concrete operational stage, and the formal operational stage.

18.              The sensorimotor stage, where the basis for thought is laid, begins at birth and last until the age of eighteen months to two years.  (touching, feeling hearing, seeing.) page 100

19.              The preoperational stage – Between the ages of two and seven, during the preoperational stage, children learn to think symbolically and to sue language.

20.              Concrete operations – Increasing abstractness dominates the stage of concrete operations, which spans the ages of seven to eleven.  (page 101)

21.              Formal operations – A fundamental change in cognitive ability begins to occur sometime after the age of eleven. (page 101)

22.              Total institutions – places in which residents are separated in the rest of society.  These residents are controlled and manipulated by those in charge, the purpose being to change the residents.  The first step toward change is desocialization.

23.              Desocialization – The process of relinquishing old norms, values, attitudes, and behaviors.

24.              Resocialization – The process of learning to adopt to new norms, values, attitudes and behaviors can begin.  (Page 102)

25.              Anticipatory socialization:  The process of preparing oneself for learning new norms, values attitudes and behaviors does not generally occur in the extreme social settings represented by total institutions.  This is because anticipatory socialization involves voluntary change.

26.              Reference group – a group used to evaluate oneself and from which to acquire attitudes, values, beliefs, and norms.

27.              Peer group – composed of individuals of roughly the same age and interests is the only agency of socialization that is not controlled primarily by adults.

28.              Mass media are means of communication designed to reach the general population.  (page 106)

29.              Page 108-109 Early and Middle Adulthood Socialization.

30.              Late Adulthood Socialization (page 109-111

31.              Hospices – organizations designed to provide support for the dying and their families.

32.              Social Class – refers to a segment of a population whose members have a relatively similar share of the desirable things and who share attitudes, values, norms and an identifiable lifestyle.

33.              Ideology – the media are said to be necessary to disseminate the ideology of the ruling class (that is, the set of ideas they use to justify and defend their interests and actions) and to reduce the impact of competing ideas.

34.              Power elite – a unified coalition of top military, corporate, and government leaders (the executive branch in particular).  (page 115)