Archive for the ‘socialization’ Category

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Let’s Get Socialized!

March 9, 2010

Banana Bread Beer Originally uploaded by Schlüsselbein2007

by Sarah Michele Ford

Socialization. That’s what you do when you go out with your friends on a Friday night, maybe drinking some beers, right?

Wrong. When you go out with your friends on Friday night, with or without the benefit of adult beverages, you’re socializing, having a social life.

But hold up a minute – maybe that’s not so wrong after all. Maybe by going out with your friends on Friday night you are engaging in socialization. Maybe you are being socialized by your friends and maybe your friends are socializing you.

Socialization is, after all, the process or learning to live within your culture. It’s learning the norms and the values, the expectations of interactions. It’s learning the institutions and the organizations and how you should to relate to those larger social structures.

So if you go to a new bar, or you meet new people, or you go to your first curling match, you will find yourself being socialized into that new setting. Sociologists call this process of learning new norms and values resocialization, and it’s something that happens throughout our lives.

Next time you go out to socialize with your friends, ask yourself: am I having a social life, or am I engaging in socialization?

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Learning Gender

February 16, 2010

By Sarah Michele Ford

Interacting with young children can be a great window into the ways in which we are socialized into all sorts of things, but most especially gender. This weekend my husband came downstairs wearing a hoop earring instead of his usual stud. As soon as our five-year-old daughter noticed this, she protested.

Kid: DADDY! You can’t wear that earring!
Husband: Why can’t I wear it?
Kid: It’s a GIRL EARRING!
Me: What makes it a girl earring?
Kid: It just IS! Daddy, go change it!

We probed further to try to get her to explain why dangly earrings are for girls and stud earrings are for boys and the best we could get out of her was that girls wear big earrings and boys wear small earrings. Despite us providing her with lots of counter-examples, she stood firm in her belief that certain types of jewelry are gender-marked.

How did she come to make a connection between hoop earrings and gender? What subtle forces are at work here?

(Image credit: Native American Art – Ear Rings; Originally uploaded by Tobyotter)

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A Girl Like Me

February 4, 2010

Posted by: Chad M. Gesser

Twitter: @profgesser

Email: chad.gesser@kctcs.edu

Socialization is characterized as the life long social experience by which individuals develop their human potential and learn culture.  The socialization process begins soon after birth, as babies are cared for (or not) by their parents or other loved ones from their family.  Of course that experience is as varied as there are cultures in our world.  We begin to learn at a very early age how to love, to hate, to care for, to fight, and to ultimately relate to other people in our society.

We also learn our position in society, particularly in terms of social class, gender, and race.  We are influenced by history and the social norms of society.  Norms aren’t necessarily right or wrong, but we gauge ourselves to the cultural standards in society, and as Mead would characterize, we develop that sense of self.

As an example of how we internalize what we perceive in society, watch the “Girl Like Me” video below

.  Many students question the validity of these girls’ interpretations of what others think about them.  Keep in mind these are the experiences of these girls, right or wrong, and it is the “job” of the Sociologist to ask the critical questions as to why.




What shapes their viewpoints?  What popular messages in society influence their perceptions?  What ideas and/or behaviors have they garnered from their family and peers that influences their sense of self?