What is Socialization ? Also explain its Importance, types and its Agents. And theories

(1) Introduction

Socialization is a lifelong process, which begins at birth and continues till death. At each distinct phase in life, there are transitions, crises and changes. It is the socialization process that an individual make these transitions, overcome these crises and adapt to the changes. helps

(2) Definition

(i) Process

Socialization is a process through which people are taught to be skilled or competent members of a society. It describes those ways that make the people understand social norms and expectations, accept beliefs of society and know social values.

(ii) Act

Socialization is an act of adapting behaviour to the norms of a culture. In fact, it teaches the individual to conform to the norms of the culture.

(3) Types of Socialization

Types of socialization are:

  • (i) Primary socialization
  • (ii) Secondary socialization
  • (iii) Adult socialization
  • (iv) Anticipatory socialization
  • (v) Re-socialization
  • (vi) Reverse-socialization
  • (i) Primary Socialization

Family is starting place of primary socialization. Primary socialization refers to socialization of infant in primary or earliest years of his life. It is a process by which an infant learns language and cognitive skills and adapts norms and values.

(ii) Secondary Socialization

Peer group is beginning place of secondary socialization. However, secondary socialization continues throughout the whole life of an individual. A person learns lessons and training in social conduct from his peers and institutional or formal settings.

(iii) Adult Socialization

In adult socialization, individuals are taught about different roles for which primary socialization and secondary socialization have not prepared them. For instance, they are taught about roles of husband and wife and employer and employee.

(iv) Anticipatory Socialization

Individuals do not only learn culture of their own group, but they also learn cultures of other groups. It is through anticipatory socialization that they learn culture of that group to which they do not belong.

(v) Re-socialization

It refers to a process of leaving some behaviour and accepting a new behaviour. It is a kind of learning that involves the learning of new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that are completely different from one’s previous ways of life.

(vi) Reverse-socialization

In reverse-socialization, new generation transfers knowledge to the older generation. It occurs mostly in industrial societies.

(4) Importance of socialization

Socialization is important:

  • (i) Social being
  • (ii) Social animal
  • (iii) Personality
  • (iv) Individuality
  • (v) Discipline
  • (vi) Behaviour
  • (vii) Different roles
  • (viii) Knowledge of skills
  • (ix) Continuous process
  • (x) Social distance

(i) Social Being

Man is, by birth, biological being and not social being. In fact, he is not born social. And it is socialization that makes him social.

(ii) Social Animal

Man is social animal. In other words, he cannot survive in insolation. And it is socialization that saves him from isolation and, consequently, maintains his survival.

(iii) Personality

It is socialization through which the personality of an individual is shaped and molded.

(iv) Individuality

Socialization provides enough scope for every individual to develop his individuality.

(v) Discipline

A person learns to control his impulses through socialization. He is to show a disciplined behaviour to gain social approval for his acts.

(vi) Behaviour

A society can maintain its social order only when it is able to control behaviour of its members. And it is socialization that controls the human behaviour.

(vii) Different Roles

Every individual is bound to perform different roles. Every role is surrounded by values and is associated with attitudes. And socialization helps the individual to gain knowledge about these values and attitudes so as to perform his different roles.

(viii) Knowledge Of Skills

Socialization provides knowledge of skills to the individual, and this knowledge helps him to perform his political, economic, social, educational, professional and religious roles.

(ix) Continuous Process

Socialization is a continuous process. Rather it is a life-long process:

  • (a) Continuous training
  • (b) Transmission of culture & perpetuity of society

(a) Continuous Training

Socialization is a process of training that starts from childhood and does not cease when a child become an adult. Rather it continues throughout the whole life of a person.

(b) Transmission Of Culture & Perpetuity Of Society

It is due to continuity of socialization that members of a society transmit culture of their society from one generation to another generation. And society perpetuates itself through transmission of culture from one generation to another generation.

(x) Social Distance

Socialization brings the people closer to one another. Therefore, it helps to reduce social distance.

(5) Agents Of Socialization

Agents of socialization are:

  • (i) Family
  • (ii) Peer group
  • (iii) Religion
  • (iv) Education (educational instituion or school)
  • (v) Legal systems
  • (vi) Occupation
  • (vii) Political parties
  • (viii) Mass media

(i) Family

The process of socialization begins for every person in his own family:

  • (a) Abilities & capacities
  • (b) Culture of group
  • (c) Older siblings

(a) Abilities & Capacities

Relationship between parents and child influences the shaping of the child’s abilities and capacities.

(b) Culture Of Group

The parents are the first persons, who introduce to the child the culture of his group.

(c) Older Siblings

The process of socialization of a child is also influenced – by his siblings.

(ii) Peer Group

(a) Definition

Peers mean individuals, who have the same gender, age, social status and interest. And a peer group is a social group whose members have common interests, social positions and age,

(b) Explanation

It can be explained:

  • (b-i) Peer culture
  • (b-ii) Peer pressure
  • (b-iii) Functions

(b-i) Peer Culture

Peer group introduces to a child a peer culture that proves more important and effective than parental culture:

(x) Freedom from parental supervision

(y) Creation of relationships

(z) Learning of things

(x) Freedom From Parental Supervision

This culture gives him an opportunity to get freedom from parental supervision to some extent.

Creation Of Relationships

This culture gives an opportunity to establish relationships without an adult’s help.

(z) Learning Of Things

This culture gives an opportunity to learn things without direction of an adult.

(b-ii) Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is a pressure that is exerted by peer group: the purpose of this pressure is to encourage the individuals to change their attitudes, values or behaviour in order to conform to the group norms.

(b-iii) Functions

Functions of peer group are:

  • (u) Social skills
  • (w) Morals & values
  • (x) Socio-cultural roles
  • (y) Personal independence
  • (z) Self-esteem & self-valuation

(u) Social Skills

Peers help a child in developing some social skills:

(u-i) Purposes

(u-ii) What are included in social skills?

(u-i) Purposes

These social skills are necessary for a child to establish a group, to form lasting friendship or relationship and to survive in the group.

(u-ii) What Are Included In Social Skills?

These social skills include negotiation, persuasion, cooperation, compromise, emotional control and conflict resolution.

(w) Morals & Values

Our morals and values are developed through interactions with the peers:

  • (w-i) Right & wrong
  • (w-ii) Theories of moral development

(w-i) Right & Wrong

Peers help us to learns what is right and what is wrong and what aspects of life are most important.

(w-ii) Theories Of Moral Development

Theories of moral development are:

  • (p) Morality of constraint
  • (q) Morality of cooperation

(p) Morality Of Constraint

This theory insists that doing the right thing is only valuable. Therefore, an individual must only do the right thing.

(q) Morality Of Cooperation

This theory states that an individual learns right from wrong.

(x) Socio-Cultural Roles

Peer group serves as a venue where an individual learns different socio-cultural roles:

  • (x-i) Gender roles
  • (x-ii) Sex differences
  • (x-iii) Work/career choices & personality/character traits

(x-i) Gender Roles

Peer group teaches its members gender roles.

(x-ii) Sex Differences

Learning of gender roles helps the members to learn about sex differences.

(x-iii) Work/Career Choices & Personality/Character Traits

Learning of socio-cultural roles also includes learning of other roles such as work/career choices and personality/character traits.

(y) Personal Independence

Peer group assists a child to do certain things without control and interference of his parents. In this way, the child gains si personal independence.

(z) Self-Esteem & Self-Valuation

Peer group shapes an individual self-esteem and self-valuation.

(iii) Religion

Religion plays a very important role in socialization. Religion instills fear of hell in an individual so that he should refrain from bad and undesirable activities. Religion not only akes people religious but socializes them.

(iv) Education (Educational Institution Or School)

(v) Legal Systems

Legal systems are considered as an agent of socialization:

legal system enforces an individual to obey laws or norms of the group or community.

(vi) Occupation

An individual adjusts himself with his occupational position and also learns to make adjustment with other workers, ho occupy equal or higher or lower position. In this way. ccupation works as an agent of socialization.

(vii) Political Parties

Political parties serve as agent of socialization: they cialize the citizens for stability and change of political system, and promote political values and norms.

(viii) Mass Media

(a) Meaning

Mass media are the means for delivering impersonal communications that are directed to a vast audience.

(b) Explanation

Mass media plays an important role in the process of socialization. In fact mass media is an instrument of social power

  • (b-i) Personality
  • (b-ii) Social norms & values
  • (b-iii) Theories

(b-i) Personality

It transmits information and messages that influence the personality of an individual.

(b-ii) Social Norms & Values

It has an important effect in encouraging individuals to support or oppose or change the existing norms and values.


There are different theories regarding the role of mass dia in socialization:

  • (i) Direct effects theory
  • (ii) Agenda-setting theory.
  • (iii) Gratifications theory
  • (iv) Symbolic internationalism
  • (v) Media logic theory
  • (vi) Cultivation analysis theory

(i) Direct Effects Theory

This theory mentions that media injects its messages into the minds of passive audience and the audience present predictable reactions to these messages.

(ii) Agenda-Setting Theory

This theory states that mass media determines the issues that concern the public rather than the public views.

(iii) Gratifications Theory

This theory opines that consumers use the media to satisfy ecific needs or desires.

(iv) Symbolic Interactionalism

The basic notion of symbolic interactionism is that human action and interaction are understandable only through the exchange of meaningful communication or symbols.

(v) Media Logic Theory

This theory states that common media formats and style serve as a means of perceiving the world.

(vi) Cultivation Analysis Theory

This theory suggests that people, who are regularly use media for long periods of time, develop an illusory perception of reality and such perception is based on the messages that medi repeatedly and consistently present.

(6) Theory Of George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead has presented his theory of self-development to explain the process of socialization:

  • (i) Social self
  • (ii) Development of self
  • (iii) Two sides or phases of self

(i) Social Self

Mead has presented his own views about emergence of social self:

  • (a) At birth
  • (b) Biological factors & inherited traits
  • (c) Social experience & activities
  • (d) Social interactions

(a) At Birth

He has suggested that social self is not present at birth.

(b) Biological Factors & Inherited Traits

He has negated that self is based on biological factors and inherited traits.

(c) Social Experience & Activities

He has opined that self arises or develops in the process of social experience and activities.

(d) Social Interactions

He has concluded that self emerges from social interactions.

(ii) Development Of Self

According to him, four activities develop the self or there are four stages of child socialization through which an individual passes to develop the self:

  • (a) Language or preparatory stage
  • (b) Play or play stage
  • (c) Game or game stage
  • (d) Stage of generalized other or organized community

(a) Language Or Preparatory Stage

Individuals can only use symbols, gestures, words and sounds to respond to one another during this preparatory stage. In fact, language develops the self by allowing the individuals to respond to one another through symbols, gestures, words and sounds.

(b) Play Or Play Stage

Play develops the self by allowing the individual to take on different roles; individual tries to perform different roles that others perform before him. For example, he tries to dress up as his father does or he tries to listen call as his mother does.

(c) Game Or Game Stage

Game develops the self by allowing individuals to understand and follow the rules of some activity. The self is developed by this understanding that one is to obey certain rule to win a specific game or succeed an activity.

(d) Stage of Generalized Other Or Organized Community

It is during this final stage that self is developed to this extent that an individual become able to understand how he is viewed by generalized other or organized community.

(iii) Two Sides Or Phases Of Self Mead has mentioned that there are two sides or phases of the self:

  • (a) Me
  • (b) I

(a) Me

(a-i) Socialized Aspect

The “me” is the socialized aspect of the individual.

(a-ii) Behaviours, Attitudes & Expectations

The “me” represents behaviours, attitudes and expectations of others and society towards the self.

(b) I

(b-i) Present & Future Phase

The “I” is present and future phase of self.

(b-ii) Individual’s Identity & Part Of Self

The “I” represents the individual’s identity. It also represents the part of the self that acts on its own initiative or responds to the organized attitudes of others. (ii) فرد کی شناخت اور خودشناسی کا حصہ

(7) Conclusion

It can be finally stated that socialization is to convert individuals into conforming members of society. It also prepares the members to do some things and avoid other things. In this way, it develops a kind of control over behaviour of the members.

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