Nature And Process Of Socialization

Nature And Process Of Socialization

Process Of Socialization: Socialization is a fundamental process through which individuals acquire the knowledge, values, behaviors, and social skills necessary to become active members of society. It is a lifelong journey that begins at birth and continues throughout our lives. In this article, we will explore the process of socialization, its primary agents, stages, and the impact they have on individuals.

Question: What is the Nature Of Socialization? What do you understand by the Processes Of Socialization?

Socialization can be defined as the process by which individuals learn and internalize the cultural norms, values, and expectations of their society.

It plays a crucial role in shaping our identities, social interactions, and understanding of the world. From a young age, we are exposed to various agents of socialization that greatly influence our development.

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Meaning (Process Of Socialization)

Socialization describes & processes that may lead to desirable outcomes-sometimes labeled “moral”-as regards the society where it occurs. Individual views on certain issues, for instance, race or economics, are influenced by society’s consensus and usually tend toward what that society finds acceptable or “normal”.

Many socio-political theories postulate that socialization provides only a partial explanation for human beliefs and behaviors, maintaining that agents are not blank slates predetermined by their environment; scientific research provides evidence that people are shaped by both social influences and genes.

Genetic studies have shown that a person’s environment interacts with his or her genotype to influence behavioral outcomes.

Nature of Socialization

Socialization is the process by which individuals learn societal values, norms, behaviors, and social skills. It shapes their identity, beliefs, and interactions with others. It occurs through interactions with family, peers, education, religion, media, and the community.

Socialization involves explicit teaching and observation, imitation, and reinforcement. It is crucial for developing social identity, language skills, norms, and a sense of belonging. Socialization continues throughout life and helps individuals adapt to new social contexts. It encompasses cultural transmission, personal development, and social integration.

Definitions Of Socialization (Process Of Socialization)

According to Ogburn “Socialization is the process by which the individual Iearns to conform to the norms of the group.”

According to Macher, “is the process by which social beings ‘ establish wider and profound relationships with one another, in which they become more bound up with, and moa perceptive of the personality of themselves and of others and build up the complex structure of nearer and Wider association.”

In the words of Kimball Young, “Socialization will mean the process of inducting the individual into the social and cultural world; of making him a Particular member in society and its various groups and inducing him to accept the norms and values of that society. . .. Socialization is deünitely a matter of learning and not of biological inheritance.”

According to Ross, “Socialization is the development of we feeling in associates and their growth in capacity and will to act together.” Through the process of socialization, the individual becomes a social person and attains personality.

In the words of Horton and Hunt, “Socialization is the process whereby one internalizes the norms of his groups, so that a distinct “self” emerges, unique to this individual.”

According to Bogardus, “Socialization is the process of working together, of developing group responsibility, of being guided by the welfare needs of others.”

In the words of H.T. Mazumdar, “Socialization is the process whereby original nature is transformed into human nature and the individual into a person.”

Features of Socialization (Process Of Socialization)

Socialization helps in the maintenance and preservation of social values and norms of society. It also helps in the process through which values and norms are transmitted from one generation to another generation.

Features of the Process Of Socialization are given below:

1. It is a continuous process

Socialization is said to be a life-long process. lt means it does not end when a child becomes an adult. As it does not end when a child becomes an adult, the internalization of culture continues from generation to generation.

Society perpetuates itself through the internalization of culture. Its members transmit culture to the next generation and society continues to exist.

2. infuses basic discipline

Socialization infuses basic discipline among the people who socialize. A person learns to control his impulses. He may show disciplined behavior to gain social approval from others.

3. Helps to control human behavior

Socialization helps to control human behavior. An individual from birth to death undergoes training and his, behavior is controlled in numerous ways.

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In order to maintain social order, there are definite procedures or mechanisms in society. These procedures become part of the man’s life and man gets adjusted to society through socialization, and the society intends to control the behavior of its members unconsciously.

4. Socialization depends on its agencies

Socialization takes place rapidly if the agencies of socialization are more unanimous in their ideas and skills. When there is a conflict between the ideas, examples, and skills transmitted at home and those transmitted by school or peers, the socialization of the individual tends to be slower and ineffective. 

5. Socialization takes place formally and informally

Formal Socialization takes through direct instruction and education in schools and colleges. Family is, however, the primary and the most influential source of education. Children learn their language, customs, norms, and values in the family where the socialization takes place informally.

Factors affecting Socialization

As we have discussed above socialization is the process of learning group norms, habits, and ideals. There are four factors in this process of learning. These are as follows-

  • Imitation
  • Suggestion
  • Identification
  • Language

1. lmitations

Imitation means copying someone else’s actions. Mead defines it as a “self-conscious assumption of another’s acts or roles.”

Thus when the child attempts to walk impressively like his father swinging a stick and wearing spectacles, he is imitating. The imitation may be conscious or unconscious, spontaneous or deliberate, perceptual or ideational.

Imitation plays a very important role in language acquisition.

2. Suggestion

The suggestion is the process of communicating information that has no logical or self-evident basis. It is devoid of rational persuasion. We convey it through language, pictures, or some similar medium.

According to McDougall, “Suggestion is the process Of communication resulting in the acceptance with the conviction of the communicated proposition in the absence of logically adequate grounds for its acceptance.”

The suggestibility of the child is greater than that of the adult because in childhood he is devoid of maturity and reason. The suggestibility of an individual decrease with an increase in his maturity and mental level.

3. Identification

At an early age, the child cannot make any distinction between his organism and environment. Most of his actions are random. This means he finds it difficult to identify things or objects.

They are natural reactions of which he is not conscious. As he grows in age, he comes to know of the nature of things that satisfy his needs. Such things become the object of his identification.

Thus the toys with which he plays, the picture book which he enjoys, or looking at the mother who feeds him become the objects of his identification. The speed and area of identiücation increase with the growth in age. Through identification he becomes sociable.

4. Language

Language plays a very important role in socialization. At first, the child utters some random syllables which have no meaning, but gradually he comes to learn his mother, tongue.

Therein it has already been told that language molds the personality of the individual from infancy.

Agencies Of Socialization

The whole society is the agency for socialization and each person with whom one comes into contact and interacts is in some way an agent of socialization. Socialization is found in all interactions but the most influential interaction occurs in particular groups called agencies of socialization.

Every society builds an institutional framework within which the socialization of the child takes place. Culture is transmitted through the communication they have with one another and communication thus becomes the essence of the process of culture transmission.

All the agencies of socialization are related to each other. Following the agencies of socialization-

1. The Family

Family is a primary and very important agency of socialization. The family plays an outstanding role in the socialization process of the children.

In all societies, other agencies besides the family contribute to socialization such as educational institutions, peer groups, etc. But family plays the most important role in the formation of personality.

By the time other agencies contribute to this process, the family has already left an imprint on the personality of the child. The parents use both reward and punishment to imbibe what is socially required from a child.

The family has informal control over its members. Family being mini-society acts as a transmission belt between the individual and society. It trains the younger generation in such a way that it can take the adult roles in a proper manner.

2. Peer group

A Peer Group means a group in which the members share some common characteristics such as age or sex etc. It includes contemporaries of the child, and his associates in school, in the playground, and in the street.

The growing child learns some very important lessons from his peer group. Since members of the peer group are at the same stage of socialization, they freely and spontaneously interact with each other.

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The members of peer groups view the world through the same eyes and share the same subjective attitudes. In order to be accepted by his peer group, the child must exhibit characteristic attitudes, likes, and dislikes.

3. Religion

Religion plays a very important role in Socialization. It does not only make people religious but socializes them into the secular order. It instills the fear of hell in the individual so that he should refrain from bad and undesirable activities.

4. The School

Children spend most of their time in school after home. It is the secondary agency of socialization.

According to Henslin, schools are the agents responsible for socializing groups of children and young people on specific skills and values in society. The school system has become the glue that holds society together.

The school system manages to maintain and perpetuate the status quo because most of the people who work in it are agents in its service and may not even be aware of how power is exercised on its behalf, as it was exercised over them. They either confined to it or in their rebellion are exercising it as it was exercised over them.

5. Occupation

While working, the individual enters into relations of cooperation, involving the specialization of tasks, and at the same time learns the nature of class divisions. Work, for him, is a source of income but at the same time, it gives identity and status within society as a whole.

In the occupational world, the individual finds himself with new shared interests and goals. He makes adjustments with the position he holds and also leams to make adjustments with other workers who may occupy equal or higher or lower positions.

6. Political Parties

Political parties form the government and make laws for the public. Every political party has its own ideology. They attempt to seize political power and maintain it.

They try to win the support of the members of the society on the basis of a socio-economic policy and program. In the process, they disseminate political values and norms and socialize the citizen.

The political parties socialize the citizen for stability and change of the political system

7. Mass Media

Mass media is used to convey information to the masses or to the people. The mass media of communication, particularly television, play an important role in the process of Socialization.

This communication media has an important effect in encouraging individuals to support the existing norms and values or oppose or change them. They are the instrument of social power. They influence us with their messages.

Stages of Socialization

Socialization occurs in different stages throughout our lives. These stages include primary socialization, secondary socialization, and anticipatory socialization.

Primary Socialization

Primary socialization takes place during early childhood and is heavily influenced by the family. It is when children learn basic social norms, language, and behaviors. Through interactions with parents and siblings, they develop a sense of self and begin to understand their role within the family and society.

Secondary Socialization

Secondary socialization occurs during later childhood and adolescence. It expands upon the foundation established during primary socialization. In this stage, individuals are exposed to a wider social environment, including school, peer groups, and other social institutions. They learn more complex social roles, norms, and expectations.

Anticipatory Socialization

Anticipatory socialization refers to the process of learning and preparing for future social roles and responsibilities. This can occur during adolescence and adulthood when individuals start envisioning their future careers, relationships, and societal roles. They acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to adapt to these anticipated roles.

The Role of Family in Socialization

Family plays a crucial role in shaping an individual’s socialization process. It serves as the primary socializing agent during early childhood and beyond. The family environment significantly influences values, beliefs, and behaviors.

Within the family, children learn cultural norms, traditions, and moral values. They observe and imitate their parents’ behaviors and attitudes, forming the basis of their own identity. Family members also provide emotional support, love, and guidance, which contribute to the development of a secure sense of self.

The Role of Education in Socialization

Education is another important agent of socialization. While its primary focus is to impart academic knowledge, it also plays a significant role in shaping social behaviors and attitudes.

In schools, children interact with teachers and peers from diverse backgrounds, exposing them to different perspectives and cultures. They learn how to navigate social hierarchies, develop teamwork skills, and engage in cooperative learning. Education also teaches societal values, such as fairness, respect, and responsibility, which are essential for functioning in a larger social context.

The Role of Peers in Socialization

During adolescence, peers become influential agents of socialization. Peer groups provide a sense of belonging and acceptance, allowing individuals to experiment with different social roles and identities.

Peers influence behavior, attitudes, and choices. They may exert pressure to conform to group norms and expectations, leading to both positive and negative outcomes. Peer interactions help individuals develop social skills, communication abilities, and conflict-resolution strategies. Friendships formed during this stage can have a lasting impact on one’s social development.

The Role of Media in Socialization

In today’s digital age, media has a profound influence on socialization. It shapes our perceptions, values, and behaviors through various forms of communication, including television, movies, social media, and advertising.

Media provides a platform for exposure to different cultures, ideologies, and lifestyles. It can expand our knowledge, foster empathy, and promote social change. However, media can also perpetuate stereotypes, reinforce biases, and promote unrealistic standards. Developing media literacy skills is essential to critically analyze and interpret media messages.

Challenges and Controversies in Socialization

Socialization is a complex process influenced by various factors, and it is not without its challenges and controversies.

Cultural differences play a significant role in socialization practices. Different cultures have unique values, traditions, and expectations, which can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings when individuals from diverse backgrounds interact. Recognizing and respecting cultural differences is crucial for effective socialization in a multicultural society.

Socialization is also intertwined with social inequality. Socioeconomic status, race, gender, and other factors can significantly impact access to resources and opportunities for socialization. Addressing these disparities is essential for ensuring equal socialization experiences and opportunities for all individuals.

Moreover, the rapid advancement of technology has introduced new challenges to the process of socialization. With the proliferation of smartphones, social media, and online communication, individuals are increasingly engaged in virtual interactions. This digital landscape can both enhance and hinder socialization.

On one hand, technology provides opportunities for global connections, access to information, and new forms of communication. It allows individuals to engage with diverse perspectives and cultures. On the other hand, excessive screen time, online bullying, and the potential for isolation can negatively impact social development and interpersonal skills.


Socialization is a lifelong process through which individuals acquire the necessary skills, values, and behaviors to function effectively within society. Family, education, peers, and media all play significant roles in shaping our socialization experiences. Understanding the stages of socialization and the influence of each agent can help us navigate and make informed choices in our interactions and relationships.

As society continues to evolve, it is essential to recognize the challenges and controversies surrounding socialization, such as cultural differences, social inequalities, and the impact of technology. By promoting inclusivity, equity, and media literacy, we can foster a more balanced and enriching socialization process for individuals from all walks of life.

In conclusion, socialization is a crucial process that shapes our identities, behaviors, and interactions. Family, education, peers, and media are primary agents of socialization, providing us with the knowledge, values, and social skills necessary for societal integration. Family imparts cultural norms and traditions, education fosters social skills and understanding, peers influence behavior and belonging, and media shapes beliefs and attitudes.

Through these agents, individuals develop a strong foundation for navigating and thriving in society. It is through socialization that we learn social norms, acquire language and form our sense of self. Each agent plays a significant role in shaping our social development and prepares us for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

In today’s digital age, the influence of media has become increasingly significant. It shapes our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, amplifying the impact of other socializing agents. However, it is important to approach media critically and promote media literacy to navigate its influence effectively.

Overall, the process of socialization is vital for our personal and social growth. By understanding its importance and actively engaging with the primary agents of socialization, we can develop the necessary skills and perspectives to contribute positively to society.

FAQs (Process Of Socialization)

1. Is socialization only important during childhood? No, socialization is an ongoing process that continues throughout our lives. While the early years are crucial, socialization continues to shape our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in adolescence and adulthood.

2. Can socialization be influenced by cultural differences? Yes, socialization practices can vary across cultures. Different cultural values, traditions, and norms shape the socialization process and can lead to diverse social behaviors and expectations.

3. How does socialization impact our identity? Socialization plays a significant role in the formation of our identity. It influences our sense of self, values, beliefs, and social roles. The interactions and experiences we have with various socializing agents shape who we are as individuals.

4. Can socialization be affected by social inequalities? Yes, social inequalities can significantly impact the socialization process. Factors such as socioeconomic status, race, and gender can influence access to resources, opportunities, and experiences, leading to disparities in socialization outcomes.

5. What can we do to promote positive socialization in the digital age? In the digital age, promoting media literacy, teaching responsible online behavior, and encouraging face-to-face interactions are important steps to foster positive socialization. Balancing screen time with real-world experiences can help maintain healthy social development.

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