Socialisation is defined as a process of learning in life that directly or indirectly influences the actions, beliefs, and behaviour of a human being. It encompasses the ideologies and norms of society and results in desirable outcomes and social continuity. Socialisation is a continuous route where a person can acquire a personal identity by learning and conforming to the social skills appropriate to his social position.
Meaning of socialisation
Socialisation in simple terms is described as an interaction to establish a balanced relationship between a person and the society he lives in. The process of socialisation tells us how to function and work in the community as per the set rules and norms. It tells us to follow the rules, to learn manners, good and bad things, and healthy habits. Remember it is the society as a whole which teaches a person the difference between acceptable and not acceptable so that every individual can live peacefully in it.
Socialisation is an integration of both externally-imposed and self-imposed expectations and rules. In an organisation, a new employee learns the ropes to handle him in the initial days by knowing and understanding the power structure and rules of behaviour.
Types of socialisation
Socialisation is a life-long process and does not restrict itself to a particular stage in life for instance childhood or adult, although the process varies a bit during different stages. The various types of socialisation are as follows-
1. Primary socialisation
This type of socialisation refers to the process in the earliest or primary years of a child. Through primary socialisation, an infant learns cognitive skills and language and starts to grasp and take in the set values and norms. He also begins to understand and learn a given grouping so that he later can be molded as a social participant in that group. Remember an infant cannot differentiate the right from the wrong.
He gradually learns to differentiate it via indirect and direct observation. With time the values and norms of society become an integral part of his personality.
2. Secondary socialisation
This type of socialisation refers to the lessons the growing child learns outside his immediate family. He learns something significant from his association with peer group and from his experiences in school. The secondary socialisation is one which continues outside and beyond the family surroundings through the social training received in the formal settings to the rest of his life.
3. Adult socialisation
This type of socialisation prepares people to take on new duties in which the primary and secondary socialisation has not made them entirely. The objective of adult socialisation is to change the views and behavior of an individual.
4. Anticipatory socialisation
As the name suggests, anticipatory socialisation refers to the process through which people learn the culture, values, and norms of a group in anticipation of joining that specific group. Here he learns how to act in his new role
Re-socialisation is a type of socialisation where an individual discards former patterns of behavior and replaces it with new ones as an integral part of his transition process. Re-socialisation happens because of some radical change and involves leaving behind one way of life and replacing it with a very different one
Elements of socialisation
The elements of socialisation are as follows-
As the name suggests, the investigation is the stage where one searches for information. A person looks at various groups to determine which one will help him to fulfill his needs, whereas the group tries to estimate the worth of the potential member. The investigation stage ends when the group offers an individual entry and he accepts it.
When a potential member becomes a new member he must accept the culture, perspectives, values, and norms of the group whereas the group tries to accommodate the various needs and requirements of the new member. If both of them react positively to each other acceptance is reached but in case it is not as per the desired outcome, for instance, both respond to each other negatively, then the transition is delayed.
This stage is also considered a role negotiation because both the individual and its new member negotiate the expectations of the group from the individual. Some people fail to satisfy others in their role and leave the group, and some remain in it lifelong
In case of divergence a member is re-socialized by resolving the differences and he becomes once again the full member of the group. If it fails he is either expelled or he leaves the group voluntarily
In this stage of socialisation, the former member of a group considers his memories and tries to reason with himself about the reason for his departure.
Features of socialisation
Socialisation is a process to transmit the social values and norms from one to the next generation. Its essential features are as follows-
1. Infuse basic discipline
Socialisation integrates basic discipline in a person from the beginning of his life cycle. He gradually learns to control his impulses to gain social approval.
2. Control behavior
Socialisation helps society to control the behavior of its members both consciously and unconsciously from birth to his dying days. There are set rules and procedures which become a part of his life s that a person can adjust with the established norms and values
3. Unanimous ideas and skills
An essential feature of socialisation is transferring of unanimous ideas and skills to individuals in a society. When there is a conflict the result is either ineffective or slow
4. Formal and informal socialisation
Family is the primary source of education, followed by schools and colleges. Children start at an early age to learn the language, values, norms, and customs from family and society through formal and informal socialisation
5. Continuous process
Socialisation is described as a continuous process because it starts when a child is born and ends with his life. It does not cease when he becomes an adult or when he grows old. Socialisation continues to transmit culture and values from one generation to the next
Advantages of socialisation
The advantages of socialisation are as follows-
- Learning and socialisation are interlinked and go hand in hand
- Socialisation helps people to become independent
- Educational institutions are an integral agency of socialisation and it helps a person to learn the norms of society. It teaches a person to speak freely, form opinions and develop an individual personality of his own.
- Socialisation helps to gain valuable insight into the personalities of other people
- It helps to build your presence in society
- Socialisation helps an individual to form life-long friendships
- The peer group enables a person to have a steady support group outside of his family
- Socialisation helps to boost the likeability factor of a person
- Socialisation helps to expand your network through interactions and get-together with colleagues, peer, and seniors in the professional workplace
- It increases the feeling of togetherness and teamwork in a workplace
- Socialisation strengthens bonds within a team and assists in boosting the efficiency and productivity level of a person
- Socialisation assist in gathering necessary knowledge about all the aspects of life
- An essential advantage of socialisation is that it introduces a person to numerous people some of whom may play a vital role in your life and benefit your career as well as personal experience to a great extent
- Mass media is an agency of socialisation that helps a person to be socially aware of the happenings in the society and their surroundings
- Mass media provides people with the option of communicating with other people via text, and emails
Disadvantages of socialisation
The advantages of socialisation are as follows-
- Too much of socialisation can damage your respectability and image especially if you are one of those people who love to party
- The peer group is an integral part of socialisation and can influence an individual to rebel against his upbringing and his family by encouraging bad habits like drinking and smoking
- Religion is an agency of socialisation and it can create conflicts and difference even between two friends
- Mass media can cause stress and anger in other people and make then anti-social
Agencies of socialisation
The process that transforms a child into a respectable individual is a long one where several agencies of socialisation play their part. The culture, values, norms, behavior patterns are transmitted through these interrelated agencies. Let’s have a look at their role in life.
One of the most important agencies of socialisation is family. Its role and impact on an individual are outstanding and unimaginable. It is responsible for forming the personality of a person and its imprint is the strongest if you consider the roles other agencies also play on his personality development.
The parents use both punishment and reward to make the child learn the values, norms, and behavior of a person in a society. The truth of the matter is that the family in itself is a mini-society with simple control over its members. It often acts as a bridge between an individual and society.
The family is commonly known as an intimate as well as the primary group that effectively trains the younger generation. It uses informal methods to keep a check on the undesirable behavior of its members.
It is the family that acts as a social continuity channel by transferring cultural standards to the oncoming generation.
2. Educational institutions
Civilized societies have developed educational institutions for formal education. These have a significant impact on the process of socialisation in society because the culture, views, civic ideals, solidarity, the value of achievement, group loyalty and norms can be formally acquired and transmitted through these agencies which include schools, colleges, and universities.
After the family and the peer group, it is the educational institutions that have the most bearing on the personality and concepts of a human being. It assists the child in learning subjects and instills the notion of time, competition, cooperation, teamwork, and discipline. The educational institutions take the help of punishment and reward to reinforce the desired behavioral pattern.
It minimizes undesirable behavioral patterns with disapproval, punishment, and ridicule.
3. Peer group
The peer group is made of the contemporaries of a child for instance children he interacts, plays and studies with. His peer group influences a child in his growing years because they share common characteristics and are at the same stage of socialisation. He learns crucial lessons from this group through spontaneous interactions with each other.
A child feels the need to exhibit the same characteristics as other members in the peer group so that he can be accepted in it freely. At this stage in life, the peer group has more influence than the family group and this is why in cases of conflict in standards the child will withdraw from the family environment and absorb the values, views, and norms of his peer group.
As time passes the influence of the group keeps on increasing and a time comes when it only takes over.
Religion divides people into a secular order. It has a vital role to play in the process of socialisation because it can put the fear of hell in an individual. This is an attempt on the part of society to curb undesirable activities of a person.
Occupation is an essential agency of socialisation which has a significant impact on an individual. He enters into a new world where the views, norms, and culture are very different from the one which he has faced until now.
While working professionally he finds new shared goals, objectives, and interests. He learns to make adjustments in his style and behavior to suit the particular need and requirements of the new place and other employees who may be placed at equal, lower and higher positions. A person comes to know about class divisions and how he is strategically placed in the system.
It is the professional world that gives him an identity of his own and helps to acquire a definite status in the world hence comes to mean a lot to him. The occupational socialisation is sub-divided into four categories
- Career choice – The first phase of professional socialization is career choice which includes selecting desired academic and related training that will be suitable for the job he desires
- Anticipatory socialisation – As the name suggests anticipatory socialisation deals with anticipating the career choice and it lasts from a few months to several years. Some of the individuals inherit their occupation from their parents and they anticipate joining the said occupation throughout their early life. Some people realize their occupational goal at an early age and their entire adolescence period is focussed on the training and academic qualification that will take them near to their goal.
- Conditioning and commitment – The third phase of occupational socialization is conditioning and commitment. Conditioning takes place when an individual performs his work-related role and starts making adjustments to the unpleasant aspects of that role profile. The novelty wears off and the work experience becomes tedious. The commitment refers to the enthusiastic acceptance of the positive and pleasurable tasks and duties of the occupation.
- Continuous commitment – The fourth phase of occupational socialization is continued commitment. This stage starts when the job becomes an indispensable part of a person and he is satisfied with his role. At this point in life, any violation of proper conduct is unthinkable and unimaginable to him.
6. Mass media
The mass media plays a very crucial role in the process of socialisation. Its essential tools for communication are television, social media platforms, newspapers and radio through which they transmit messages and information to the masses.
The words are written by editors, authors, advertisers, economists, and reformers who are the instrument of social power. The communication media can influence the thought-process and decision-making abilities of the individual as well as large groups,
7. Political parties
Political parties try to seize power and maintain it by socialising the citizens for change and stability of the political system. They try to win the support of society members based on socio-economic policies and in the process, socialise the people by spreading their political norms and views.
4 Stages of socialisation
The stages of socialisation are as follows-
1. The first stage or the oral stage
The first stage or the oral stage of socialisation starts with the birth of a child and lasts until he is one year old. Before delivery, the child sleeps peacefully in the womb and is warm and comfortable. He does not have to do anything but as soon as he is delivered in the world; he must start breathing to survive. He must be protected from outside elements like heat, cold and wet so that he remains comfortable.
The child established oral dependency by crying and making people understand that he needs the attention of some kind. Either he might have wet himself or he might be hungry. He develops certain expectations about his feeding time and learns to give out signals via crying or gestures.
At this stage in life, the child is involved with himself and his mother who is his primary caretaker and he merges both the identity as one.
2. The second stage or the anal stage
The second stage or the anal stage of socialization starts after the first year and lasts until the third year. Here the child makes an essential realization that he cannot depend entirely on his mother and he has to take some care of himself and depend on other people for his caretaking. He learns to do some essential tasks like toilet training, not wetting his pants and keeping his clothes clean.
This is the stage when the child starts internalizing and separating his role from his mother’s. He learns to receive love and care and return it to the people who take care of him the primary person being his mother. He understands the difference between correct and incorrect actions because the former is rewarded and the other is not.
In this stage, the mother helps the child to interact with other people and make him a part of the social group
3. The third or the Oedipal stage
The third stage or the Oedipal stage of socialisation starts from the fourth year and lasts until puberty. Here the child becomes a member of the family and starts identifying himself with the ascribed social role based on sex. A boy develops the feeling of love towards mother and jealousy towards father whereas the case is vice-versa for a girl.
Here a boy is rewarded for behaving like a boy and the girl like a girl. As time passes the girl identifies herself with the mother and the boy with his father. The boy and the girl internalize their roles clearly and realize that the father is the dominant role player in the family.
4. The fourth or adolescence stage
The fourth or the adolescence stage of socialization starts from puberty and has great importance because of numerous psychological and physiological changes that take place within the people. Both the girl and the boy try to become free of parental control.
They cannot escape the family dependence entirely and experience conflict in themselves. The adolescent child accepts new responsibilities and learns new behavioral patterns to meet the demands of society.