Agents of Socialization
Since socialization, in general, refers to the role of social processes or interaction to other people and integration to various social groups and communities in facilitating the process of learning and changing behavior, the term agents of socialization refer to the means or driving forces of learning, adapting, or changing behavior, perceptions, points of view, etc.
In addition, agents of socialization are individuals or groups or people within the immediate environment of social setting for individuals who are most influential in determining the social status or position of an individual in society.
The remainder of this text will follow the influence of four major agents of socialization – the family, the school, group of friends, and the social interaction in sports – as primary influences in shaping or molding my person at present through social concepts and processes that they integrate to my personal life.
Perhaps the most important agent of socialization for each individual is their family. The family is the most basic or primary unit of society; and next to government or constitutional laws and policies, families set out rules or regulations upon which the members of the family will be basing their points of view and behavior.
The lifelong presence of families in one’s life establishes the role that this unit of society plays in shaping the values of individuals not only within the family life but also the social structure as well. The primary element that an individual learns from the family is values or ethical ideals.
Even from my childhood, I can remember how my parents used to talk to me such that they make me learn and understand the importance of exhibiting good behavior.
Desirable behaviors, such as saying “please” while asking or requesting for something from other people or saying “thank you” whenever I receive something from other people, and other similar gestures or behaviors were some of the values that I learned from my family when I was still young; and up until today, I believe I still do follow or exhibit the values that I learned from my family.
Since values refer to the ideas, beliefs, or practices that one displays in various situations, what I have learned from my family helped me understand how I should act appropriately during these situations or other experiences.
The family, as an agent of socialization, also inculcates how individuals have the responsibility to fulfill role expectations either within the family or external environment settings. Although varying roles within different social settings is expected, it was within my time or experiences with my family that I realized the need to fulfill these expectations.
Therefore, the impression of having the responsibility over the fulfillment of various roles to other people and institutions was learned from my family as I was growing up.
For instance, my family, particularly my parents encouraged me to go to church on Sundays and join worship services as we, as human beings, have a responsibility to show or exhibit our reverence to the Divine Being, or to go to school until I finish college as it is my responsibility not only to follow a career path for myself but to contribute to society in the process.
In addition to this, attending school as an expectation seems to determine one’s status in society, such that one’s educational background will dictate his position in the social strata – educated or uneducated, employed or unemployed, lower class, middle class, upper class, etc.
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