People and groups that influence our self-concepts Essay

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People and groups that influence our self-concepts, emotions, attitudes, and behavior are called agents of socialization. There are many agents of socialization that prepare us to take our place in society some are family, religion and even workplace. With family the main findings of sociologists is how socialization depends on the family social class status. By influencing morality, religion becomes a key factor in people’s ideas of right and wrong. The influence of religion extends into many areas of our lives. So the process of socialization lies in our abilities to act correctly in relationship to others.

This is considered a life-long process. A value is another component of socialization. To learn a culture you must first learn people’s values, this is their ideas of what is desirable in life. Learning about someone’s values gives you a great deal of understanding about them. Values are the standards by which people define good and bad or beautiful and ugly. Values are core in our preferences, influence our choices, and decide what makes something valued to ourselves. Taken on a larger scale it is what groups hold or decide what is worth value or not.

Every group develops expectations concerning the right way to reflect its values. Sociologists use the term norms to describe these expectations each group has. They use the term sanctions to refer to positive or negative actions people act in relation to their norms. A positive sanction is approval for following the norm and negative sanction show disapproval for breaking a norm. Positive sanctions can be in the form of a reward or a prize to hugs and smiles. Negative sanctions can be fines or even imprisonment to flipping someone the finger.

Socialization involves not just learning social rules and the situations they apply to, it also involves learning emotional behaviors that are involved in following social rules and which are socially acceptable or unacceptable depending on the social situation (Henslin, 2000). Inherent traits have been used much in discussions between sociologists. Since the beginning of time humans have probably wondered what is human about human nature. How much comes from nature and how much comes from nurture. How much is learned from the social environment and how much is born within us.

Society makes us human. Babies do not develop naturally into human adults. Their bodies grow, if raised in isolation they become little more than big animals. Without the concept of language they can’t experience or even grasp relations between people. Even without warm, friendly interactions, they aren’t friendly in the accepted sense of the term. They don’t even cooperate with others. It is through human contact that people learn to be members of the community. This process they way we learn from society is called socialization, society is what makes us human.

Environmental sociology is another component of socialization and focuses on the relationship between human society and their environment. The environment is a huge variable in sociological investigation. We humans are just one type of species in this natural environment. Human actions on the environment have many unintended and intended consequences on the environment. Even governments and their policies influence the environment and are all a part of socialization (Spinrad, Eisenberg, Gaertner, Popp, Smith, Kupfer, Greying, Liew, & Hofera, 2007).

So, socialization refers to the learning of a society’s shared ways of understanding and acting. Culture refers tot the process by which those shared ways of developing, organizing and changing in one society when compared to a different society. When you are being socialized you are learning the culture of that society you are becoming socialized to. Culture is not fixed and develops over time in tune with socialization. As a social phenomenon, culture is not the property of a single individual. It is shared by all the members of a society.

To understand any part of society, you need to have some idea of the development and content of the shared understandings and rules of behavior that happen in that society along with any groups that are formed because of that society (Spinrad, Eisenberg, Gaertner, Popp, Smith, Kupfer, Greying, Liew, & Hofera, 2007). Culture involves much of what is learned in the course of socialization. Culture is the shared rules of behavior that are learned and utilized by members of that society. Usually cultures share the same emotional behaviors, such as how they react to death and dying.

Cultural roles are identities that are known and followed widely by members of that society. We structure our expectation of behavior from these roles within ourselves and others in our society. Everyday life brings with it many roles. The same person may be a student, parent and worker. Most of the time our roles are separated enough that conflict between them is small. But sometimes what is expected of us in one role is not what is expected of us in another and this is role conflict. Role conflict produces role strain and this is the conflict with fulfilling a single role.

This has been a source of anxiety because of the number and complexity of roles that some follow in a society (Henslin, 2000). Society can also direct our behavior through gender socialization. This is our attitude and behavior we have because we are either male or female that our society shapes. For example, humans will have different expectations on how boys and girls should act and which direction this behavior should take. By the time we reach adulthood most of us think and act according to our culture’s guidelines of what is appropriate for our sex.

Sociologist stress how this sorting process that begins in the family is reinforced as a child is exposed to other aspects of society. Mass Media in today’s world plays a huge part in this process. All of us are born into a society in which male and female are very significant symbols. Sorted into separate groups from childhood they still develop different ideas of themselves and of each other. These ideas begin within the family and later are reinforced by other social institutions. We each learn the meanings that our society assigns to each of the sexes.

The symbols become entwined into our views we have of the world. Forming a picture that gives us our interpretation and how this separate gender is played out in our world (Orenstein, 1985). People and groups that influence our self-concepts, attitudes, emotions and behavior are agents of socialization. There are many agents that prepare us to take our place in society. Some are the family, your religion, friends and the workplace. Family status is a pretty good tool on how the socialization interacts.

The influence of religion reaches into many areas of our lives. Our religious teaching goes as far to teach us about what we believe happens to us after we die to how we talk or even how we dress. Education is vital to our socialization this is where we become exposed to others called peer groups. These groups are usually about the same age and linked by common interests. Peer groups give us a tool to separate themselves from their family and schools efforts of socialization creating a different path.

The workplace gives us the skills and perspective on the outside world needed to function. We learn skills that we will continue to use throughout a lifetime and become committed to a certain line of work. The term anticipatory socialization that is associated with work socialization. It is learning to play a role before entering it. It is something like a rehearsal for some future activity. One aspect of work as a socializing agent is that the more you participate in a certain job, the job becomes a part of your self-concept (Lizardo, 2006).

Socialization a lifelong process that we learn different types of norms, expectations of others, emotional behavior, a self identity and a way to function in the society as a whole, if you look at it as a process you would see that it is the result of interaction with others. Socialization is continuous, for example while you are influencing others in different culturally, you are in return influenced. For study purposes sociologist have divided socialization into primary and secondary types of socialization this is not to remember as a time frame exclusively. Rather think of it in terms of human development.

Where some things might take longer than others, we must always remember how powerful and influencing socialization is to humans and society it affects us all and creates our self. Self is established in childhood and continually modified by later experience. Each of us is actively involved in creating ourselves. For example the experiences we have with our family give us our basic core beliefs yet experiences we have in the environment will shape us in different directions. We can decide if we want to interact or not with certain groups beyond the micro level of society.

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