Socialization, Culture, Norms and Values Into a Society


Socialization: Socialization is a process by which individual learn the culture of their society as it is the process of social learning and as such is a lifelong process.  Without undergoing this process, an individual would bear little resemblance to any human being defined as normal by the standards of his or her society, e.g. so called “wolf children of midnapore” two females aged two and eight, were reportedly found in a wolf den in Bengali in 1920.  They walked on all fours, preferred a diet of raw meat, they howled like wolves and lacked any form of speech.

Such an example indicates that socialization involving prolonged interaction with adults is essential not only for fitting new members into society but also the process of actually becoming human.

Culture: Ralph Linton: “The culture of a society is the way of life of its members; the collection of ideas and habits which they learn, share and transmit from generation to generation. 

Since human beings have no instinct to direct their actions, their behaviour must be based on guidelines which are learned.  But for a society to operate effectively, these guidelines must be shared by its members.  Culture therefore has two essential qualities: firstly it is learned, secondly it is shared.  Without it there would be no human society.

Culture defines accepted ways of behaving for members of a particular society.  Such definitions vary from society to society.  Every society has certain common problems to deal with for example the problem of dependent members such as the very young and the very old.  However, solutions to such problems are culturally determined.  It is to be noted that the solutions provided in one society may well be regarded as indefensible by members of other societies, e.g. under certain circumstances, “infanticide and geronticide” have been practiced by certain groups of Australian aborigines, Eskimos and Caribou Indians.

Norms: Norms are guidelines which direct conduct in particular situations.  It is a specific guide to action which defines acceptable and appropriate behaviour in various particular situations, e.g. Norms governing dress which vary from society to society.

Norms are enforced by POSITIVE and NEGATIVE sanctions that is rewards and punishments.  Sanctions can be informal such as an approving or disapproving glance, or formal, such as a reward or a fine given by an official body.

Usually, the threat of negative sanctions is sufficient to enforce normative behaviour.  Conversely an admiring glance a word of praise or an encouraging smile provides rewards for conformity to social norms.

ValuesUnlike norms which provide specific directives for conduct, values provide more general guidelines.  A value is a belief that something is good and desirable.  It defined what is important, worthwhile and worth striving for.  In the west for example the value of materialism motivates individuals to invest time and energy producing and acquiring material possessions.  In term of Sioux values which place a high value on generosity, the acquisitive individual of western society would at best be regarded as peculiar and more probably would be condemned as grasping self-seeking and antisocial.  Shared norms and values are essential for the operation of human.

Primary socialization, probably the most important aspect of the socialization process, takes place during infancy, usually within the family.  Through the family, the child learns the language and many of the basic behaviour patterns of its society.

Ultimately, the agents of socialization are the family, the educational system, the peer group, the occupational group and mass-media.


Source by Ginisha Rashpassing