It could be hardly doubted that socialization is one of the essential and very complex processes that define the personality of an individual. From the sociological perspective, a person is not born as a fully developed and functioning social actor, but he or she has to go through a series of transitions that will shape how an individual perceives himself or herself along with principles on which the interaction with the society in which he or she lives is built upon. The primary purpose of this paper is to apply my developing sociological knowledge and skills as well as sociological theories and scholarly literature on the topic to the analysis of the process of socialization. The paper is structured in the following way: the first section discusses me as a member of society, utilizing such concepts as roles, statuses, group membership. The second section investigates how agents of socialization influence the development of my personality.
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Who Am I in the Society
It is possible to state that this section serves as an introduction to the problem of socialization and identification of the self as a social actor. Since I am a student, it should be stated that my education could be considered my primary social role. I feel accomplished because I am performing relatively well, and, overall, I am going through one of the essential parts of life successfully. Maintaining this social status contributes to my satisfaction as an efficient member of the social group in which I am currently in. However, it is also important to notice that whenever I get a low grade, or I do not comply with the educational standards, it does not make me feel worthless or ashamed of myself. I know that I am not perfect, and, in my opinion, none of us can ever reach our “ideal self.” Nevertheless, this realization of the existing flaws does not make me feel bad for myself. On the contrary, I consider it to be a very inspiring idea: if I have flaws and imperfections, I have goals to achieve and a path to take. Reaching the state of “ideal self” might be very pleasant, but it would mean that you do not have any room for improvement.
Also, this realization of my actual worth helps me to respect myself as well as other people. Being respectful and having adequate self-esteem contributes to my relatively high-level of self-awareness. I understand how my emotions and psychological processes work, and thus I am aware of my actual personal characteristics and qualities as well as the perception of my personality by other people. Overall, it should be mentioned that studying social sciences is one of the principal factors that contribute to my current social status. The understanding of how society is structured helps me to comply successfully with my current social role. The following section will dwell upon the discussion of the process of socialization and how it contributed to my development as a person.
Agents of Socialization as a Means of Personality Development
It is possible to state with certainty that family plays a principal role in the process of socialization as the institution of family is the first social construct with which children get acquainted (“Agents of socialization,” 2018). It is evident that in the first several years of the child’s life, he contacts primarily with his or her parents, and it is the reason why the family has such a significant impact. Also, as Vazsonyi, Roberts, Huang, and Vaughn (2015) argue that nurture is a significantly important process as it shapes the personality and social skills of an individual to a great extent. I remember myself since the age of three, and I can state that I was rarely thinking about who I am. I interacted primarily with my parents, and, since they are kind and loving people, I was very happy at the time. I consider this period to be a critical aspect of my self-concept development because I learned (even though at the time it was only an intuitive knowledge) that I am a person who is worthy of being loved, and I also learned that acquisition of responsibilities is an important part of any person’s life.
Education institutions also largely influence the process of the individual’s early socialization since they represent an entirely new social construct for a child. In this context, the role of schools as the agent of socialization is primarily considered. First of all, it is essential to mention that school is the first place where a person starts to interact with his or her peers much more, but this aspect will be discussed more profoundly in the following subsection. It is appropriate to mention the concept of resocialization as it relates to the experience of school education (Gentina & Singh, 2015). The reason is that when a child enters school, he or she enters a new system that has different rules compared to his or her family (“Agents of socialization,” 2018; Gentina & Singh, 2015). Therefore, a child is obliged to acquire these new rules in order to adapt and function in new circumstances successfully, and that is why the concept of resocialization is significant. Concerning my personal experience, it is possible to observe that I have experienced the difference between family and school in terms of socialization (even though I did not know about the concept of socialization); however, I managed to adapt to new circumstances without considerable problems.
The role of peers as the agent of socialization could hardly be underestimated as it is a widely known fact that peers have an immense influence on the development and decision-making of nearly any individual in his or her childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood (“Agents of socialization,” 2018). Numerous concepts are involved in the discussion of the influence of peers on the development of the individual’s personality, and it could be suggested that concepts of self and moral development are among the most important aspects of the issues related to the peers’ impact. As I entered school, I started to interact with my peers, and it considerably expanded my self-concept. In my opinion, boys tend to socialize by building hierarchical relationships inside a relatively large collective, and, since I am a male, I was also included in these relations. As I entered my teenage years, my notion of self became more diverse and sometimes conflicted. It is evident that I am still a very young man, and the development of my personality continues. Some people assume that self-concept evolves throughout the whole life of a person, but it is apparent that the period between childhood and late twenties is immensely important in establishing fundamental aspects of self-perception.
The question of moral development should also be discussed as Augustine and Stifter (2015) argue that interaction with peers could put a person in the position in which his ethical or moral principles were developed by parenting and nurturing efforts of his or her parents could contradict with the peer pressure. Thus, it is evident that socialization through the interaction with peers does not always bring positive results. It is apparent that numerous advantages are acquired through this process; however, there are also negative consequences that could be brought by peers.
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Finally, it is essential to discuss mass media as it is one of the most widespread agents of socialization that influences nearly all individuals in society to some extent. It should be mentioned that the most important characteristic of mass media that makes it different from other agents of socialization is that it affects people from various social classes by translating cultural values and ideas. The process of acquisition of these cultural concepts could not be fully conscious (especially in the context of children’s interaction with mass media), but it is of high significance in the context of personality development (Genner & Süss, 2017). As it is stated in the article by Prot et al. (2014), it is possible to study how “long-term attitudes, beliefs, and behavioral tendencies are formed through repeated exposure to various types of social encounters (including media use)” (p. 278). Concerning my experience, I should observe that mass media had a great influence on me. Therefore, it could be concluded that socialization through the agent of media also plays an important role in the process of personality development.
Agents of socialization. (2018). Web.
Augustine, M. E., & Stifter, C. A. (2015). Temperament, parenting, and moral development: Specificity of behavior and context. Social Development, 24(2), 285-303.
Genner, S., & Süss, D. (2017). Socialization as media effect. Web.
Gentina, E., & Singh, P. (2015). How national culture and parental style affect the process of adolescents’ ecological resocialization. Sustainability, 7(6), 7581-7603.
Prot, S., Anderson, C. A., Gentile, D. A., Warburton, W., Saleem, M., Groves, C. L., and Brown, S. C. (2014). “Media as agents of socialization.” In Joan E. Grusec and Paul D. Hastings (Eds). Handbook of socialization: Second edition: Theory and research (pp: 276-300). New York: The Guildford Press.
Vazsonyi, A. T., Roberts, J. W., Huang, L., & Vaughn, M. G. (2015). Why focusing on nurture made and still makes sense: The biosocial development of self-control. Web.