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Sociology Ch. 5 S. 3: Agents of Socialization
Obj: Identify the most important _____________ of socialization in the US; Explain why ___________
and ________________ are important social institutions.
The views of Locke, Cooley, and Mead provide _______________ explanations of the socialization
process. This section examines some specific forces and situations that shape socialization.
Sociologists use the term agents of socialization to describe the specific individuals, groups, and
institutions that ______________ socialization to take place. In the US, the _______________
agents of socialization include the family, the peer group, the school, and the mass media.
The Family
The ______________ is the most important agent of socialization in almost every society. Its primary
importance rests in its role as the principal __________________ of young children. Children first
interact with others and first learn the _______________, norms, and beliefs of society through
their families.
Socialization in a family setting can be both deliberate and unintended.
___________________ - teaching about telling the truth.
__________________ – (can have greater impact) teaches child to tell the truth, child sees parent
lying. “Do what I say, not what I do!” Practice what you preach!
Whether deliberate or unintended, the socialization process differs from family to family, for all
families are not the same. Thus, socialization produces a society of individuals who share in the
patterns of the larger _________________ but who retain certain unique personality and behavior
The Peer Group
The family provides many, if not most, of the socialization experiences of early childhood. As children
grow older, forces outside of the family increasingly influence them. In particular, children begin to
relate more and more to their peer groups. A _______________ group is a primary group
composed of individuals of roughly equal ___________ and similar social
Peer groups are particularly influential during the ________-teenage and early teenage years.
Without peer acceptance, they are labeled as misfits, __________________, or a similar
disparaging term. To win this acceptance, young people willingly _____________ the values and
standards of the peer group. In essence, they shape themselves into the kind of person they think
the group wants them to be.
Peer-group socialization is _________________ from socialization within the family. The norms and
values imparted by the family usually focus on the larger culture. However, in peer groups the
focus is the subculture of the group. Peer-group ______________ are sometimes at odds with the
goals of the larger society. ________________ in particular become alarmed if they come to
believe that the norms and values of the peer group are more important to their children then those
of society as a whole.
The School
For most young people, _____________ occupies large amounts of time and attention. Between the
ages of 5 and 18, young people spend some _______ weeks a year in school. Thus, the school
plays a major ____________ in socializing individuals.
Much of this socialization is ________________. Class activities are planned for the deliberate
purpose of ______________ reading, etc. Extracurricular activities, such as school dances are
intended to prepare the student for life in the larger society. Schools also attempt to transmit
cultural values, such as patriotism, responsibility, and good citizenship.
A large amount of unintentional socialization also occurs. Teachers may become ____________ in
such areas as manners of speech or styles of dress. In addition, peer groups can influence the
habits of their members.
The Mass Media
The other forms of socialization involved personal __________________. Mass media, however,
involves no face-to-face interaction. The mass _______________ are instruments of
communication that reach large audiences with no personal contact between those sending the
information and those receiving it. The major forms are books, films, Internet, radio, and ________.
Of these, TV probably has the most ______________________ on the socialization of children.
Some 98% of the homes in the US have TV’s, with an average of more than 2 sets per home. Most
importantly, research shows that most children watch an average of about ______ hours each
week. Further, watching TV is the primary after-school activity for 6- to 17-year-olds. Indeed, most
children spend almost _____________ as much time watching TV as they spend in school.
The effect of TV on children is a topic of ongoing ______________. On the _________________
side, research indicates that by age 18, most children will have witnessed 200,000 fictional acts of
violence, including 16,000 murders. Several studies have found a connection between TV violence
and aggressive behavior among young people. These studies say that, among other things,
because TV violence often appears painless or not harmful, it invites viewers to be less
_______________ to the suffering of others.
On the ________________ side, TV expands the viewers’ world. It can be a powerful educational
tool. For example, TV brings far-off ___________ into viewers’ homes, makes world events
immediate, and introduces viewers to ________________ they otherwise might never encounter.
The total institution is a rather unique agent of socialization. A __________ institution is a setting in
which people are _______________ from the rest of society for a set period of time and are
subject to tight ___________. Prisons, military boot camps, monasteries, and psychiatric hospitals
are examples of total institutions.
Socialization in a total institution differs from the process found in most other settings. Total
institutions are primarily concerned with resocializing their members. ______________________
involves a break with past experiences and the learning of new values and norms. In the case of
most total institutions, resocialization is directed toward changing an individual’s _______________
and social behavior. These modifications are accomplished by stripping away all semblance of
________________ identity and replacing it with an institutional identity-uniforms, standard
haircuts, and so on. The individual is also denied the freedoms of the outside world. Once the
person’s sense of self has been weakened, it is easier for those in power to convince that person
to conform to new patterns of behavior.