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Introduction to Sociology

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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Lesson 12
SOCIALIZATION: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
Human development is based on two assumptions:
1.
The newborn having the capacity to become a member of human society. The infant has
the capacity to learn human social behavior. This capacity is provided by nature to every normal
child. But
2.
The newborn child cannot become social being unless there is interaction with other
human beings.
Helpless at birth, the human infant depends on others to provide nourishment and care. Human infants are
the most helpless of all; a human child cannot survive unaided for at least four or five years of life. It is a
matter of survival of human child; and then to transform the human child into a social being he needs
interaction with other members of human society without which learning capacity is lost. This process of
transformation is socialization.
Socialization is process whereby people learn through interaction with others that which they must
know in order to survive and function within society. In this process, as defined by the local culture,
they learn what roles are associated with their status. Also, as prescribed by the culture, they learn how to
play those roles. Therefore it is a matter of NATURE and NURTURE.
NATURE
Nature implies the contribution of heredity to the human being, which may include physical- characteristics
and what is inside the human body. Presumably physical and psychological characteristics can be
transmitted through heredity. Whatever is being transmitted through heredity may be considered as human
potential given by nature.
Biological determinism prevailed in the late 19th century. Proponents of this position opined that inborn
factors exerted greater influence on human behavior and personality. In the second decade of the 20th
century biological determinism was displaced by socio-cultural determinism. For the sake of argument the
twins, having the same heredity, should show the same behavior even if they were raised apart, but it does
not happen like that. In fact their behavior, to a great extent is affected by environment [physical, cultural,
social], which may be part of the process of nurture. Nevertheless, lot of genetic engineering has also come
into operation for tinkering with the physical and psychical make up.
NUTURE
As said earlier, in the 20th century, the biological explanations of human behavior were challenged. It was
assumed that much of the human behavior was not instinctive; rather it was learned. Thus, people
everywhere were equally human, differing only in their learned cultural patterns, which highlighted the role
of nurture.
Today social scientists are cautious about describing any behavior as instinctive. This does not mean that
biology plays no part in human behavior. Human life, after all, depends on the functioning of the human
body. We also know that children often share biological traits (like height, hair color, and complexion) with
their parents and that heredity plays a part in intelligence, aptitude, and personality.  Ignoring the
contribution of genetic engineering, by and large, the physical characteristics are biologically determined;
though having social interpretations. We learn these social interpretations through interaction with other
members of human society. Without denying the importance of nature, then, nature matters more in
shaping human behavior. More precisely, nurture has become our nature.
As part of nurturing, opportunities are to be provided for the development of human potentials. If the
society does not provide learning opportunities, the human potentials given by nature may be lost.
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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
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Social Isolation
Tragic cases of children isolated by abusive family members show the damage caused by depriving human
beings of social experience. Three such cases quoted in your textbook have already been referred to earlier.
These cases are of:
 Anna ­ discovered at age 5 years.
 Isabelle ­ discovered at age 6 years.
 Genie ­ discovered at age 13 years.
(These cases may be studied in the textbook).
All the evidence points to the crucial role of social experience to human development. Human beings can
recover from abuse and short-term isolation. But there is a point at which isolation in infancy causes
permanent development damage.
Provision of Learning Situations
The provision of learning situations is very crucial in the development of human potentials. Human group
plays a pivotal role in this respect by:
The provision of learning situations;
The provision of guidance; and
Controlling the behavior.
Human groups like the family with whom the child normally has the first contact provide these learning
opportunities. These learning situations are provided automatically in the day-to-day routine activities in
the family. The children listen to people talking around them, see them walking, and playing different roles.
A girl looks at her mother the way she looks after the cooking arrangements, the way she cooks the food,
the way she looks after the guests, and other household chores. She is very likely to copy the behavior of
her mother.
Provision of automatic learning situation is necessary but may not be sufficient to learn to talk, to walk, and
to perform certain role. The group (family) has to provide guidance to the child by intentionally arranging
the learning situations.  The parents may have to provide real guidance to the children for in the
pronunciation of certain words, taking steps in walking, wearing of clothes, answering the telephone, and so
on. Parents try to nurture their child as it is considered appropriate under the cultural norms.
Since all behavior is governed by the cultural values and norms, the parents make it sure that the child acts
as it is culturally permissible. Therefore they try to control the actions of their child by applying rewards
and punishments. For an appropriate behavior just giving a pat on the shoulder may reward the child, or
placing a kiss on the face, or giving a big hug, each may be rewarding. There could be other ways of
appreciating the role being played by the child, a socialize in this situation. Similarly the group may apply
punishments to the socialize in case the behavior is not in accordance with cultural expectations. Such
punishments may be the withdrawal of love and affection, social boycott, withholding of pocket money,
corporal punishment, and so on as permissible under the cultural norms.
Whereas the group provides the learning situations to the child, the child also takes certain actions about
what he or she experiences in the learning situations. These actions are:
 Imitation;
 Experimentation; and
 Adjustment.
In many cases the socialize tries to copy the behavior of others in the learning situations. The socialize may
be talking like others, walking like them, shouting like them, and so on. To what extent he or she can
imitate can be determined by the outcome of the experience of giving a trial to any imitative behavior. The
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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
experimentation of the performance of any role may take place in the presence of the primary group, be it
the parents, or the peer group. This primary group gives its evaluation of the performance, whereas the
socialization is likely to make adjustments in the role performance, and, by and by, develops his/her self-
image.
In this way, as explained in the preceding discussion, the nature provides the potentials, which are
developed through nurture. This whole process may be called socialization, which is a lifelong learning
experience by which individuals develop their human potentials and learn the patterns of their culture. As a
result of socialization process the individuals develop their self-concept.
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Table of Contents:
  1. THE ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGY:Auguste Comte, The Fields of Sociology
  2. THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE:Society affects what we do
  3. THEORETICAL PARADIGMS:Salient Paradigms, Critical Evaluation
  4. SOCIOLOGY AS SCIENCE:Empirical, Verifiable, Cumulative, Self-Correcting
  5. STEPS IN SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION:Exploration/Consultation
  6. SOCIAL INTERACTION:Social Status, ROLE, The Social Construction of Reality
  7. SOCIAL GROUPS:Primary and Secondary Groups, Reference Group, Networks
  8. ORGANIZATIONS:Utilitarian Organizations, Coercive Organizations
  9. CULTURE:Universality, Components of Culture, Symbols, Language
  10. CULTURE (continued):Beliefs, Norms, Cultural Diversity
  11. CULTURE (continued):Culture by social class, Multiculturalism, Cultural Lag
  12. SOCIALIZATION: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, NATURE, Social Isolation
  13. UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIALIZATION PROCESS
  14. AGENTS OF SOCIALIZATION:The Family, The School, Peer Groups, The Mass Media
  15. SOCIALIZATION AND THE LIFE COURSE:CHILDHOOD, ADOLESCENCE
  16. SOCIAL CONTROL AND DEVIANCE:Crime, Deviants, Stigma, Labeling
  17. THE SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS OF DEVIANCE:Cultural relativity of deviance
  18. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME:Sociological explanations
  19. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME -- CONTINUED:White-Collar Crime, Conflict Theory
  20. SOCIAL DISTRIBUTION OF CRIME: EXPLANATIONS, Gender and Crime
  21. SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE
  22. THEORIES OF CLASS AND STRATIFICATION I:Critical evaluation
  23. THEORIES OF SOCIAL CLASS AND STRATIFICATION II
  24. THEORIES OF CLASS AND SOCIAL STRATIFICATION III
  25. SOCIAL CLASS AS SUBCULTURE
  26. SOCIAL MOBILITY:Structural factors, Individual factors, Costs
  27. THE FAMILY: GLOBAL VARIETY, Marriage Patterns, Patterns of Descent
  28. FUNCTIONS OF FAMILY:Reproduction, Social placement
  29. FAMILY AND MARRIAGE IN TRANSITION:Family is losing functions
  30. GENDER: A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION, Gender socialization
  31. GENDER SOCIALIZATION:Role of family, Gender Stratification
  32. EXPLANATIONS OF GENDER INEQUALITY:Conflict Explanations, Feminism
  33. FUNCTIONS OF SCHOOLING:Cultural Innovation, School Tracking
  34. ISSUES IN EDUCATION:Low Enrollment, High Dropout, Gender Disparity
  35. POPULATION STUDY AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE:Crude Birth Rate
  36. THEORY OF POPULATION GROWTH:Theory of Demographic Transition
  37. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN:World Population Growth
  38. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN (Continued):Age Distribution, Sex Composition
  39. IMPLICAIONS OF POPULATION GOWTH:Additional GDP needed per year
  40. POPULATION POLICY:Goals of Population Policy, Objectives, Strategies
  41. ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY:Global Dimension, Historical Dimension
  42. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES:Preserving Clean Water, Clearing the Air
  43. SOCIAL CHANGE:Social change is controversial.
  44. CAUSES OF SOCIAL CHANGE:Culture and Change, Conflict and Change, Modernization
  45. MODERNITY AND POST MODERNITY:Cultural Patterns, Post-modernity