Socialization is the process by which children and adults learn from others. We begin learning from others during the early days of life; and most people continue their social learning all through life (unless some mental or physical disability slows or stops the learning process).
Put in other words, socialization is a process with the help of which a living organism is changed into a social being. It is a process through which the younger generation learns the adult role which it has to play subsequently. It is a continuous process in the life of an individual and it continues from generation to generation.
Every society is faced with the necessity of making a responsible member out of each child born into it. The child must learn the expectations of the society so that his behavior can be relied upon. He must acquire the group norms. The society must socialize each member so that his behavior will be meaningful in terms of the group norms. In the process of socialization the individual learns the reciprocal responses of the society.
Features of Socialization:
1. Inculcates basic discipline:
Socialization inculcates basic discipline. A person learns to control his impulses. He may show a disciplined behaviour to gain social approval.
2. Helps to control human behaviour:
It helps to control human behaviour. An individual from birth to death undergoes training and his, behaviour is controlled by numerous ways. In order to maintain the social order, there are definite procedures or mechanism in society. These procedures become part of the man’s/life and man gets adjusted to the society. Through socialization, society intends to control the behaviour of its-members unconsciously.
3. Socialization is rapid if there is more humanity among the- agencies of socialization:
Socialization takes place rapidly if the agencies’ of socialization are more unanimous in their ideas and skills. When there is conflict between the ideas, examples and skills transmitted in home and those transmitted by school or peer, socialization of the individual tends to be slower and ineffective.
4. Socialization takes place formally and informally:
Formal socialization takes through direct instruction and education in schools and colleges. Family is, however, the primary and the most influential source of education. Children learn their language, customs, norms and values in the family.
5. Socialization is continuous process:
Socialization is a life-long process. It does not cease when a child becomes an adult. As socialization does not cease when a child becomes an adult, internalization of culture continues from generation to generation. Society perpetuates itself through the internalization of culture. Its members transmit culture to the next generation and society continues to exist.
Types of Socialization:
Although socialization occurs during childhood and adolescence, it also continues in middle and adult age. Orville F. Brim (Jr.) described socialization as a life-long process. He maintains that socialization of adults differ from childhood socialization. In this context it can be said that there are various types of socialization.
1. Primary Socialization:
Primary socialization refers to socialization of the infant in the primary or earliest years of his life. It is a process by which the infant learns language and cognitive skills, internalizes norms and values. The infant learns the ways of a given grouping and is molded into an effective social participant of that group.
The norms of society become part of the personality of the individual. The child does not have a sense of wrong and right. By direct and indirect observation and experience, he gradually learns the norms relating to wrong and right things. The primary socialization takes place in the family.
2. Secondary Socialization:
The process can be seen at work outside the immediate family, in the ‘peer group’. The growing child learns very important lessons in social conduct from his peers. He also learns lessons in the school. Hence, socialization continues beyond and outside the family environment. Secondary socialization generally refers to the social training received by the child in institutional or formal settings and continues throughout the rest of his life.
3. Adult Socialization:
In the adult socialization, actors enter roles (for example, becoming an employee, a husband or wife) for which primary and secondary socialization may not have prepared them fully. Adult socialization teaches people to take on new duties. The aim of adult socialization is to bring change in the views of the individual. Adult socialization is more likely to change overt behaviour, whereas child socialization moulds basic values.
4. Anticipatory Socialization:
Anticipatory socialization refers to a process by which men learn the culture of a group with the anticipation of joining that group. As a person learns the proper beliefs, values and norms of a status or group to which he aspires, he is learning how to act in his new role.
Re-Socialization refers to the process of discarding former behaviour patterns and accepting new ones as part of a transition in one’s life. Such re-socialization takes place mostly when a social role is radically changed. It involves abandonment of one way of life for another which is not only different from the former but incompatible with it. For example, when a criminal is rehabilitated, he has to change his role radically.
Importance of Socialization:
Socialization is an important part of the process of personality formation in every individual. It is true that genetics is the reason behind the structure of human personality, but socialization is the one that causes this personality to be molded to specific directions through the process of accepting or rejecting beliefs, attitudes and societal norms. Because of the dynamics in socialization, we tend to have different personalities although we are living in the same society. In the socialization process the individual learns the culture as well as skills, ranging from language to manual dexterity which will enable him to become a participating member of human society.
Socialization inculcates basic disciplines, ranging from toilet habits to method of science. In his early years, individual is also socialized with regard to sexual behaviour. Society is also concerned with imparting the basic goals, aspirations and values to which the child is expected to direct his behaviour for the rest of his life. He learns-the levels to which he is expected to aspire.
In this way man becomes a person through the social influences which he shares with others and through his own ability to respond and weave his responses into a unified body of habits, attitudes and traits.