Sociology: 9/15 Discussion Notes, & Chapter 4 (Socialization and the Construction of Reality)

Sociology: 9/15 Discussion Notes, & Chapter 4 (Socialization and the Construction of Reality)

paradox
the most important aspects of social life are those concepts we learn without anyone teaching us
socialization definition
The process by which you internalize the values, beliefs, and norms of a given society and learn to become a functioning member of society
how is culture connected to socialization?
Culture is an agent of socialization
Culture and socialization intertwined
what is the key question of socialization?
What makes humans themselves?
Is it more nature or is it more nurture? (Sociology comes down on the side of nurture)
Don’t think of it as either or, say “it is in our nature to be social”
Think about Anna’s case: since she didn’t have social interaction, she wasn’t able to survive
We do have certain biological needs for sociality
example of limitation of socialization
“problem child” in the fam –> we do have some agency
Not everything is a matter of social scripting
Think about newborns with different personalities
Jonathan Haidt opinion on nature/nurture
Minimalist essentialism
Moral psychologist
It’s an outmoded idea that we’re born as blank slates (that’s clearly not the case)
We do need to acknowledge “human nature”
There’s some organization to the human mind prior to experience
Result of evolution
Brain’s are primed to learn certain things
Baby’s come into the world with “a first draft of the moral mind”
Human beings are social animals, so that first draft of our mind prepares us to learn to make our communities survive
Across cultures, we all have beliefs about the importance of care, fairness, liberty, loyalty to our “ingroup”, authority
Prof’s opinion on nature/nurture
We’re born with containers (first draft) and then as we live and experience things, these containers fill (socialization)
how do sociologists view essentialism?
skeptically
what did the chicago school ask regarding socialization?
what do we need to know about the general process of becoming ourselves?
Cooley’s looking glass self
Others mirror back to me an image, and my interpretation of what they think of me affects my sense of self
Next stage: infants can play with others
Next stage: formal games
Next stage: how to function in larger society as a whole
Robert Merton’s Role Theory
Used to explain the process of socialization (How we acquire the knowledge that let’s us be a functioning member of society)
We look at society, pick out different statuses, and each one has a different role attached to it. This is governed by norms. And this keeps society functioning smoothly. Roles tell us how to behave in a certain status.
the whole thing w role conflict, embracement, etc.
explain the predictability of roles according to role theory and example
If we have info about role expectations for a position, we can predict the behavior of the person occupying that position
(but we do have some agency so we can’t predict everything)
Ex. if you occupy status as a doctor, part of the role is to ask personal questions of patients and touch patients
Expectations are a powerful influence on all of us
when does socialization begin?
Socialization can begin in the womb
Babies can hear what’s happening
human nature definition
Combination of “organic equipment” and social interaction
“self” definition
the individual identity of a person as perceived by that same person
“I” definition
one’s sense of agency, action, or power
“me” definition
the self as one imagines others perceive one
“other” definition
someone or something outside of oneself
Infants learning I, Me, and Other
Infants only know the “I”, but through social interaction they learn the “me”
Takes even longer to develop a sense of the “other”
sense of “generalized other” definition
An internalized sense of the total expectations of others in a variety of settings – regardless of whether we’ve encountered those people or places before
how families are an agent of socialization
Original source of significant others (mom) and primary unit of socialization
Socialization in families can be affected by different demographics
Middle class vs working class parents have different values for children
Black families vs white families
how school/peers are agents of socialization
Locus of socialization shifts to include reference groups (peers and teachers). Lots of conformity happens at school
Hence peer pressure
four agents of socialization
families, schools, peers, media
adult socialization
Refers to the way you are socialized as an adult
resocialization definition
socialization continues our whole lives
More drastic form of adult socialization
The process by which one’s sense of social values, beliefs, and norms are reengineered, often deliberately, through an intense social process that may take place in a total institution
Happens when you move to a new country or go from a single sex school to a coed school or brain damage
total institution definition and example
An institution in which one is totally immersed and that controls all the basics of day to day life; no barriers exist between the usual spheres of daily life, and all activity occurs in the same place and under the same single authority
Ex. boarding schools, colleges, monasteries, the army, prisons
status definition and example
A recognizable social position that an individual occupies
Someone who grades your work has the status of a professor
role definition and example
The duties and behaviors expected of someone who holds a particular status
Professors are expected to dress up, arrive on time, and be educated
role strain definition and example
Incompatibility among roles corresponding to a single status
The rule that professors have to do research
role conflict definition and example
The tension caused by competing demands between two or more roles pertaining to different statuses
If your professor is tired in class because she had to help her daughter finish a project
role distance
refers to a situation where the individual accepts the role but rejects the implication about who you are, so you distance yourself from the role. Ex. you have high career aspirations but you’re working as a waiter . so the waiter will say “I’m only doing this to get through college”
role embracement
when the role becomes more than something you do and it becomes a part of who you are. After retirement people may think “who am I?”
role theory limitations
It’s static
What about cases where people deviate?
Theory can’t account for where these norms come from
How do these norms change?
Underestimates agency and ambiguity
Role theory: sort of dated approach. Bigger deal in the 70s w gender roles
Interactionist theory
We also adapt the role to ourselves
fag example of interactionist theory
C. J. Pascoe: fag discourse
Ex. Role of high school boy. Fag discourse related to attempts by male students to attempt the boundaries of masculinity. “Fag” would be hurled at a boy who cared about his clothes, dancing, or if he was incompetent. Fag wasn’t about sexual desire but about gender
frontstage/backstage interactionist theory
Act differently around people you’re close with vs people at school
What did Annette Lareau study regarding families as socialization agents? Interview
“Unequal Childhoods” novel
all parents want children to be happy but they have different strategies to achieve that
studied half white half black families middle and lower class
middle class families: kids are projects so we’ll customize their daily lives, lots of talking (lots of supervision, created entitlement for children) –> concerted cultivation strategy
poor families: they assumed their children would grow/thrive w/o their help, kids had more chill time, more silence –> “accomplishment of natural growth” strategy
race doesn’t matter so much as class in terms of raising kids
followed up w families a decade later –> poor children wanted to do well but college didn’t work out, they were in blue collar jobs. middle class kids did go to college & parents continued guiding them
going to college requires a ton of steps (taking the right classes and tests) which requires guidance
Evidence that early childhood is a v important stage
Experiences in this time have a disproportionate impact on us
status set definition
All the statuses one holds simultaneously
ascribed status definition and examples
A status into which one is born; involuntary status
Age, race, sex
achieved status definition and examples
A status into which one enters; voluntary status
Juggler, drug dealer, peace activist
master status definition and examples
One status in a set that stands out or overrides the others
People tend to interact with you based on that one status
Lesbian, disabled, etc
gender roles definition
Sets of behavioral norms assumed to accompany one’s status as male or female
Symbolic interactionism definition
the process by which things are socially constructed. A micro-level theory in which shared meanings, orientations, and assumptions form the basic motivations behind people’s actions
1. Human beings act toward ideas, concepts, and values on the basis of the meaning that those things have for them
2. These meanings are the products of social interaction in human society
3. These meanings are modified and filtered through an interpretive process that each individual uses in dealing with outward signs
(think of stopping at a red light)
goffman’s dramaturgical theory definition
The view if social life as essentially a theatrical performance, in which we are all actors on metaphorical stages, with roles, scripts, costumes, and sets. he explained this theory in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
face definition
The esteem in which an individual is held by others
breaches definition
Mistakes in the script
openings definition
Startings of a convo
civil inattention definition
Refraining from interacting with someone
given off gestures definition
Unconscious signals of our true feelings
Garfinkel’s Ethnomethodology definition
Literally “the methods of the people”; this approach to studying human interaction focuses on the ways in which we make sense of our world, convey this understanding to others, and produce a shared social order. he would send students into the world to breach social norms and see what others do
how has technology affected social norms
People develop new social norms in chat rooms for example
conclusion/summary (3 things)
Sociologists focus on nurture
We have a plan for how things will go
If there’s a breach, we try to recover asap
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