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  • Understand the importance of socialization both for individuals and society
  • Explain the nature versus nurture debate

Socialization is critical both to individuals and to the societies in which they live. It illustrates how completely intertwined human beings and their social worlds are. First, it is through teaching culture to new members that a society perpetuates itself. If new generations of a society don’t learn its way of life, it ceases to exist. Whatever is distinctive about a culture must be transmitted to those who join it in order for a society to survive. For U.S. culture to continue, for example, children in the United States must learn about cultural values related to democracy: they have to learn the norms of voting, as well as how to use material objects such as voting machines. Of course, some would argue that it’s just as important in U.S. culture for the younger generation to learn the etiquette of eating in a restaurant or the rituals of tailgate parties at football games. In fact, there are many ideas and objects that people in the United States teach children about in hopes of keeping the society’s way of life going through another generation.

A man and a woman are shown talking at a table in a café.
Socialization teaches us our society’s expectations for dining out. The manners and customs of different cultures (When can you use your hands to eat? How should you compliment the cook? Who is the “head” of the table?) are learned through socialization. (Photo courtesy of Niyam Bhushan/flickr)

Socialization is just as essential to us as individuals. Social interaction provides the means via which we gradually become able to see ourselves through the eyes of others, and how we learn who we are and how we fit into the world around us. In addition, to function successfully in society, we have to learn the basics of both material and nonmaterial culture, everything from how to dress ourselves to what’s suitable attire for a specific occasion; from when we sleep to what we sleep on; and from what’s considered appropriate to eat for dinner to how to use the stove to prepare it. Most importantly, we have to learn language—whether it’s the dominant language or one common in a subculture, whether it’s verbal or through signs—in order to communicate and to think. As we saw with Danielle, without socialization we literally have no self.

Nature versus nurture

Some experts assert that who we are is a result of nurture    —the relationships and caring that surround us. Others argue that who we are is based entirely in genetics. According to this belief, our temperaments, interests, and talents are set before birth. From this perspective, then, who we are depends on nature    .

One way researchers attempt to measure the impact of nature is by studying twins. Some studies have followed identical twins who were raised separately. The pairs shared the same genetics but in some cases were socialized in different ways. Instances of this type of situation are rare, but studying the degree to which identical twins raised apart are the same and different can give researchers insight into the way our temperaments, preferences, and abilities are shaped by our genetic makeup versus our social environment.

Questions & Answers

it is just not good values but education about each aspect of the society , and its people . kids must be made to learn what is the contribution of each person of the society and this will ultimately help them to respect each one and this will help to remove inequality in the society. Manas
Manas Reply
education is the one step towards effective removing of social inequality.. one must have the good values to treat not only our own family but everyone we meet with respect.. social inequality can b removed through good values taught at a tender age to children..
Kriti Reply
is education effective in removing social inequality in society
Agneswar Reply
what influence does mass media has on modern society
Nadar Reply
identify capital urban and rural problems and explain how these problems affect the education of the child
Faith Reply
what are the four perspectives of sociology of education?
Bertha Reply
what is the difference between psychiatry and sociology
Edward Reply
discuss and evaluate, cultural practices in the cari bean and globally
Tamara Reply
Describe 'race' from a sociological perspective.
Urban Reply
How do i notice or observe what someone behavior is
raymond Reply
what is Hegelian Triad?
Aries Reply
how formal education help to prepare young people for earning a living
Seetul Reply
Every theory fits into a perspective. Hence, a perspective is a way of seeing a social action or interaction and a theory is used to explain the how and why society is seen the way it is viewed as.
Kofi Reply
Difference between sociological perspective and socuological theory?
Lovely Reply
what is the relation ship between karnti and population
Shanu Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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