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Chapter 4: Socialization

4.6 Socialization to Address Social Issues

Socialization has two outcomes. It is the method by which a society transmits the specifics of its culture, and thus is necessary for any society to exist. At the same time, socialization is necessary for any one individual to be human in the social sense of the term, as our earlier discussion of feral and institutionalized children demonstrates. Most of the time, both outcomes occur smoothly. Most of us are socialized to become cooperative members of society, allowing society to continue. Yet socialization can also result in attitudes and behaviors that most of us would rightly condemn.

For many of the serious social issues confronting the United States, new patterns of socialization are needed if our society wants to be able to address them effectively. People commit crimes either because they have not completely absorbed society’s values and norms (‘don’t steal from the rich’) or because those with the most power have not completely absorbed society’s values and norms (‘don’t steal from the poor’). Problems with racism, sexism, and ageism originate with what people are taught about dissimilar groups. A growing divide in our society has its roots in where and from whom people are getting their information. When core American values about individualism, freedom and group superiority are in conflict with other core values such as equality and achievement, learning to reconcile competing principles can only happen if we are taught to do so.


Think Like a Sociologist

image of the January 6, 2021 insurrection in the U.S. Capital

Tyler Merbler from USA – CC BY 2.0 – Wikimedia Commons

The 2020 presidential election yielded very different reactions, depending on a person’s social location. While Democrats generally believe the results were valid, a large minority of Republicans felt the unusual circumstances for voting that the pandemic precautions required made the outcome suspect. This rancor culminated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, as shown above.

How do insights about socialization help us understand what happened on January 6, 2021?


Section 4.6 References

CC licensed content, Shared previously and Adapted

Barr, Scott, Sarah Hoiland, Shailaja Menon, Cathay Matresse, Florencia Silverira and Rebecca Vonderhaar.  (n.d.).  Introduction to Sociology. Introduction to Sociology | Simple Book Production. Lumen Learning.  License: CC BY 4.0. License Terms:  Access for free at https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-introductiontosociology/.

Conerly, Tonja, Kathleen Holmes, Asha Lal Tamang, Jennifer Hensley, Jennifer L. Trost, Pamela Alcasey, Kate McGonigal, Heather Griffiths, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Tommy Sadler, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry and Faye Jones. (2021).  Introduction to Sociology 3E. OpenStax. Houston, TX.  License: CC BY 4.0.  License Terms:  Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-sociology-3e/pages/1-introduction.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Stayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry and Faye Jones.  (2015).  Introduction to Sociology 2E. OpenStax. Houston, TX.  License: CC BY 4.0.  License Terms:  Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-sociology-2e/pages/1-introduction-to-sociology.

Saylor Foundation.  (2015). Social Problems: Continuity and Change. License:  CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.  License Terms:  Access for free at https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_social-problems-continuity-and-change/.



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Exploring Our Social World: The Story of Us by Jean M. Ramirez, Suzanne Latham, Rudy G. Hernandez, and Alicia E. Juskewycz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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