Friday, July 1, 2011



What is Socialisation?

Socialisation is a process by which the inborn learns the social values and norms to be workable and trained members of the society.

from the point of view of society, socialisation trains a child to become a member of a the society by transmitting its norms, values and beliefs. It also transforms the biological organism into a self, with a sense of identity, capable of disciplining and ordering behaviour endowed, with ideals, values and ambitions.

Education and Socialisation

A child, in the first instance, is a member of a family. But he or she is also a member of a larger kin-group (Blradri, Khandan etc.) consisting of brothers, sisters and other relatives of the parents. The family into which he or she is born my be a nuclear family or an extended family (for the difference see Unit 5 of this course). It is also a member of a larger society. Membership of these groups and institutions imposes certain behavioural nonns and values on each member. Thus, we are members of various groups simultaneously. For instance, we ate a member of family, a biradri, a khandan, or a kunba, or a society, of a school or college all at the same time. Corresponding to these memberships there are roles that are performed, e.g., that of a son, daughter, grand child or a student. These are multiple roles which are performed simultaneously. The process of learning the norms, attitudes, values or behavioural patterns of these groups begins earlv in life and continues throughout one's life.

Socialisation: Norms and Values

Socialisation norms and values are not fixed but various according to the religion, caste, class and groups one norms can be taken in good sense in one group and bad in another group such as eating of non veg is acceptable in some class but not in other.

Transmission of Knowledge

According to Emile Durkheim, the categories of thought in the mind of individuals develop during the course of socialisation. Socialisation also transmits knowledge from one generation to the next. Social solidarity requires conformity to norms, rules and values as prescribed by the society. When groups assemble and reinforce the feelings of solidarity e.g., wedding, or religious festivals, mourning etc., these occasions help express the solidarity of the family and the kin group. On the other hand, the Republic Day and the Independence Day are occasions to express the solidarity of the nation. The social customs, rituals and social ceremonies and occasions which bring members of a group together are called socialisation practices. Through these practices, knowledge about norms values and behaviour pattern is transmitted among members of human social groups.


Conformity is the adherence towards the social norms. But a person can not be compelled to be conform towards a rule which raises conflict between socialising agent and the socialisee .

Conscious and Unconscious Socialisation

Conscious socialisation is a socialisation practice which is regularly monitored such us by parents who regularly tells their children what is right and what is wrong and uses the reward and punishment as a reinforcing agent for good and bad habits.

And those socialisation practices which is not regularly monitored is called unconscious socialisation such the child who is going to schools not only learns from the teachers and books but from his friends also which is not being monitored.

Role and Socialisation

The role refers to the social position one occupies by virtue of one's position in a particular social group, and it entails rights as well as obligations.

When an infant is born in a social group it becomes member of that particular social group with different roles such son, brother, grand son etc. All the roles have different expectations from the person. As the person grows its role in the society also increases.

Primary and Secondary Socialisation

The family is the first social group in which the child is born, it is also the first group which satisfies and meets the primary needs (hunger and thirst) of the human-infant. It is called a primary group whereas a school is a secondary group because it meets the derived needs of the child. Parents are the primary or the chief socialising agents for the child whereas the school teachers are the secondary socialising agents.

Child and Adult Socialisation

The process of socialisation or learning of social roles continues throughout life. As the individual becomes a member of different social groups and institutions, it begins to learn new norms and values. For example, when one joins school one has to learn the discipline of the school and the role of a student. Later on, as an adult, one has to learn to become a parent and to assume family responsibilities. When one takes up an occupation and becomes a member of an occupational group one has to learn the responsibilities and roles that are implied in the membership of that particular group. For example, the role of an executive will be very different from that of a small tea-stall owner, or of a labourer. People have to be socialised in taking on these roles and values. That is why, sociologists believe that the process of socialisation continues throughout life and does not end at adolescence.


When a persons enters into the new role the person has to learn the new norms and unlearn the old norm to be effective in new role. Eg role of an Indian girl before and after marriage.

Marital Re-socialisation

When a daughter is engaged to be married the process of new socialisation or re-socialisation starts. She may be given instructions on how to behave in,the presence of her in-laws. Among Punjabi Hindu families a daughter does not cover her head in front of her elders before her marriage nor does she touch their feet. After her engagement she may be trained to cover her head and also to touch the feet of elders, since she will have to do this soon after the marriage. Though, we may mention that this may not be'practised any more among the upper and middle class families, especially among the educated in the metropolitan cities. Her re-socialisation begins after marriage. She has already been given countless instructions to give up the carefree behaviour of her maiden days in the home of her in-laws, and to pay

deference to nearly every elder in her husband's family and how not to seem to be independent.

A newly married girl goes through the process of unlearning her earlier behaviour gradually. In the initial stage she may only hide it or suppress it, and one may see her behaving normally when she visits her parental home. As for example, she may laugh freely in her parent's home - something that may be considered inappropriate in the home of her in-laws. Another example of re-socialisation is that of a widowed woman. This is particularly marked in some parts of India where a widow's behaviour has to change very drastically after the death of her husband. The external marks of a married woman are removed from her body, that is, she has to wear a particular dress or a saree of a particular colour, all her jewellery has to be removed, the kumkum and vermilion marks or? her forehead and parting between her hair have also to be removed ceremoniously through certain rituals which are performed

in these families. Her head is shaven. In addition she has to live in a different part of the house. The kind of tasks she is to perform in the family also change suddenly. She is considered inauspicious and cannot participate in marriage rituals and other religious ceremonies.

Attitudinal Change

Re-socialisation refers to the process through which during their life span, individuals change or are forced to change their attitudes, values, behaviour and self-conceptions as they assume new roles and undergo new experiences.

Extensive and Intensive Socialisation

Certain occupational and life roles demand extensive and intensive socialisation. This socialisation approximates to re-socialisation, for example, the role of a Christian priest or a nun or a Granthi in a Gurdwara or the role for combat only. Cadets are systematically removed from the society of which they are a part and then they are given assignments involving new personal and social identities; and a sense of identity with the nation and solidarity among themselves is instilled into them through the training given in the institutions. Similarly we have given the example of an Indian girl after marriage or that of a window.

Re-socialisation of a mature individual is difficult to accomplish. Generally speaking it requires that the conditions of childhood socialisation be reproduced in intense and extreme form, specially whcn this is done through a very deliberate process as in the case of resocialisation of a cadet or a criminal or of a widow. Re-socialisation may be forced upon tile individual (as in brain-washing or indoctrination) or voluntary (as in the case of an anthropologist living in a tribe).

The process of re-socialisation, if it contradicts with the initial socialisation and if the individual is unable to cope with the demand made by the new role, may create conflict in the life of an individual. This is especially so hhere differing value systems are concerned. For eg. A person coming from a conservative family background in India finds it extremely difficult to adjust to a cultural environment where social taboos, sexual taboos, etc. of his or her own culture do not match at all. In such an environment a person suffers a culture shock and can end up being a mental patient.

Anticipatory Socialisation

Anticipatory socialisation refers to the process whereby an individual or a group emulates the values, norms and behaviour patterns of a group other than to which one belongs, in anticipation of being accepted as its member.

Anticipatory socialisation is undergone by individuals as well as groups and it happens or takes place in situations of social mobility and social change. Lower castes in the villages, after becoming well-off, try to emulate the upper castes. For example, if the dominant caste in a village are the Brahimins, the lower caste or castes who attain wealth will become vegetarian and teetotallers; they will change their caste names, wear the sacred thread to claim the status of the twice-born, stop sending their women to work for wages and adopt the rites of Brahmins such as head shaving (Mundan). They may also impose rigid behavioural norms on their widows.

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