HSP3M Grade 11 Anthropology – More on Sociology

Section 3.2—Socialization and Social Development

What Is Social Behaviour?

  • behaviour is the observable responses to external and internal stimuli
    • each individual in society responds to these stimuli simultaneously
  • social behaviour is the interaction among members of the same group responding to the internal and external stimuli
    • internal stimuli: you learn to behave in restaurants by listening to your parents or watching how people dine on TV
    • external stimuli: you watch others in the restaurant, and follow how others behave


What Influences Behaviour?

  • social influence is the effect of other people on a person’s thoughts and actions
    • it can affect someone directly (you go to a sushi restaurant because your friends are going, despite wanting a burger)or indirectly (you decide not to date someone because of how you think your parents will react)


A Force Shaping Behaviour: Family

  • the biggest force that shapes behaviour
  • individuals learn values and acceptable behaviours from their family, and often use these learned values in social settings
  • a person’s first social interaction is typically with their family and caregivers
  • families are our primary caregivers, and they teach us how to behave in their absence
  • our social behaviour is reflected by the actions, customs, and rituals observed in the home


A Force Shaping Behaviour: Gender

  • our biological sex is if we’re male or female at birth
  • how we behave as either a male/female is determined by the role given to our gender by society
    • in our society, we value strength in men and sensitivity in females; you are likely to internalize the qualities attributed to your gender (your expected to demonstrate those qualities, and you expect others to also)
  • gender also influences your views and behaviours as you interact with others in society
  • biological sex isn’t the same as gender—sex is what you’re born with, gender is how you act
  • we often see sex and gender as either male or female
    • intersex people are born with both male and female characteristics
    • third gender is when a person doesn`t see themselves as entirely male or entirely female (gender identity differs from their assigned biological sex)


A Force Shaping Behaviour: Culture

  • everyone is raised in a specific culture with its own characteristics and traditions
  • a culture influences us, and we view the rest of the world through our own cultural perspective
  • people can be influenced by more than one culture—immigrants (native culture and Canadian culture)


A Force Shaping Behaviour: Media

  • media influences social behaviour
  • example: Facebook friendships are proven to improve real friendships research shows
  • new forms of communication are being shaped through media (socialize with people all over the world)



  • individuals learn to think and act as others do in their society—they learn what is acceptable and unacceptable in their society
  • the process by which the individual learns the behavioural patterns, skills, and values of his/her social world is socialization
  • socialization begins at birth and continue through life—it allows values and norms to be internalized
  • through socialization, individuals learn:
    • basic skills (how to take care of themselves)
    • socially accepted goals (marriage, employment etc.)
    • roles and behaviours (how to act in certain situations)


Categories of Socialization

  • the process of socialization is divided into 4 distinct categories:
    • primary socialization is learning the basic skills needed to survive in society
    • secondary socialization is the process of learning how to behave appropriately in group situations (school)
    • anticipatory socialization is learning how to plan the way to behave in new situations (plan ahead behaviour for new situation—using prior knowledge, about certain social settings, you should be able to anticipate how to dress, behave, and talk)
    • resocialization is the process by which negative behaviour is transformed into positive behaviour (jail)


Socialization and Gender

  • boys and girls tend to display differences in behaviours, attitudes, interests, and abilities
  • children are encouraged to play with gender specific toys (boys—trucks; girls—dolls)
  • children show that gender is culturally constructed—a young sensitive boy may become more tough and rude because that`s how males are portrayed in society (gender roles are internalized at a very young age)


Abnormal Socialization

  • ideally, children should be raised in a nurturing environment, and need attention and encouragement during their development, in order to become positive members of society
  • in some cases, children are raised in unfortunate circumstances where they`re neglected, or abandoned
    • this means that crucial socialization that occurs in the first years of life is missing, resulting in rather disastrous consequences for the children
  • children raised in homes of abuse don`t learn normal and healthy behaviours (abuse could be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect)
  • feral children are unwanted kids deserted at a young age and raised by animals
    • ferals have the behaviours of the species that raised them and can perfectly imitate their gestures and sounds
    • Oxana Malaya was found exhibiting dog features after being neglected by her parents, and therefore spent much time with dogs in their backyard
  • isolates are children raised in near isolation within a human household
    • Genie lived most of her 13 years in isolation, strapped to a potty chair with minimal human contact
      • she couldn`t speak and could barely walk or eat
    • Danielle was found to have laid on a mattress has body covered with feces, insect bites, rashes, and sores
      • only had on a soiled diaper


Agents of Socialization

  • agents of socialization are the people and institutions that shape an individual`s social development
  • throughout your life, you`ll encounter situations where you will rely heavily on individuals and groups to help shape your behaviour and beliefs
    • these groups teach you how to participate in society; they play a huge role in your social, emotional, and physical development
  • different agents of socialization have different levels of influences on you (depending on age and stage of life)
    • as a child, your parents influenced you greatly; as a teen, your friends influence you more


The Primary Agent of Socialization: FAMILY

  • the family is responsible for meeting an individual`s most basic needs and providing the beliefs needed to survive
  • it is in the family that you are first introduced to right/wrong, proper/improper
  • families are the first to teach individual’s social behaviour
  • family is the primary agent, because it shapes behaviour throughout life, starting from birth (including those crucial early years of development)
  • today, families are more diverse, but all families are equally important
    • types of families: nuclear, extended, lone-parent, blended, same-sex


Secondary Agents of Socialization

  • the non-family people and institutions that teach an individual social behaviour and norms
  • typically secondary agents of socialization begin to influence a child once they begin school


Secondary Agent of Socialization: SCHOOL

  • schools socialize students through a hidden curriculum—it models a certain set of beliefs and attitudes that endorse specific behaviour in different situations
  • hidden curriculum includes skills like teamwork, self-reliance, punctuality, obedience etc.
    • these skills are aimed to be internalized by the student


Secondary Agent of Socialization: PEER GROUPS

  • peers are people of the same age
  • peer groups influence an individual the most during adolescence
  • the adolescence peer group allows teens to learn social skills like communication, collaboration, and compromise (the social curriculum of schools)
  • peers teach each other gender and culture, relationships, and multiculturalism
  • the most important lesson peers teach each other are sexual relationships
    • some cases, the peer influence of sex contradicts the values of the family
  • adolescent peer group is highly susceptible to the media influence


Secondary Agent of Socialization: THE WORKPLACE

  • the workplace for adults is similar to the influence of schools on kids
  • children first learn about work at home—chores, play, and observing parents
    • parents and adults influence the values and attitudes children have on work
  • students take part in “Take Your Kids to Work Day” and co-op placements, and part time jobs


Secondary Agent of Socialization: MEDIA

  • includes TV, radio, movies, books, and Internet
  • media can influence a child’s socialization—children become addicted to TV, thus limiting their socialization with their friends
  • media also has pervasive messages on what to wear, how to act, and what to aspire to
  • media can give children different values, beliefs and behaviours (these can contradict those of the family)
  • violence of video games MAY cause children to be more violent
    • media normalises violence
    • media tells males violence is okay—on TV males are violent; advertisers use violence to sell products to men (especially video games)
  • technology can be positive: exposes kids to new cultures worldwide, an outlet for creativity, and offers new ways to connect with people worldwide (Facebook, Skype etc.)


Secondary Agent of Socialization: RELIGION

  • religion is an important agent, even though people are becoming less involved in it
  • most religions have moral codes and set standards of behaviour that they expect their members to follow
  • religion also instils values like responsibility, charity, and volunteering