Chp03-Socialization&LifeCourse&Aging

Through our experiences with our families schools

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Through our experiences with our families, schools, peers, and the media, we learn the basic contours of many roles, including parents, siblings, teachers, troublemakers, and many more. It’s important to recognize, however, that though the behaviors attached to these roles feel natural, that is simply the result of having been successfully socialized into a particular culture that supports them. S OCIALIZATION & I DENTITY Socialization involves, not only the internalization of culture, but also the construction of self. Each person has a social identity (objective identity) and a self identity (subjective identity). In fact, we typically have multiple social identities. Sources of social identity include gender, race, nationality, and sexual orientation. All people have multiple social identities, in large part because we all must interpret how different people view us (Cooley, “the looking-glass self”). Our self identity is the one that we take on as being “true” or “real”; it is how we see ourselves. Interaction between society and the individual shapes the self identity. We’ve been talking a lot about how we learn the norms of our society via socialization, but there is also another critical piece to consider: Socialization is also the process by which we construct our identities. Through socialization, we gain both a social identity and a self identity. Our social identity is what we can call an objective identity, as it is largely determined by external relationships, while our self identity is a subjective identity , meaning it is how we see ourselves. Our social identities are determined by many things, including gender, race, religion, job, marital status, and other social categories that others observe us in. All of us actually have many social identities. I am, for example, teacher, parent, child, sibling, employee, and many more. These are all objective identities, as they are the ways that other people know me, and my role varies with each one. We also all have a self-identity, which is essentially some combination of parts of these that we understand as our “true” self; it’s us “keeping it real.” From a psychological perspective, we might think of something like personality, but sociologically it is important to think of this self-understanding as a kind of identity that is socially constructed. Usually we think of personality as something innate, even something we are born with, but identity is something we have to achieve, and is also something that can change. Identity is, in fact, a social process, not a static thing.
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(Lecture Notes: Chapter 3) 5 T RADITIONAL VS . M ODERN S OCIETIES The way identity is constructed has changed over time for at least four reasons: o Identity is no longer as deeply rooted in family.
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  • Summer '09
  • Saran
  • Sociology, primary socialization

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