Agents of Sociology

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4/6/08
Agents of Sociology

Socialization is an important factor in everyone’s life. No matter one’s color, race,

gender, etc, socialization occurs and brings about a social identity for every individual.

How the individual chooses to adapt to their environment and develop their own sense of

self is the important sociological question here. Teenagers today face pressure from

various socialization agents such as the media, schools, the peer group and the family.

These socialization agents influence adolescents in different ways both negatively and

positively. Each agent has its positive and negative effects.

The first and biggest part of this process is the family. The family affects everyone

the most because they are the ones around the most. Families are the first ones to teach

their children and what people learn first sticks to them for the rest of their life. Trust

plays a big role too. Kids trust their parents and have not received the knowledge to know

if they are being misinformed. Parents also have the control to isolate children from other

forms of politics.

The media manipulates individuals, especially teenagers. The media does this by

creating an image of a person a teenager would want to be and promotes this image with

products such as clothes, food and cosmetics. Research shows that more than 60 percent

of teenagers that live in the U.S. today find themselves buying products they have seen

advertised on television or magazines.

In the novel The Outsiders, Ponyboy Curtis was also influenced by the media. For

example, we see how he sees the movies of Paul Newman and wishes he could be more

like the image portrayed on the screen as Ponyboy says, “I was wishing I looked like

Paul Newman, he looks tough.” Likewise, Ponyboy enjoys becoming involved in the

lives of these imaginary characters he sees on the television or the movie screen.

Teenagers like Ponyboy, try to change their image to look more like those presented by

the media.

Although in teenage years the school becomes very important, the influence it has

on adolescents decreases as they get older. Many teenagers believe that they are being

forced to go to a place that they don't get much out of. There are two types of teachers,

the working teachers and the caring teachers. The difference between the two is that

caring teachers come to school with the goal to positively influence on teenagers. These

teachers are the ones who make the school a positive socialization agent. They aim to

give adolescents true values of life and to care for them to the amount of giving full

support when needed. However, schools also have negative influences that are sometimes

caused by the working teachers. These teachers come to school for only one reason, to

work for the money. They do not aim to give teenagers any support nor any important

values.

In adolescent years, the peer group plays an important role in teenagers' lives. The

effects of peer group are evident in a teenager's behavior, opinions, dress, and attitude.

Survey results clearly show that the peer group has a very big influence, however

teenagers are not fully aware of the effects of the peer group on their lives.

In the same way, Ponyboy from the The Outsiders was affected negatively by the

peer group. In the rumble, he fought but he didn't like to. As a result of this, he got beaten

up severely which negatively effected on his school performances. However, in some

cases the peers can also have a positive effect. For example, Johnny was most fortunate to have Ponyboy as his friend. When Johnny needed it most Ponyboy was there for him.

Another example of the negative is Cherry Valance. She has a strong personality and she

makes her own decisions but when it comes to the impression she makes to her peer...
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