Discuss the Impact That Agencies Have in Defining Identity and Status

Topics: Sociology, Marxism, Sociological terms Pages: 2 (714 words) Published: February 3, 2013
Discuss the impact that agencies have in defining identity and status There are a range of agencies of socialisation which influence our identity and status in society. Primary socialisation is the first stage in a lifelong process. The family, particularly the parents, are seen as central to primary socialisation. Baumeister (1986) said that family socialisation provides children with a sense of identity, in that they learn to be part of a family and have pride in a family name. Parents can use sanctions to reinforce acceptable behaviour and to punish unacceptable behaviour and these help children to learn the difference between right and wrong and to respect laws and rules, by encouraging the development of a conscience. Parsons, a functionalist, sees primary socialisation as a process which is essential to value consensus, social integration and social order. He believes that the family is a ‘personality factory’ in that the parents mould the child’s personality in the image of society. Marxists such as Zarestky suggest that cultural values in to which parents socialise their children are the product of ruling class ideology and intend for the child to turn into a conformist, passive citizen. Secondary socialisation occurs at the start of school and never stops throughout life. A secondary agency of socialisation would be the peer group. The peer group refers to people of similar status who come into regular contact with each other. It is very influential on adolescent’s behaviour and attitudes, as teenagers feel that they have a right to engage in deviant behaviour, such as underage drinking, in order to be accepted by their peers. These friendship networks also put huge pressures on teenagers to conform by using negative sanctions such as gossip and bullying. Through interaction with our peer groups, we begin to develop a complex understanding of ourselves and our identity. The work place and occupational peer groups are similar to peer groups. Work is...
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