Intro to Contemporary Society

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To ask any person what family means in contemporary society is to take a glimpse into the multitude of terms describing family forms, that is; “household, couple family, nuclear family, extended family, single-parent family, blended families and stepfamilies” (Germov & Poole, 2007). Therefore regardless of how a family is structured an integral component that each one of these families has is the role they play in the socialisation process. That is, every person’s life from the time they are born till the time they pass will be encompassed with acquiring what is their cultural “norms, values, beliefs, attitudes and language” (Gecas, 2001, p. 2855). In doing so the individuals self and personality will be formed and moulded. For the purpose of this essay I will concentrate on the significance of family in the socialisation process and three facets for which family is central, they are: behaviour, development and gender roles. Predominately, the three aspects will focus on the primary socialisation that focuses on the progression of one’s development. It will examine the nuclear family diversity within family socialisation and describe how different family types socialise. Finally it will briefly discuss the change in family roles within contemporary society. Socialisation is a continual process of cultural diffusion that recognises social identities, roles and personal behaviours that an individual will learn so to become a member of society (Scott, 2006). Every individual begins the process of socialisation within the early years of personhood within the context of their family. Our parents, siblings, grandparents and extended immediate family are our primary agents, who develop our knowledge and skills through a variety of actions (Scott, 2006). Therefore the family in the socialisation process is the most influential and essential for a child’s development. A newly born baby is not a very social being; it is the parents’ role to train the baby and to help make it properly social (Plummer, 2010). As parents respond to their baby’s physical needs, they are starting to implement what the baby should expect from their surroundings and the way they should communicate their needs. A child’s earliest interaction with society is through the relationships it develops with its family members. These relationships during a baby’s development play a key role in their future social adjustments (Strickland, 2001). In relation, families who provide dependable and responsive care, aid the child to develop personal development that can be considered typical to what society views as normal. In doing so the child will be able to develop relationships with others that are beneficial and nourishing (Plummer, 2010). An example of children who do not receive this type of care would be to refer to the studies that have been complied regarding feral children. It has been suggested by Plummer (2010) that children who have been “left to live in isolation and then discovered, later show that they simply cannot function as social beings” (p. 20). Similarly a family who during the child’s developmental years pass on what they think and understand to be principle behaviours, attitudes, skills and values can be suggested to be exercising the social learning theory researched by Jean Piaget (1896-1980). According to social learning theory, behaviours and attitudes develop in response to reinforcement and encouragement from those around us...the identity people acquire is based more on the behaviours and attitudes of people around them than the interior landscape of the individual (Anderson & Taylor, 2006, p. 94). For example, household rules govern behaviour, generosity and caring are socially respected merits that are taught within the home and culture, and interpersonal behaviour function as models for interactions with outside people (Strickland, 2001). Hence, during the primary socialisation it is not only the matter to understand what are...
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