Background of the study
Socialization is a lifelong process of change. Even though the socialization experienced in the family is in some ways the most consequential, individuals typically have important socializing experiences throughout their lives. A central theme in the life course literature is the degree of continuity and consistency in personality as an individual moves through the life course. Socialization has had diverse meanings in the social sciences, partly because a number of disciplines claim it as a central process. In its most common and general usage, the term ‘‘socialization’’ refers to the process of interaction through which an individual (a novice) acquires the norms, values, beliefs, attitudes, and language characteristic of his or her group. In the course of acquiring these cultural elements, the individual self and personality are created and shaped. For much of its history, the concept of socialization has been heavily imbued with the notion of adaptation and conformity of the individual to societal expectations. The past few decades, however, have seen a marked shift to a more active view of the self, with an emphasis on self-socialization. Renewed interest in the self-concept as a source of motivation (Gecas 1986) and an agent in its environment has contributed to this shift, as has the increased interest in adult socialization (Levenson & Crumpler 1996). Even in studies of parent-child interaction, the child (even the infant) is increasingly viewed as an active partner in his or her socialization (Rheingold 1969). In short, the outcomes of socialization (whether conceptualized as values, self-conceptions, behavior patterns, or beliefs) are increasingly viewed as the products of reciprocal and negotiated interactions between agent and socializee. Within sociology, there have been two main orientations toward socialization. One views socialization primarily as the learning of social roles. From this perspective, individuals become...
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