Despite the plethora of definitions of socialization, this process of formation of the social human is a key concept by allowing the interconnection between society and culture.
The concept of socialization is present, in diverse forms and with different meanings (Cherkaoui, 1990). Socialization begins at birth, operates bidirectionally during routine interactions, and assumes many forms, both subtle and complex. Socialization of prosociality does not take effect only when a child is already prosocial and begins to comprehend social norms, as some have argued. Instead, social influences during infancy gradually give rise to cooperative, caring motives and behavior.
The process of socialization is, according to Rocher‘s (1989) stance, the: “process by which throughout life the human person learns and internalizes the sociocultural elements of his/her environment, integrates them into the structure of his/her personality under the influence of experiences of significant social agents and thus adapts to the social environment in which one should live” (p. 126).
Assuming the influence of Durkheim and Rocher, culture may be considered as the ways of thinking, feeling and acting shared by a group of individuals and that are learned and understood through the socialization processes. In this logic, “culture and society are found in each individual and each individual is incorporated into the social organization” (Rocher, 1989, p. 124).
As Grigorowitschs (2008) and Javeau (1998) maintain, the socializing process is dynamically interactive. According to Javeau (1998), “t is above all making one capable of autonomously assessing situations one is faced with and of discovering, in one‘s repertoire of scenes to perform, the ones that best apply to this or that specific situation” (p. 166). The author adds that one “socializes at the same time that one is socialized, one builds oneself up to the extent that one is built by others” (p. 167).
Then, socialization is a process that enables the formation and reformulation of the individual identity (Grigorowitschs, 2008; Dubar, 1997), but not only. According to Abrantes (2013), in developing his proposal on socialization, there are three interconnected principles: “(1) any individual‘s life repertoire of experiences is a singular fraction of ―the social‖ (objective principle); (2) enrolment in each of those experiences partially depends on individual‘s abilities and motivations at each moment (subjective principle); (3) the information produced by such experiences cannot be fully stored and used, implying (inter-subjective) processes of selection, generalization and analogy (constructivist principle)” (p. 394).
To a certain extent, the socialization process somehow naturalizes the social and physical world.
Abrantes, P. (2013). Opening the black box of socialization: Emotions, practices and (biographical) identities. International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, 5(9), 391–401. https://doi.org/10.5897/ijsa2013.0484.
Cherkaoui, M. (1990). Socialização [Socialization]. In R. Boudon, P. Besnard, M. Cherkaoui, & B.-P. Lécuyer (Dirs.), Dicionário de sociologia [Dictionary of sociology] (p. 227). Lisboa: Publicações Dom Quixote.
Dubar, C. (1997). A socialização. Construção das identidades sociais e profissionais [Socialization. Building social and professional identities]. Porto: Porto Editora.
Durkheim, E. (1893/1977). A divisão do trabalho social [The division of social work]. Lisboa: Editorial Presença.
Durkheim, E. (1895/1998). As regras do método sociológico [The rules of the sociological method]. Lisboa: Editorial Presença.
Grigorowitschs, T. (2008). O conceito ―socialização‖ caiu em desuso? Uma análise dos processos de socialização na infância com base em Georg Simmel e George H. Mead [Is the “socialization” concept outdated? An analisis of the socialization processes in childhood according to Georg Simmel and George H. Mead]. Educação & Sociedade, 29(102), 33–54.
Javeau, C. (1998). Lições de sociologia [Lessons of sociology]. Oeiras: Celta Editora.
Rocher, G. (1989). Sociologia geral. A acção social. Vol I [General sociology. Social action. Vol.I]. Lisboa: Editorial Presença.
Note: Text based on Ferreira, C. M., & Serpa, S. (2019). Socialization: a key concept in Social Sciences. IJASOS- International E-Journal of Advances in Social Sciences, V(14), 599–605. https://doi.org/10.18769/ijasos.591428. For further development see these text.
Sandro Serpa1, & Carlos Miguel Ferreira2
1 University of the Azores, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, Department of Sociology; Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences - CICS.UAc/CICS.NOVA.UAc; Interdisciplinary Centre for Childhood and Adolescence - NICA - Uac, Ponta Delgada, Portugal
2 Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences - CICS.NOVA, Lisbon; ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon