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Who Am I?
It can be difficult to understand who you really are in terms of some psychological terms. However, in terms of social roles, it can be quite easy to describe a person. Karp, Yoels, Vann, and Borer (2016) state that people can be considered in terms of such dimensions as the family, education, culture, ethnicity, membership in various subgroups, and so forth. For example, I am an adult who has certain responsibilities and roles.
It is possible to start with the description of family roles. I am a daughter and a sister. At present, I am a college student, which makes me a part of several groups. Apart from being a member of the student community, I am a part of a movement aimed at improving our society. I am also an athlete, so I also pertain to the world of sport. Of course, I am a friend who also has various responsibilities such as supporting my friend, helping her whenever she needs my aid, going out and the like. I am also a female, which makes me face many challenges and enjoy numerous opportunities. Finally, I am a part of the so-called middle class, which means that I have access to numerous resources such as high-quality medical services, education, good food and dwelling, and so forth.
Another way to view an individual is to analyze this person’s status. In my family, I am the only person to study at a higher educational establishment. My sister is still at school. Therefore, I have a status of a highly educated person who knows the ropes in the academic world. Although there is some exaggeration in this statement and we make fun of this in my family, I still enjoy a certain status. I am a loyal friend, smart and reliable, which makes my friends respect me. Hence, my friendship status is quite high. I am a high-achiever (at least, I am trying to do my best to study well) so I also have quite a high status among my peer students and teachers who know that I am diligent and intelligent. I also have a high rank in our little feminist society. As for my socioeconomic status, it is high as I know many people who do not have the things I possess and have limited opportunities as well.
All in all, I can note that my social position is favorable and enables me to become a successful member of the American society. I perform various roles and have quite high statuses. Some of these responsibilities and ranks could be regarded as inherited, so-to-speak, as my parents ensured a certain basis for my present achievements. However, I also achieved a lot in the course of my socialization due to my characteristic features.
As has been mentioned above, many factors affect the process of people’s socialization. I believe family, school, peers, and mass media have been the most influential agents that have shaped my development. I was raised with the focus on strong moral principles and family values, so the family is the major social unit, as I see it. According to the functionalist approach, all systems seek harmony and can be self-regulated (Craib, 2015). I believe my family is an illustration of this paradigm. We try to help each other and listen or rather hear each other. My moral development is largely defined by my family experiences.
Of course, there are instances of conflict, but I would not apply the Marxist view to these situations. There can be some rivalry, at least, there was when my sister and I were little girls, but we still understand that we should always collaborate and find solutions. This kind of family environment made me a person who tries to find compromise and make the world a better place. I think that the entire society can transform and become almost ideal as my family is a perfect system.
At the same time, I understand that the society is far from being a harmonized system. My school life can be described as a period of certain re-socialization. I developed a slightly different view concerning the environment. School is one of the illustrations revealing some peculiarities of the contemporary world, which is good as new generations have a chance to understand what their adult life will be. School (as well as adult life, career life and so forth) can be best analyzed in terms of the Marxist framework. People struggle for resources that can be quite scarce (Ritzer & Stepnisky, 2017). The competition was quite stiff in my school, and as I was a high-achiever, I had to compete with my peers. Sports events and various academic contests made me prepared for the fierce struggle for very limited resources. At that, I also tried to come to win-win situations in many cases, which made me less successful as I wished to be.
Apart from school, my peers have had a considerable influence on me and the process of my socialization. I have many friends and become a member of different subgroups. For instance, my love for sports is what unites me with my best friend. Music is the glue that makes me close to another person. I even tried to be in a girls’ band. Peer pressure has sometimes shaped my behaviors although I am quite an independent person who does not follow trends.
One of the examples of the impact peers had on me is the way I talk in informal situations. I also watch films and read books, news, blogs to be aware of the latest trends to be able to talk about different issues with my peers. This sphere of my life can be characterized by the concepts of the social action theory. According to this paradigm, people often act in accordance with certain conventions or expectations inflicted by a group or other individuals (Craib, 2015). Although I always try to think critically and have my own perspective, my peers still have a considerable influence on me and my actions, making them social action.
Another important thing my peers helped me realize is the fact that the world is gender-polarized. There is often a division in boys and girls even in the democratic American society. Some activities are implicitly and explicitly assigned to people in accordance with their gender rather than capabilities or preferences. Some feminist theories are too radical, but overall feminism provides a correct picture of the world. According to this theoretical framework, females do not have equal rights with men and even seen as inferior to males (Ritzer & Stepnisky, 2017). Clearly, this is specifically conspicuous in such spheres as employment, but it became quite obvious during my school years.
Finally, mass media can be seen as one of the most influential factors that affect people’s socialization in the modern world. Social networks, Hollywood, news media bombard people with various messages, and individuals often adopt the views promulgated. I am also affected by the media. For instance, the recent series of sex scandals in the world of cinematography and politics made me and the circle mentioned above start working on a campaign against abuse and exploitation of female sexuality. According to post-modernist perspectives, the world can hardly become a better place as people are now focused on the present rather than the future (Craib, 2015). Researchers and practitioners try to find ways to empower some groups. I take some of these concepts on board and agree to pay more attention to the present, which makes me very active in our endeavor. Therefore, my activism is one of the examples of the effects the media can have on people.
As a concluding remark, I would like to note that the process of my socialization started years ago, and it will not be over. I will be affected by people, groups, ideas, and worldviews. I will develop social ties and be a part of the society. Although postmodernists are rather pessimistic about the future of the humanity, I believe that I, as well as people like me, will make the world a better place in the near future. I am sure about that as I also have a certain influence on people. Someday, I may even shape the way millions think or act.
Craib, I. (2015). Modern social theory (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
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Karp, D. A., Yoels, W. C., Vann, B. H., & Borer, M. I. (2016). Sociology in everyday life (4th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
Ritzer, G., & Stepnisky, J. (2017). Modern sociological theory (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.