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Symbolic Interactionism and Socialization Research Paper

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Symbolic Interactionism

When we talk about socialisation, we prefer unambiguous ways of carrying out basic functions like economic production, government, family life, religion, and so on. These basic functions initiate from our biological life cycle, and fulfil the necessity to be fully utilised to that extent where they are useful to the members of any society who teach the young how to carry on the social patterns of that society if cultural continuity and social order are to be maintained. While ending upon our social system, this condition accomplishes the task of what is being called as ‘adaptation’. That means man being a social animal is flexible enough to adapt to the changing or unchanging environment of the society.

Social Adaptation

With reference to S.I. it is true that every society consists of different kinds of ‘full members’ who participate and play their roles accordingly. For instance, nowhere do we find adult males and females performing the same set of tasks or being concerned with the same elements of a society’s ongoing activities (Kerckhoff, 1972, p. 2).

That is true in various situations of not only socially cultured environment but is also true to economic sociological class system of the society in the following manner: When we talk about S.I in the milieu of gender, a female is more exposed towards S.I than male for she has various reasons to demonstrate her ego which includes being status conscious through show-offs. While considering a middle class female, we know that her economic conditions are limited and do not allow her the same freedom as that of an upper class female. Therefore in such conditions where she is unable to afford the same luxuries of life which an upper class female take for granted, she is still satisfied enough to lead her life according to her financial status.

The role played by females in farms enable them to perform their responsibility of mothers towards their children so that farm women have not limited themselves to the expressive roles within the family, but have also seized a greater diversity of economic roles on the farm than their husbands. Farm women not only work in crops, but also tend gardens, raise small animals, process foods, and make clothes or crafts for their families’ own consumption; their surplus can be sold for cash to buy other goods that women cannot produce on the farm-home (Johnson & Wang, 1997, p. 4). This clearly represents the way how human beings are not limited to lead their lives by adapting to the society.

S.I and Human Socialisation

Human beings never lead their lives in isolation or by remaining aloof from their social setting or environment. Societies thus differentiate among different positions or statuses, and the incumbent of any position is expected to carry out specified activities. In this sense, human socialisation is all about different roles which we play as humans in context with the activities that the incumbent of any given position is expected to carry out in relation to some other position in the society. An adult woman normally performs the role of wife and mother, and possibly other roles involving economic, political, or religious activities.

An adult man also has multiple roles, which are different from those of his wife. He works in different environment, at times he is on work while other times he likes to spend his time with his family and kids. Finally, the society actually socializes us, irrespective of our gender and role. Children while they are at school, play different role than the times they are at home or on vacations. Therefore human socialisation is all about ‘differentiation’, which refers us to the notion that not all adult males or adult females, teenagers or kids carry out the same set of roles.

S.I when practiced with socialisation process enables human beings to lead their lives while focusing on the micro structural minuscule details of social life rather than on focusing on the objective (Sociology, 2008). Another aspect of socialisation that escorts us towards S.I is the successful and unsuccessful aspect of socialisation that can be in any field of life or any profession. Researchers and psychologist scholars are naturally aware that in ‘socialisation’ there is still a great need for precise concepts and theories which however, already have made such a great impression on the public that ‘knowledge of socialisation theory’ is free to be demonstrated in field of teaching positions, socialisation law, socialisation policies, socialisation engineering and so on (Brezinka & Brice, 1994, p. 3).

Keeping in the shoe of others

Socialisation refers to the social process of performing roles and when it comes to gender, females perform their specific roles by going through a particular process which takes place from giving birth, shaping in the values, adapting the customs and behavioural norms required to live together with other adult and non-adult members of society. Gender socialisation, therefore, refers to all those processes which take place by going through almost the particular customs and behavioural norms that account for the sexual differentiation in adult personal identity and behaviour (Chevannes, 2001, p. 1).

Despite so many theories and philosophies to define gender socialisation, few of us dare to see and analyse ourselves while putting in the shoe of others. This means that we or our subconscious gets prepared to see us while exchanging our roles temporarily. As it is explained above that it is all about role playing in the society, the one who performs better part is considered more reliable in the eyes of the social milieu.

S.I, Meaning and Self

There are many theories explaining S.I, but the flow of our above research suggests S.I be taken on account of performing better each time. This is possible only where females understand their role in a better way, they are well aware of how to raise a happy family and since theories like S. I has been so influential in sociological thought, it might be useful to trace how the socialisation is accomplished. According to sociologists it all depends, in the first place, on the structure of the family, whether nuclear or extended, female-headed or male-headed, small or large, and the functional roles played by its members.

First at the structural level they posit a framework for understanding the family as a system comprising two axes. In the hierarchy and power axis, the role of parent is superior to the role of son or daughter, while in the instrumental or expressive axis, the role of the males is oriented ‘instrumentally’ to meeting the needs of the system in relation to goal-objects outside, and that of the females oriented to the expressive, or affective needs of the system.

This is a scientific and abstract way of expressing the quite familiar sex-role division by which women are oriented to the internal relations of a family and men to the external. Therefore women must consider two facts: they understand their role, and that their part can only be performed by them. Secondly as human beings are easily moulded to adapt to any setting, so does the women must acknowledge it by practising and implementing this notion.

Works Cited

Brezinka Wolfgang & Brice Stuart, (1994) Socialization and Education: Essays in Conceptual Criticism: Greenwood Press: Westport, CT.

Chevannes Barry, (2001) Learning to Be a Man: Culture, Socialization, and Gender Identity in Five Caribbean Communities: University of the West Indies Press: Barbados.

Johnson E. Nan & Wang Li Ching, (1997) Changing Rural Social Systems: Adaptation and Survival: Michigan State University Press: East Lansing, MI.

Kerckhoff C. Alan, (1972) Socialization and Social Class: Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Sociology, 2008. Web.

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