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Write a reflective essay analysing how two agencies of socialisation have contributed to your secondary socialisation, including the formation of beliefs, values and social roles. Reflect and describe how your socialisation may have contributed to how you view the social world, yourself within it in general and one contemporary social issue relating to social inequality. Refer to published scholarly and research literature with which you have
engaged in this unit.

Select two agencies of socialisation out of the following list.

  • school
  • clubs/social groups
  • cultural background
  • work
  • media
  • government
  • religion
  • peer groups
  • or make a case for selecting another agency of socialisation

Select one social issue related to social inequality on which you have a position.

The Process of Socialization

Socialization refers to the process through which members of a given society acquire knowledge and skills that make them able to compete favourably within and without the society. This process begins immediately a child is born. The children at a tender age learn and acquire knowledge essential in life by observing how the members of the family operate. For instance, they get introduced to politics and choose their political parties by hearing how the parents discuss matters politics. Immediately the child is born he/she is introduced to the primary agencies of socialization (Berns, 2012). The child keeps learning and acquiring new lifestyles through every stage of development mostly acquiring cultural concepts that enable them to identify themselves and identify with a specific culture, accepting social roles as well as acquiring particular norms that shape their behaviours.

At the formative years, the family plays a crucial role in the socialization of the child. Nonetheless, socialization of the young child by the family varies greatly depending on the social, cultural, ideological as well as ethnical differences that exist within the specific family setting (Umania-Taylor, et al.2013). Later as the children grow, they are introduced to other agents of socialization such as the church, school, media, peer groups and the government (Ashforth, et al. 2007). Through their interaction with the agents of socialization, the children learn and acquire knowledge and life skills at an advanced level. As they interact with the agents of socialization, the children learn to face and appreciate the realities of life by accepting and appreciating the cultural practices of their communities.

By agencies of socialization, we mean the existing institutions of socialization able to impart norms, beliefs, values as well as attitudes into members of a given society. Sociologists have classified these agencies into various classes depending on the roles they play in the life of the individual (Cole & Tan, 2007). For instance, the agencies are classified as developmental agencies of socialization, anticipatory agencies of socialization, re-socialization agencies, primary and secondary agencies of socialization as well as reverse agencies of socialization. However, the most commonly covered agencies of socialization are the primary and secondary agencies of socialization.

Primary agencies of socialization refers to the processes through which individuals learn and acquire values, attitudes as well as actions that are appropriate for the individual to fit and operate  within a given culture properly.  They include peer groups, family as well as opinion leaders (Radaelli & Pasquier, 2008). These agencies of socialization determine how an individual turns out in terms of behaviour as well as how they perform and relate within the larger society. For instance, the institution of family influences how an individual turns out by determining their attitudes, behaviours as well as their self-concepts. Furthermore, the family together with peer groups sets values and norms that control the operations of the individual.

Primary and Secondary Agencies of Socialization

Secondary agencies of socialization on the other hand refers to the agencies that enable an individual learn and acquire behaviours that makes them identify themselves as members belonging to a smaller and specific group falling within the larger society. They include an individual’s work environment, media, religion as well as education. Through secondary agencies of socialization, an individual learns and adopts new behaviours as well as new lifestyles (Denham, et al. 2007). For instance, through media, individuals acquire new lifestyles as they try to copy and emulate what they see and read in the media such as fashion. Similarly, through interacting with religion which comes with its own values, objectives and norms, individuals learn and embrace new moral principles that end up shaping the operations and life of the individual (McGuire, 2008).

Having been born as the only child in my family, I had no sibling to learn the norms and culture from. However as I grew up, I began meeting children from other families both in school, in church as well as in my neighbourhood (Thomas & Tessler, 2007). These children ended up becoming my friends. Most of the time we could hang out together, interacting and sharing on various issues.  Through these interactions I learned and acquired my behaviour. Most of the members of my peer group were children from white families. For instance, in the group of ten, I was the only child with a dark skin from Aboriginal family. In the group, there are those who treated me well and made me feel part and parcel of them. However, there are those light skinned children who looked down up me because of my skin colour. I remember how one day while we were out playing soccer, one of my friends, Paul called me an Aborigine and hauled discriminatory insults at me simply because I did not pass the ball to him (Brownell, et al. 2013). Other members of the group laughed at me. Such discriminatory treatment made me to develop a low self-esteem and fear going out in the fields to play with my friends. These affected my chances of getting socialized in the right direction at a young age as expected by the culture.

Many are the times I remained in doors instead of going out to develop my social skills due to the fear of being discriminated upon by the children from the white families. Because of the treatment I went through as a result of socializing by peer group members, I have grown to accept the reality of racial discrimination in the society (Handel, 2011). Through studies and attending seminars on cultural orientation, I have learned to accept that all human beings regardless of skin colour are equal and need to be treated with respect and dignity. I have also joined various groups rallying for the recognition of the cultural rights of Indigenous members of society such as Aboriginal people as well as the members of the Torres Strait Islander community (Bauer & Erdogan, 2011). Therefore peer groups made me realize the reality of racial discrimination and inspired my desire to end the vice in the society.

Analysis of Two Agencies of Socialization - Peer Groups and Religion

A part from peer groups, religion is the other agency of socialization that has impacted my secondary socialization. Having been born in a strong Christian family, I was introduced to religion at a very young age. I started attending Sunday school at a very young age. Through church, I have learned and acquired norms, values and traditions quite different from those I was used to at home. I have learned to observe Christian values as outlined in the Bible such as generosity, honesty and love for others. Through religion I have learned to respect as well as to value other human being regardless of their cultural orientation, skin colour or economic status (Kzynski & Parkin, 2007). These religious norms and values have shaped my life positively and determined my present lifestyle.

In following the norms and values of religion, I have embraced various initiatives intended to impact positively to the lives of other members of the society. For instance, in observation with the Christian values of equality in the eyes of God, I have joined various initiatives to encourage racial and cultural tolerance in Australia and to encourage members of society to live in harmony and to respect one another regardless of their skin colour, cultural orientation as well as social status in the society.

Furthermore, to observe the Christian teachings of love for our neighbour, I have participated in various initiatives towards ensuring that the poor members of society have something to eat, a shelter to live under and a cloth to put on. I have donated through organizations such as the Red Cross and World Vision as well as through my church, cloths, food and finances to help the needy and vulnerable members of society (Grusec & Hastings, 2014). Religion has shaped my behaviour and imparted in me a culture of selflessness as well as a concern for the members of society regardless of their social status, their skin colour or their cultural orientation.

My socialization both with religion and peer groups  have to a great extent contributed to the manner in which I view the social world as well as to the manner in which I view myself living in the world. I have grown to appreciate diversity of culture, race, religion as well as social status. I have come to learn and appreciate that all human beings are equal and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity (Lamsa, et al. 2008). Through this realization, I see no reason why members of a particular race should judge their fellow human beings on account of their culture, ethnicity or skin colour. Racial discrimination as a social issue relating to social in equality should be contemned in the strongest terms possible. People should be treated with dignity and respect.

Impact of Peer Groups on Secondary Socialization, Beliefs, Values, and Social Roles

In conclusion, agencies of socialization shape the future outcome of an individual. Right from a tender age, children should be taught the right skills that will make them responsible members of society (Beamon, 2010). If taught the good norms and values through the agencies of socialization such as family, school, religion and the media, children will group into respectable members of society able to shun away from social evils such as discrimination, corruption among other social issues relating to social inequality (Jokisaari & Nurmi, 2009).

References

Ashforth, B. E., Sluss, D. M., & Saks, A. M. (2007). Socialization tactics, proactive behavior, and newcomer learning: Integrating socialization models. Journal of vocational behavior, 70(3), 447-462.

Bauer, T. N., & Erdogan, B. (2011). Organizational socialization: The effective onboarding of new employees.

Beamon, K. K. (2010). Are sports overemphasized in the socialization process of African American males? A qualitative analysis of former collegiate athletes’ perception of sport socialization. Journal of Black Studies, 41(2), 281-300.

Berns, R. (2012). Child, family, school, community: Socialization and support. Nelson Education.

McGuire, M. B. (2008). Religion: The social context. Waveland Press.

Brownell, C. A., Svetlova, M., Anderson, R., Nichols, S. R., & Drummond, J. (2013). Socialization of early prosocial behavior: Parents’ talk about emotions is associated with sharing and helping in toddlers. Infancy, 18(1), 91-119.

Cole, P. M., & Tan, P. Z. (2007). Emotion socialization from a cultural perspective. Handbook of socialization: Theory and research, 516-542.

Denham, S. A., Bassett, H. H., & Wyatt, T. (2007). The socialization of emotional competence. Handbook of socialization: Theory and research, 614-637.

Grusec, J. E., & Hastings, P. D. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of socialization: Theory and research. Guilford Publications.

Handel, G. (Ed.). (2011). Childhood socialization. Transaction Publishers.

Jokisaari, M., & Nurmi, J. E. (2009). Change in newcomers' supervisor support and socialization outcomes after organizational entry. Academy of Management Journal, 52(3), 527-544.

Kuczynski, L., & Parkin, C. M. (2007). Agency and bidirectionality in socialization: Interactions, transactions, and relational dialectics.

Lämsä, A. M., Vehkaperä, M., Puttonen, T., & Pesonen, H. L. (2008). Effect of business education on women and men students’ attitudes on corporate responsibility in society. Journal of business ethics, 82(1), 45-58.

Radaelli, C. M., & Pasquier, R. (2008). Conceptual issues. In Europeanization (pp. 35-45). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Thomas, K. A., & Tessler, R. C. (2007). Bicultural socialization among adoptive families where there is a will, there is a way. Journal of Family Issues, 28(9), 1189-1219.

Umaña-Taylor, A. J., Zeiders, K. H., & Updegraff, K. A. (2013). Family ethnic socialization and ethnic identity: A family-driven, youth-driven, or reciprocal process?. Journal of Family Psychology, 27(1), 137.

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