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THEORIES OF SOCIALIZATION Symbolic Interaction Theories Socialization is the life long process of learning about ourselves in relation to expected behaviors and forms of interaction held by society at large A large part of socialization is taking the role of the other the process of putting oneself into the point of view of another Charles Horton Cooley 1869 1929 Cooley s Looking Glass Self a person s self concept arises through considering his her relationships to others The development of the looking glass self emerges from 1 how we think we appear to others We imagine how we appear to others 2 how we think others evaluate or judge us 3 how the first two make us feel George Herbert Mead 1863 1931 Mead s theory of the social self is based on the perspective that the self emerges from social interactions such as observing and interacting with others for young children the influence is mainly from intimates parents siblings and then as one grows older teachers peers and so on responding to others opinions about oneself 1 and internalizing external opinions and internal feelings about oneself Mead s Stages of Socialization The first stage is the preparatory stage also referred to as the imitation stage 1 month 3 years Children lack an awareness of self in relation to others Therefore they can only imitate the action of others Significant others are those close to the child such as mother father or sibling In the second play stage children become aware of social relationships and interactions They begin to take on the roles of significant people in their environment Stage 2 Play Stage 3 5 years Develop skills Role taking begins creating not imitating Stage 3 The Game Stage In the game stage the child understands s he and others take on multiple roles at the same time These roles are organized in a complex system and the child develops a comprehensive view of the self 2 Role is determined by setting such as a home playground school Age 7 8 Mead called the abstract composite of societal values social roles and social expectations the generalized other Mead s Development of the Self The Me and the I As children grow older they develop a conception of self based on the balance of the ME and the I The ME is the part of our self that is aware of the expectations attitudes and viewpoints of society The I is the more immediate spontaneous self interested and self centered component of personality The Self is the Balance of the I and the Me The self exists as self consciousness of both the ME awareness and understanding of what society expects and the I my personal take on what society expects The development of the self is ongoing and is a reflexive process 3 REVIEW SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM The self is a basic concept in symbolic interactionism which requires the understanding of meaning language and thought It allows humans to reflect on themselves and argue with themselves helping to develop an accurate self image The looking glass self and the generalized other are parts of a larger tool which helps individuals develop their self concepts These concepts help form who we are as individuals and lead to conclusions about the creation of a person s self and socialization into a larger community 4

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