Socialization

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Socialization is a term used by sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, politicians and educationalists to refer to the process of inheriting norms, customs and ideologies. It may provide the individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within their own society; a society itself is formed through a plurality of shared norms, customs, values, traditions, social roles, symbols and languages. Socialization is thus ‘the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained’.[1]

Socialization, however, is not a normative term: it describes a process which may or may not affect the reflexive agent, and which may or may not lead to desirable, or 'moral', outcomes. Individual views on certain issues, such as race or economics, may be socialized (and to that extent normalized) within a society. Many socio-political theories postulate that socialization provides only a partial explanation for human beliefs and behaviours; that agents are not 'blank slates' predetermined by their environment.[2] Scientific research provides strong evidence that people are shaped by both social influences and their hard-wired biological makeup.[3][4][5][6][7] Genetic studies have shown that a person's environment interacts with their genotype to influence behavioural outcomes,[8] whilst the linguistic theory of generative grammar demonstrates how something such as the capacity for learning changes throughout one's lifetime. (See also: Nature vs. Nurture; Structure vs. Agency)

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