The Importance of Socialization Socialization is the cultural process of learning to participate in group life. It begins at birth and continues throughout life, and without it, we would not develop many of the characteristics we associate with being human.
Socialization and the Self All three theoretical perspectives agree that socialization is needed if cultural and societal values are to be learned. Symbolic interactionists, however, have the most extensive interpretation of the relationship between socialization and human nature. They use a number of concepts—the self-concept, the looking-glass self, significant others, role taking, and the generalized other—to explain the processes of socialization.
Agents of Socialization Various agents influence the socialization of a person, namely the family, school, peer groups, and mass media. For children, the peer group is the only agent of socialization not controlled primarily by adults.
Processes of Socialization Symbolic interactionism views socialization as a lifelong process. Learning new behaviors and skills is important to socialization, and it occurs through four major processes—desocialization, resocialization, anticipatory socialization, and reference groups.