Agents of Socialisation – Literature review Example

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The paper "Agents of Socialisation"  is a delightful example of a literature review on sociology. Socialization is used by social psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, educationalists and anthropologists to denote the constant process of acquiring and disseminating customs, ideologies and norms, giving a person the habits and skills that are needed for participation in a particular community or a group. It is an amalgamation of self-imposed as well as externally enforced rules and anticipations of other individuals in the society. Contrasting other species whose behaviours are biologically developed, human beings require social experiences in order to survive and to learn about their culture.

Even though cultural differences are noticeable in the customs, behaviours and actions of entire social groups, the uppermost basic articulation of culture is seen at the personal level. The articulation can exclusively be acquired after an individual socializes with his family and external social networks, which represent socialization agents. People who act as socialization’ s agents include relatives, friends, teachers, employers, religious leaders, as well as fictional characters which people read about in books or see in the media (Berns, p.46). This essay will analyse how peer group, work and mass media contribute to a person’ s beliefs, sense of life, values and view of the world and also how they may have inbuilt blind spots. Peer group According to Mead (p. 128), a peer group consists of individuals who have similar age, social status and share common interests.

Socialization within peer groups begins in the early years of the human growth process, like when children in a playground educate each other on norms relating to game rules or taking turns or even shooting a basket.

The socialization process continues as kids grow and turn into teenagers. Peer groups form an important part to teenagers in different ways, as they start to develop identities which are totally different from those of their parents and exercise independence. At this stage, children are in a position to learn about making their own decisions especially with regard to peer group activities. Such decisions may include the techniques to use in order to win a certain game or how to handle issues that may arise during group activities.

This kind of independence is acquired almost automatically since children or teenagers participate in peer groups in areas that are far away from parents such as in kindergartens, schools and playgrounds. The kind of knowledge that an individual acquires from his or her peer groups highly influences their sense of life. For instance, the problem-solving knowledge and techniques an individual learns in handling group issues will highly determine his or her approach to life issues in the future. A person can also use the learned knowledge to gauge his or her ability to handle certain matters. In addition, peers highly impact the thoughts of an individual as well as his or her way of thinking.

A person learns to act in a way that they consider will please their peers. This is because; acceptance by fellow peers is a crucial constituent of socialization. This implies that every peer group has its own set of beliefs, thoughts, values and behaviours, which must be followed by all members regardless of whether they are right or wrong. Consequently, a peer group can either have a positive or a negative impact on a person’ s values, beliefs and behaviour.

In most cases, peer groups during the teenage stage have negative influences on the group members. The main detrimental manifestations include alcohol and drug use, premature adolescent sexual activities and other proscribed behaviours in the society. At this stage, peer influences also develop in academic achievement. Being associated with peers whose level of academic excellence matches that of a given individual helps in providing a sense of belonging and self-worth. However, there are tendencies of shunning down low performing students by high performing students, which makes the former feel unimportant in society.

At this stage of the socialization process of a student, teachers, parents, as well as other grown-up role models, take up a crucial role in helping the affected student have a better sense of self (Brinkerhoff, p.68).


Andersen, Margaret L, and Howard Francis Taylor. Sociology: understanding a diverse society. Belmont: Thomson Learning, 2008.

Berns, Roberta. Child, family, school, community: socialization and support. Belmont: Cengage Learning, 2010.

Brinkerhoff, David B. Essentials of sociology. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2008.

Ferrante-Wallace, Joan. Sociology: a global perspective. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Kohn, Melvin L. Class, and Conformity: A Study in Values. Homewood: Dorsey Press, 2007.

Mead, G. H. Mind, self, and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Rosengren, Karl. Media Effects and Beyond: Culture, Socialisation, and Lifestyles. London: Routledge, 2004.

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