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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Describe the various agents of socialization and why they are

Customer Question

Describe the various agents of socialization and why they are important. Do you think socializing agents contribute to an institutionalized system of social inequality? Support your answer with detailed examples.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


The five basic elements of socialization are:


The family


Educational systems

Peer relationships

The Media


The family is the primary agent of socialization and it is known in social psychology that they are the greatest influence on our behavior and beliefs. They instill many of our attitudes including those that are not learned by personal experience or logical evaluation. They are also a primary influence for an individual's view of societies inequalities. For example, a person from a white family who lives in a white neighborhood and is taught to stay away from black people is taught discrimination. The message that there is something wrong with someone based on skin color.


The dominant culture contributes to social pressures as to which viewpoints and which behaviors are acceptable. This might even be as basic as the idea of physical attractiveness. For example, during the different centuries in the Untied States, different bodily images where deemed acceptable vs unacceptable. In the 1960's stick thin was acceptable. In the 1800's slightly obese was the acceptable body image. Anyone outside of these acceptable images are subjected to social pressure. This was an image based on women's bodies and not as strongly felt by men of either century, caused further social inequality in the sexes.


School systems, depending on the influence and focus of their curriculum, also will bend and mold an individual into society. For example, in the early 1950s the cultural view of patriotism was instilled in education so that science classes, reading assignments, writing assignments and even mathematics were designed to support that agenda. Those from other cultures were pointed out as unequal because patriotism was primary to one's country.


Peers are obviously are a strong influence on our socialization. During adolescence, peers influence a breaking away form familial influences and can touch on areas such as dress, motivations, interests, and career choice. And example, is the peer pressure we experience as adolescents can change us permanently. They can influence us to see our "group" as over others in society. We belong to a certain ideal within that group.


Media represents a point of view of a society. Usually media is one point of view that is socially acceptable to one facet of the society. For example, communist China and Nazi Germany used the media the agenda of uniformity and obedience. Nazi used it to ostracize those who they deemed outside of society and therefore not worthy to be in society to the point of deserving to be killed.


Along with these agents of socialization, there are others. These include the legal system, economic system, and religions.


The legal system is usually influenced by a societies defined rules and consensus of the nature of right and wrong. For example, the United States has a number of states that allow the death penalty. Other states do not. This represents the split between conservative and liberal points of view that are typical of the social makeup of our political system.


The economic system also is influenced by a societies viewpoints. It is made up of personal relationships, institutions, and rules. Societies may have a socialist, capitalist or a mixed economic system. The economic situation of a particular person dictates his or her standing in the society in some economies. In others, there is an effort to make certain groups equal while others are held above by status and power through economics.


Religion also plays a large part in how a society treats individuals. People are judged based on beliefs and society breaks off into groups who base worth of an individual on what group they belong to. Acceptance within the group and power held within the group also comes into play. For example, someone who is catholic can be part of a larger group within their community, within a country and around the world. Power levels within that group are a churchgoer, a priest, a bishop etc.


I hope this helps you,

Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or want clarification?



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hey this answer is a duplicate of someone eiese who is in this class!
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

The answer that was given to you was my own original work and language. I consulted with a professor of psychology to provide you with the best information possible.


Please know that when a person does a search on line on a particular topic, that Just Answer Expert responses are available in their entirety. If this is a duplicate answer, it is a plagiarism of my answer and should be brought to the attention of your professor.


I answered this question for you in good faith.



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