Introduction to Socialization
Socialization is a life long, never ending process whereby individuals are trained and fitted into the
normal functioning of their societies and groups. Only human beings are biologically capable for socialization.
Thus, biological bases that make socialization in humans possible include: absence of instincts, social contact needs, capacity to learn, prolonged childhood dependence and language. Researchers of socialization have identified the mechanisms by which socialization takes place; these are called modes of social learning. They include: classical and operant conditioning; identity
taking; modeling-after and problem solving. The patterns of socialization vary from society to society; there are two broad patterns of socialization; these are: repressive socialization which focuses on punishment and reward mechanism, emphasizing obedience of children; and
participatory socialization, which focuses on participating children, by stressing child-centered
The goals of socialization include: inculcating basic disciplines, instilling aspirations as well as disciplines, providing individuals with identities, teaching social roles and their supporting attitudes, and teaching skills. The major types of socialization are: primary, childhood socialization; secondary, adult socialization; desocialization and re-socialization. Other minor types include: anticipatory socialization and reverse socialization. Socialization can be carried out at informal and formal levels; of these, informal socialization through the agency of parents, siblings, peer groups and interpersonal relationships plays a very powerful role in shaping our attitudes, goals, lifestyles, knowledge and overall personality development. Other formal agents of
socialization also play very important roles; these are: schools at different levels and mass media, of which television stands out the most powerful agent of socialization relating to children, often with negative effects.