Discuss the different agents of socialization.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Socialization is the process by which people in any given society are taught what that society expects of them.  They are taught things like how to behave towards their elders and what the appropriate relations are between the sexes.  They are also taught more political or economic things such as their society’s attitudes towards work, money, and political freedoms.

There are different agents of socialization.  The first agent of socialization is the family.  Children will spend more time with their families than with anyone else for most of their childhood and their teens.  Therefore, their families will do much of their early socialization.  As they age, however, family will become somewhat less important relative to peers.  Peers will socialize children as to what is expected in terms of dealing with people their own age.  Children will learn from them, more than from their parents, how to act in social situations.  As children grow up, the media is also likely to become a more important agent of socialization.  Movies and TV shows will give them more cues as to how people are supposed to act.  More serious media will help them to develop their attitudes on political and economic issues.

In these ways, the various agents of socialization play somewhat different roles in socializing people at different times and in different ways.