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How can culture and values affect socialization?

Culture and values are essential to the process of socialization because if socialization is the process of learning to behave in a way that's acceptable to society, then the culture and values of that society need to be instilled at an early age. Without them, socialization is virtually impossible.

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For the purposes of this discussion, we will define socialization as the process of learning to behave in a way that's acceptable to society. Socialization is a universal process, irrespective of the precise arrangement of each society. Without this process, any society worthy of the name, a society that is relatively stable, is practically impossible.

As socialization is concerned with getting people to behave in a socially-acceptable way, the culture and values of any given society need to be instilled as part of this process. Indeed, one could say that the process of socialization involves the transmission of cultural values. Far from being an optional extra, they are in fact an intrinsic part of socialization. Without them, we cannot speak of socialization as having taken place at all.

As we saw earlier, socialization is a universal process applicable to all societies, whether they are simple or highly complex and developed. All societies worthy of the name need something that will hold them together—something that will ensure a fair degree of stability.

This is where socialization comes in. Through its teaching function, it seeks to instill a society's culture and values at an early age, inducting children into the norms and mores that, it is hoped, will guide their behavior and form them into fine, upstanding members of society who will, in turn, transmit cultural values to their children.

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Culture and its accompanying values can greatly affect socialization.

Socialization is defined as the process of learning to behave in a way acceptable to society, and behavior is dictated by the beliefs and actions of a certain culture. Anyone who has lived in another country or stayed in one for some time, or even in a another part of a large country from where one lived previously, has experienced the differences in customs, beliefs, and behaviors in the such areas. Thus, it becomes evident that an environment can have a strong influence upon what an individual values.

In the history of the world, the religious environment of an area has contributed so strongly to certain cultures that wars have been fought because of the clash among religious beliefs. Certainly, the Bosnian War (1992-1995) was a cultural war because the Bosnian Serbs began a movement for a Greater Serbia. Those who were opposed—Muslim, Croat, and Serb residents—were cut off from utilities, food, and communication.

Throughout Bosnia, Bosnian Serb nationalists and the JNA began a program of ethnic cleansing in order to create a "pure" Serbian territory. (Mount Holyoke)

In the previous post, it is cogently stated that the process of socialization is similar in all cultures:

the content of the socialization is affected by culture [which often includes religious beliefs] and its values.

As an example of the truth of this observation, the Amish and Mennonite societies are in the United States; however, their societies are completely different from mainstream American culture because of their religious beliefs, which affect their culture. In fact, Hasidic Jews differ from others in the Jewish culture as they do not watch television or partake of other modern devices. Its religious conservatism and social seclusion sets it apart from the other populations of Jews.

The British author, W. Somerset Maugham once wrote that people are

not only themselves, they are also the region in which they are born, the city apartment or the farm in which they learned to walk, the games they played as children, the old wives tales they overheard . . . the poets they read, and the God they believed in.

He added that one could only know them if he were them.

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Socialization is the process through which our society teaches us about its values.  It is the process through which we learn what our society thinks is right and what it thinks is wrong.  Therefore, the specific nature of how we are socialized is determined by our culture and its values.

For the most part, our culture and our values do not affect how our socialization is done.  Socialization in all modern cultures is done through a mix of things like family, peers, school, media and religion.  Some cultures might have slightly different people doing the socialization.  For example, in some cultures perhaps women will be much more involved in socializing girls than men are.  However, the basic process of socialization is still the same.

What is different is the content of the socialization.  Each culture is trying to pass its own values on to the next generation.  Therefore, each culture socializes its young differently.  For example, American society will socialize its young people to believe in individualism whereas Japanese society will put more of an emphasis on getting along with the group.

Thus, the general process of socialization is largely the same regardless of culture, but the content of the socialization is affected by culture and values.

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