How does socialization impact our culture?

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Socialization is how someone learns what is acceptable in a society and what is not. For example, American films and TV shows often send the message that guns are an acceptable way to solve problems. In correlation (though not necessarily causation), the US private gun ownership rate is very high....

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Socialization is how someone learns what is acceptable in a society and what is not. For example, American films and TV shows often send the message that guns are an acceptable way to solve problems. In correlation (though not necessarily causation), the US private gun ownership rate is very high. So are the death rates from suicides and homicides committed by guns and the number of US military invasions of other nations.

Socialization can definitely change over time. For example, currently only a quarter of the US public owns guns, and that proportion has been steadily declining for over thirty years. It used to be that over half of Americans were private gun owners. There can also be a pushback on socialization—a portion of that declining number of gun owners who respond by buying a higher number of guns.

One can see a similar social sea change in other issues. Underage marriage, marriage between partners with large age gaps, and sexual harassment and assault all used to be much more socially acceptable.

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Socialization impacts our culture the same way it impacts every other culture in the world.  That is, socialization perpetuates our culture.  Without socialization, our culture would not be handed down from generation to generation.

Culture is not an innate part of our nature.  It may be that we are innately social and we want to be around other people.  However, there is nothing in our genes that points us toward certain cultural practices.  Americans are not genetically predisposed to like hot dogs and baseball while people in Saudi Arabia are not born believing that women should not be allowed to drive cars.  Instead, we gain these cultural beliefs and practices through socialization.

All cultures are passed down through socialization.  This means that people in different countries socialize their children in different ways.  Where I grew up, I was socialized to not look older people or superiors in the eye because that was offensive.  Here in America, children are taught that it is respectful to do so.

However, socialization does not affect the content of our culture.  Socialization is simply a means for passing our culture to the next generation.  Therefore, socialization impacts our culture by passing it down and making sure that it continues to exist.

 

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