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What are the roles of each major agent of socialization in U.S. society in the socialization process?

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In many ways, the roles of all of these agents are the same.  All agents of socialization teach us what is expected of us as members of our society.  Therefore, all of them have the same basic role.

There are, of course, some differences in emphasis.  That is, different agents are more likely to teach us about different aspects of being a member of our society.  Let us look at some examples.

Family.  One of family’s major roles is as our first socializer.  In addition, family teaches us the most about how intimate relations are supposed to play out.  Family teaches us how we are supposed to interact with people we love.

Peers.  The major role of peers is to socialize us into the specific ways in which people of our age and status are supposed to act.  Family cannot teach us this as easily because our parents are of a different age and status.

Educational system.  Schools socialize us into how we are to think about many aspects of the public world.  This is especially true if our parents are not very educated or do not think much about public issues.  For example, in today’s world, schools socialize us about things like the environment and politics.

Media.  The media also socializes us about the public world.  It tells us about politics and society and shapes the way in which we see these things.  The media also has some impact on what we think is cool as we learn lessons about such things from characters on TV shows and in ads.

Thus, each major agent of socialization plays a slightly different role, but all of them are aimed at the same general goal.

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