CW #6: SOCIALIZATION
the effect of socialization on personal growth
Do you remember a moment in your childhood in which your (social) behavior had been corrected? For instance, you are traveling by train and your parents tell you not to walk around, but to remain seated. Another example, you see people appearing in different looks as the ones you are used to and you feel excited because it represents the unknown. Maybe you are staring out of curiosity, but those “responsible” tell you to back off. Or, you are having a conversation at the doctor´s waiting room and you are told to talk quietly, so others do not feel disturbed by your behavior. All those things, we have put in a nutshell called societal norms. As presented in CW #4 norms as well as values are essential elements of culture. What is more, each culture disposes of certain mindsets and behavior patterns. Therefore cultural self-perception may resemble one another or even differ to an extreme extend. It is mostly the stages during adolescence in which we acquire essential and to the society suitable manners. In terms of personal development, we must finally ask ourselves for the effect of cultural impact on individual needs and ideas? WELCOME TO CW #6: SOCIALIZATION!
In small circumference, the moment you enter this world can be compared to a walk through airport security controls. To proceed successfully you must comply with certain regulations. To start of, you are in need of identification evidence (passport) and entrance permission (flight ticket). Carrying on, due to security increase you are asked to only carry a specific amount of fluids in your luggage. Next, these and all other personal items, as well as yourself undergo a full body scan, a so-called terahertz radiation. As soon as you pass these tests and have fully adapted to all airport requirements, you are allowed to continue. As a result you are considered a fully-featured and accepted passenger. This example is being presented as it visualizes the use of norms and values within society and social actions. Both serve as an orientation framework. What is more, values and norms are considered to operate as an outer guideline to which all individuals have to adjust to in order to be accepted into society. As a consequence individuals are seen as capable members of society. But why do we do all that?!
The airport example was chosen since it shows the need of certain social regulations for humans to interact securely and effectively to a smaller but still clear extend. Hence, all airport regulations can be compared to values and norms of a certain cultural orientation that enables individuals to interact “properly” within a specific social network. As a result values and norms represent social requirements, not only in terms of society but even more as a condition of participation. Furthermore the practice of cultural values describes its matter of course. Even more, it is seen as something universal no-one really doubts. In case of a cultural analysis or questioning though, it occurs for individuals to be punished. Its correct observance leads to reward. Then individuals are being accepted and included into a specific group as adequate members.
Before talking even more on detail about socialization, it is essential to figure out its linguistic background. Socialization derives from the term social. Its etymology leads back to the Latin word sociālis and socius which depicts principles regarding community, describes sociability and focuses on cooperative ideas. In the beginning of 17th century the French made use of the term social to show and explain social relations and to outline its solidarity and attachment. Accordingly, to be social was to serve within a specific social understanding.
Socialization includes all learning processes which are transferred through the use of traditions and conveyed through social interaction. Thereby learning content concerns behavior and manner. As a result socialization aims for action abilities. In other words, its main focus is to enable human beings to participate in social fabrics, to evolve within society and to be part and responsible of its development. It is seen as a lifelong process. Another outstanding feature of socialization is the formation of affiliation. As a consequence members of society arrange themselves in classes and groups, in which the corresponding economic situation is implemented. In the mid-19th century, when talking about socializing, society referred to social merges, whereby its process was often described as an act of humanizing. It was at the beginning of 20th century in which a change in thinking occurred. Henceforth humanity was claiming to integrate into society rather than being shaped into a cultural membership.
Beyond that, socialization focusses on the adjustment of thought and emotional patterns. On the one hand socializing processes indicate the development of personality due to social interactions with its environment. On the other hand it encourages social bonds which are being constituted throughout social relationships. The procedure of socialization includes systematic and deliberate methods of progress such as the participation in education. On the contrary unintentional influences on personality take place as well, and constitute an essential activity. In social sciences, when speaking of socialization, we are referring to the act of internalizing. Socialization is carried out by internalization. Thus, internalization is seen as an acquisition of social customs, norms, values, morals and social roles, in which the process of identification takes place.
Internalization helps one find out who she or he is. On that basis, human beings are able to create their own identity and personal values within society. Having said this, the fact that no human being is born totally excluded from society may lead to a blur of personal ideas and an adaption of rather general life concepts in the sense of adjustment, affiliation and viability. This phenomenon is described as the comfort zone. The following illustration is going to visualize this ongoing thought and put it into further context of social fields.
Right in the middle of all incidents there is an individual. From that, effective areas result. As previous stated, individuals are connected to society. This overlap is called socialization. As a counterpart to the corresponding society there is a foreign culture. The meeting point of a related society and a foreign culture is called intercultural. Their distinction is based on the individual´s connection and contact towards both. It is self-explanatory that the society in which we grow up is the one to appear and remain more familiar. Most definetely there is various development opportunities and potentials concerning social, economic or even environmental progress within known cultural structures. The truth though is that most indicators remain the same, especially in terms of personal development. This is the case due to its social need of functionality and efficiency. In that sense, social sciences are trying to identify personal dependencies regarding society and the opportunity to perform growth nonetheless.
In general, what society is trying to establish is a satisfying yet secure living area. This is seen as an overall social aspiration. Once we dig a little deeper into personal living ideas, we reach a point of individual needs and perceptions. Especially in societies in which natural dependencies have been broken down and overcome, such as the so-called “Western” societies. From now on we are not focussing exclusively on survival, we are craving personal development as means to personal fulfillment.
The method of identifying personal sense, which had been presented last week (CW #5: MOTIVATION), shows one essential and fundamental approach of personal growth methods. In doing so, we are pursuing the goal of individuality. In other words, we want to encourage personal values, interests and talents, all of the above within social structures. What is more, we want to help establish personality even if its subcomponents differ from general and common norms. The main focus is to not undergo seclusion in doing so, but to be a fully accepted member of society even if mindsets and action strategies of a completely different manner take place. As the image above portrays, the interface between individual (known properties) and foreign culture (unknown properties) is seen as a high potential stage in terms of development. Therefore it is called growth zone.
This is the end of CW #6 post talking about SOCIALIZATION. I do really hope you are able to groove yourself into the way of naming and describing personal and social circumstances. Keep in mind, this is the first phase of CAACTUS Effect focussing on CREATING AWARENESS. Our main goal is to establish consciousness by pointing out and analyzing all necessary components.
But for now, I want you to have a wonderful week!