Kd's e-pathsala Educational Sociology Socialization Process: Concept, Definitions, Characteristics, Processes, Agencies of Socialization

Socialization Process: Concept, Definitions, Characteristics, Processes, Agencies of Socialization

Meaning of Socialization
At birth, the human child possesses the potentialities of becoming human. The child becomes a man or person through a variety of experiences. He becomes what sociologists refer to as ‘socialized’. Socialization means the process whereby an individual becomes a functioning member of the society. It is the process through which the individual learns to behave in accordance with social traditions and mores. Socialization refers to the process of interaction among members of the society through which the young learn the values of the society and also its ways of doing and thinking are considered to be right and proper.

Definitions of Socialization
Different sociologists have defined socialization in different ways-

According to E. S. Bogardus, “Socialization is the process of working together, of developing group responsibility or being guided  by the  welfare  needs of others.”

W. F. Ogburn defines “Socialization is the process by which the individual learns to conform to the norms of the group.”

Lundberg says that “Socialization consists of the complex processes of interaction through which the individual learns the habits, beliefs, skills and standards of judgment that are necessary for his effective participation in  social groups  and communities.”


Characteristics of Socialization
Socialization not only helps in the maintenance and preservation of social values and norms but it is the process through which  values and norms are transmitted from one  generation  to another generation. Characteristics of socialization may  be discussed as  under:

1. Socialization inculcates basic discipline. A person learns to control his impulses. He may show a  disciplined behaviour to gain  social approval.

2. It helps to control human behaviour. An individual from birth to death undergoes training and  his  behaviour is controlled  in numerous  ways.

3. Socialization takes place rapidly if the agencies of socialization are more unanimous in their ideas and skills. 
4. Formal socialization takes through direct instruction and education in schools and colleges. Children learn their language, customs,  norms and  values in the family.
5. Socialization is a lifelong process.


Processes of Socialization

The processes of socialization are described below-

  • Co-operation
  • Competition
  • Conflict
  • Accommodation
  • Assimilation
Education and Socialization Process
Education plays a very important role in  the process of Socialization in the following ways-

1. By imparting socially desirable knowledge and skills and providing socially desirable experiences.

2. By providing opportunities for social learning, group learning, group work, games and other social activities like  dramatics, projects, debates,  discussions, etc.

3. By providing social interaction in various situations, like students vs. students of different ages, students vs. staff,  school vs.  community outside,  etc.

4. By providing social control through a body of rules, regulations, moral and social value; through social studies and moral studies and day-to-day situations which provide a chance for practicing those social and moral values through  social discipline.

5. By preparing students for different roles, by developing them into good citizens, increasing their social competitiveness, increasing their initiative and independence, that is the ability to cope with problems independently.

Looking around the world, we see that different cultures use different techniques to socialize their children. There are two broad types of teaching methods– formal and informal. Formal education is what primarily happens in a classroom. It usually is structured, controlled, and directed primarily by adult teachers who are professional “knowers’’.


Role of the Family and School in Socialization Process
We can discuss the agencies of socialization as follows:

The family is the foremost agency of socialization. A child is born into a family. He is not only physically near to his parents and siblings but is emotionally attached to them. It is from them that he learns to speak and starts imbibing social values. Through the family he not only learns about different social norms, traditions, beliefs etc. But also gets the first lessons of love, affection, tolerance, cooperation and sacrifice. The influence of the family in the child’s personality development is greater than all other social organizations. The family’s role in  socializing a child is  of utmost importance.

The role that family plays in the process  of  socialization may be summarized below-
  • In the family, from the parents he learns his speech and language.
  • He is taught social morality.
  • He learns respect for persons in authority.
  • In the family, he learns a number  of civic virtues.
  • The mother with whom the relation of the child is the most intimate plays a significant role in the process of moulding the  child in the initial stages.
  • Of the parents, it is the mother who first begins the process of socialization.
  • Family plays the most important role in the formation of personality.
  • The family is rightly called the cradle of social virtues. The child gets his first lessons in co-operation, tolerance, self, sacrifice, love  and affection in  the family.


Parents are not the only agencies of socialization in modern societies. Every civilized society therefore has developed a set of formalized agencies of education (schools, colleges and universities) which have a great bearing on the socialization process. It is in the school that the culture is formally transmitted   and acquired in which the science and the art of one generation is passed on to the next.

The school is the second agency of socialization. In the school, the child gets his education, which moulds his ideas and attitudes. A good education can make a child a good citizen, while a bad education can turn him into a criminal. Education is of great importance in socialization. A well-planned education can   produce socialized persons.


The school performs the functions in the process of socialization-

  • An ideal environment of freedom and democracy should be created in school.
  • Through the curriculum, the school in a formal  way provides  the child with:
  • Cultural achievements of one’s society.
  • Opportunities to acquire social and vocational abilities which are necessary in order to make one a social, useful and economically productive  member of the society.
  • Gender roles are perceived as suitable roles by society.
  • Co-curricular activities should be more   emphasized   in school with a view to socialization of the senses of children.
  • Education teaches how to compete  responsibly.
  • Schooling teaches how to cooperate.
  • Schooling instills the community’s pattern of respect; thus how to relate to others well and obey rules.
  • Schooling enables one to respect the culture of one’s society.

The child learns much from the family. After family his playmates and school wield influence on his socialization. After his education is over, he enters into a profession. Marriage initiates a person into social responsibility, which is one of the aims of socialization. In short socialization is a process which begins at birth and continues unceasingly until the death  of the individual.


  • Rao, C.N. Shankar. Sociology : Principles of Sociology With In Introduction to Social Thought. S. Chand Company PVT.LTD, Delhi.