If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:44

Agents of socialization

Video transcript

have you ever wondered how you learned to interact with people notice through a process called socialization and socialization is a lifelong process where we learn about social expectations and how to interact with others so everything we consider to be normal is actually learn through socialization this is where we learn to walk talk and feed ourselves it's all through socialization and we also learn the behavioral norms that help us fit in so let's look at some of the most important agents of socialization so agents of socialization are what is used to transmit culture and really pass it around so agents include people organizations and institutions that help us learn about our social world so let's look at a few different examples family is usually considered to be the most important agent of socialization so when you are born and you are a baby you are completely dependent on others to survive so your parents are those who are playing the important role they teach you how to care for yourself they also teach you how close relationships work they also teach you their values beliefs and norms so an example of how family plays an important role in socialization comes from Malcolm Gladwell's book outliers he looks at how wealthy parents with white-collar jobs raise their children and then he also looks at how less fortunate parents raise their children so one specific example that he uses is a trip to the doctor's office so the children the wealthy parents were encouraged to ask questions when visiting a doctor while the kids are the less fortunate they were less likely to criticize or even question the doctor so the less fortunate children were more likely to just accept what the doctor says without voicing their concerns at all so this example shows us how kids are raised and really how they're raised affects how they interact with others and in this case Authority so the wealthy kids were encouraged to challenge authority and to think independently while the less wealthy kids were taught to submit to Authority schools are under also another important agent of socialization so in addition to teaching about different subjects like science and math or the standard reading writing and arithmetic schools teach life skills so students do not just learn from their academic curriculum but they learn social skills from interactions with teachers and other students for example we learn the importance of obeying Authority and that to be successful we must learn to be quiet we must learn to wait and to even act interested when we are not interested at all so this is part of what is called the hidden curriculum which is just standard behaviors and they are really what is deemed acceptable and they are subtly taught by teachers peers helped us develop our social behavior there are moments in life where our friends values and behavior they contradict the values of our families so it's really up to you to decide which norms and values to keep and which to get rid of so peer pressure is an example of how peers influence us and many times teens are pressured to drink and to do drugs so peers during our teenage years also influence what movies we watch or even the music we listen to mass media includes things like television internet radio movies books and magazines so when children are young they learn things through mass media that their parents really they would not even approve of so today children are exposed to a lot of content that is intended for mature audiences like violent TV shows for example so sometimes mass media even enforces gender and other stereotypes so one great example of how mass media is an agent of socialization is children's books so I remember reading one called Amelia Bedelia and in this story Amelia Bedelia she's a maid she's doing a lot of different chores around the house so in this story it's a funny book because she's taking commands from her employer literally so for example at the end of one of her tasks one of her tasks is to dress a turkey and I think she literally puts clothes on the turkey so but in the children's book she was doing a lot of chores so she was doing a laundry and she was dusting the couch and the point is to show you how children's books play an important role in socialization so this book was written in the 1960s and during this time women were expected to stay at home and they were expected to do chores and have children just be housewives so this just shows you how mass media although it may just seem to be there it plays a big role in teaching us about our social expectations