«Socialization and Social Reproduction» - Free Essay Paper
Table of Contents
- Social Reproduction
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- Contribution of Four Main Agents of Socialization to Social Reproduction
- Changes in the Life Course Stage of Childhood since Medieval Times
- Challenges and Assumptions about Midlife, Gender Roles, and Childcare
- Importance of Face-to-Face Interaction or Copresence, as an Aspect of Human Action
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The socialization process is an important aspect of the human society; people learn and work towards getting to know how the society defines life through the process of socialization. In a similar fashion, people get to pass most of the things they learn through socialization to other generations, thus making the socialization process a continuous one through social reproduction. It is, however, important to note that the society depends on various elements that make it possible for the process of socialization to happen and enable the passing on of various traits from one generation to another within the society.
Social reproduction refers to the various aspects of socialization structures that are responsible for the transmission of inequalities within the societies across generations. That is to say, that social reproduction makes it possible for people to have social issues that make a particular generation affect another generation, and, in such a way, affect the lives of different generations either in a similar manner or in a different one (Doob, 2013). For example, social classes that exist in a community can change or remain the same as a result of social reproduction, meaning that people from one generation can be poor, but the next generation can either become reach or the status quo can be maintained depending on social reproduction within the society.
Contribution of Four Main Agents of Socialization to Social Reproduction
The agents of socialization include family, education, the media and peers. These four agents of socialization make an important contribution to changing the fortunes of individuals in terms of ensuring that there is equality or inequality within the society (Macionis, 2011). Thus, the agents of socialization are important to social reproduction in the society.
Being the fundamental social unit, the family provides the basis upon which the socialization process in anchored in any society, and, thus, any matters of social inequality are first manifested within the family, Family is the first place where the acts of social discrimination are learned, internalized and, finally, passed on from one generation to the next. One of the most common forms of social inequality, which is common in the family, is gender inequality (Doob, 2013). Since the young age, children learn how to be men and women, and as they grow up, they adopt the gender stereotypes that are normally passed on as gender roles.
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The boys learn that they are superior to girls and treat them as inferiors. Girls also embrace this status, and this is passed on from one generation to another as a result of the social reproduction. In this regard, therefore, social inequality, in terms of gender inequality, has been passed throughout generations for years, and many societies seem to see this as a normal phenomenon as it has been made a norm through the structures of social reproduction.
The school system is another important element of socialization that plays an important role in shaping the society. Children go to school as they try to get to live better lives and, basically, change their social status. The key social classes of the society are the upper classes, mainly made up of the rich members of the society, and the lower classes, made up of the poor members of the community. Education normally provides an opportunity for those from lower classes to reach the upper classes. Parents take their children to school to enable them become a better generation with better social status.
It is, however, important to note that despite education being such an important factor changing the social status and fighting inequality in the society, there are factors within the education system that make it impossible for some people to access it (Epstein & Ward, 2011). For example, education can be expensive and, thus, make it impossible for poor people to afford it for their children. In such a way, the social inequalities are passed from one generation to another.
The media is a key contributor to social inequality due to the kind of influence it has on the society. Through its programs, the media greatly influences people’s perception of life, which in some cases turns out to affect the reality in the society. The media has normalized societal inequality in many ways, for instance gender inequality (Epstein & Ward, 2011).Many programs depict women as inferior to men, hence enabling people to accept this perception that was cemented by the socialization process in families, and, thus, making it possible to pass such inequalities from one generation to another.
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The people that a person interacts and spends lots of time with are the peers and friends. This means that peers are able to influence a person’s world view and, hence, affect the way they look at things in the society (Epstein & Ward, 2011). In this case, it means that peers can make a person have a perception that certain inequalities are normal and justified, and, as such, make a person not to fight to change this, but maintain them as they are, hence passing social inequalities from one generation to another, which as the key characteristic of social reproduction.
Changes in the Life Course Stage of Childhood since Medieval Times
The life course stage of childhood has undergone a lot of changes from the medieval times to the modern days. The changes can be observed in terms of child rearing, socialization of the children as well as issues of child care. All these aspects have undergone tremendous changes. In the medieval times, education, which is the key part of socialization today, was done within the family, and it were the family members who decided what to teach and how to do it. This has greatly changed in the modern times with children being taken to school from a tender age, and they grow up learning through syllabuses prescribed by government departments.
In the medieval period, it was normal to have children work as servants, and in many cases children would be sent to the relatives to work as servants. However, today, putting a child to any form of labor is illegal and is an infringement of the rights of the child. Children are only supposed to be taken to school. Additionally, many parents in the medieval times perceived their children as their assets. They married their daughters off and got bride prices. Today however, this no longer happens as parents are keener on empowering both male and female children through education.
Challenges and Assumptions about Midlife, Gender Roles, and Childcare
Midlife is the period when many adults face a number of challenges connected with the various choices they have made in life as well as working on the adjustments of various areas that they feel they can adjust. Usually, it is a depressing time for people aged 40 - 65 as they work towards adjusting their lives in certain ways. The assumption by people in their midlife is that the adjustments they make can help improve their lives for the better.
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Gender roles are decided by the society and imposed on men and women to ensure that they perform roles that are acceptable within their social cycles. Challenges regarding gender roles are based on the fact that many societies have the prescribed roles that each gender must perform, and doing anything contrary is seen as deviant since the assumption by members of the society is that these gender roles must be respected as prescribed by the society.
Childcare in the modern society keeps changing and has presented new challenges such as the difficulty to balance between spending time with children and advancing one’s career. In the modern times, many people tend to leave their children with nannies, because of the career, and assume that these children are catered for. Parents mainly leave money at home assuming that the money is what their children need, which is a serious miscalculation as the children need proper care.
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Importance of Face-to-Face Interaction or Copresence, as an Aspect of Human Action
In human interactions, face to face communication is important because it helps a person understand the body language of the person he or she is communicating with. Thus, it enables a situation where a person is able to deduce important details from communication or any other action by the other party (Macionis, 2011). Face-to-face interaction makes it possible to get to know people better as it reveals a person’s reactions to various situations which are important in understanding one’s personality.
The similarities in social activities across generations, especially those pertaining to social inequality, are made possible through the process of social reproduction, which has enabled activities such as gender inequality to be deeply rooted in the society. Socialization, which begins from childhood, defines what a person becomes. Therefore, all the changes that people encounter from the childhood to adulthood depend on the efforts made by parents to take part in the whole process of socialization of their children regardless of challenges they might be facing.