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Socialization and Societal Institutions: Essentials of SociologyEssay

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¶ … Sociology: Socialization and Societal Institutions

Norms: These are customary rules that influence the behavior of a particular group of people. According to Henslin (2007), norms are used to judge whether certain behaviors are appropriate or inappropriate.

Values: These are the beliefs and ideas that are considered important and special.

These are procedures and guidelines that are set by, and enforced through different social institutions with the aim of directing the behaviors and interactions of a people.

Mores: According to Henslin (2007), William G. Sumner came up with this term, which defines the most fundamental beliefs and ideas of what is considered right and wrong, and whose violation is considered a moral sin.

Folkways: These are rules that a group of people should follow. As compared to mores, lack of adherence to these norms or rules is not equated to committing a transgression or to immorality.

Culture and Subculture: Culture is the sum of values, beliefs, customs and attitudes that differentiate a group of people from others and also describes their way of life. On the other hand, a subculture holds the same beliefs and values as the larger society, but they have specific ways of life that define them further.

Status and Role: A status describes the position an individual holds in a particular group, such as a mother or a father, while the role describes their functions and duties in that society or group.

Ascribed and achieved status: Henslin (2007) describes an ascribed status as the rank an individual holds in the society that is based on standards like age, which they have no control over. Achieved status is the position an individual is given as a result of their efforts and achievements.

The agents of socialization

Socialization refers to the process by which people get to learn their culture and accumulate knowledge on beliefs and values from a young age, so that they learn the roles they are meant to play. Henslin (2007) states that socialization is essential as it reveals the fundamental aspects of living in a group and by learning rules and values, people learn how to be presentable in a variety of social settings.

The agents of socialization are individuals that influence how people behave in public. These include members of the extended family, siblings, teachers, parents, acquaintances, neighbors, clergy and even people one meets during activities such as shopping (Henslin, 2007). Although one may not personally interact with all these agents, their presence and the way they expect people to act greatly influence people's actions. Moreover, when people learn the behaviors considered appropriate and inappropriate, they will apply this knowledge to different situations even in the future. Socialization, therefore, enables individuals to develop a personality and stick to behaviors that differentiates them from other people (Henslin, 2007).

Examples of deviant behavior and functions of deviance for society

Deviant behavior violates the formal rules and norms in a particular society (Henslin, 2007). This behavior may be caused by biological, psychological, or social factors. The main categories of deviant behavior are secret deviance, pure deviance, conformity, and false accusations. Some examples include criminal activities such as murder and theft, engaging in activities that are considered taboos, breaking norms such as dress codes, and rebelling against authority.

Deviance has several functions in a society. Some of these include:

It facilitates social change. Sometimes, acts that were once considered deviant are accepted in the community. For example dress codes that were once strict are now very relaxed.

It makes it easier for people to accept and adjust to change. As people have been accustomed to a certain way of life for long, they may be unwilling to accommodate new ideas (Henslin. 2007). The deviants in the society are able to introduce this change gradually through their different beliefs and lifestyles

It promotes social cohesion. Once people establish behaviors that differentiate them from another group, it makes it easier for them to define the accepted codes of conduct. People feel more obliged to conform so as not to be termed as outsiders.

It helps in pushing certain agendas. For example, an individual may engage in deviant behavior to bring certain injustices to the society's attention. One may violate rules in order to expose corruption in the justice system.

Social institutions: characteristics, problems, and changes

The family

The family is a social unit that consists of a group… [END OF PREVIEW]

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