SEPTEMBER 26, 2017.





Becoming a Social Being

Socialization refers to the ways in which people learn to conform to their society's norms, values, and roles.

Primary socialization refers to the ways in which the newborn individual is molded into a social being.

Secondary socialization occurs in later childhood and adolescence as a child is influenced by adults and peers outside his or her family.

Adult socialization occurs when a person learns the norms associated with specific adult statuses


 Child development that occurs from birth to adulthood was largely ignored throughout much of history.

Eventually, researchers became increasingly interested in other topics including typical child development as well as the influences on development.

Why is it important to study how children grow, learn, and change?


An understanding of child development is essential because it allows us to fully appreciate the cognitive, emotional, physical, social, and educational growth that children go through from birth and into early adulthood.


The concept of youth character refers to the progression of related experiences and identity changes, a relatively orderly sequence of movements.

Choice, development, and transformation are marked by various contingencies and stages.

Stages are characterized by identifiable and organized sets of relations and social meanings that provide perspectives or classificatory schemes.

 They include different features of:




c) the “disconnecting” or decline stage of a pursuit characterized by graduation, expulsion, termination, retirement as well as re-connecting, transformation, conversion or greater induction into another orientation.

Stages, in turn, are used to justify degrees of involvements.


Three related factors are fundamental in building and maintaining the symbolic worlds of self: constituting resources/ skills, reactions


But since there is not one particular youth  identity, but many, reflecting differentially  rooted cultural contexts, that is the interplay of different experiences and problematics related to gender, class, race, sexual orientation, education, to name a few, it is argued that the construction of youth identity is both complex, contingent  and differentially negotiated.



There are a number of unresolved issues in the study of socialization:


Nature and Nurture

Self as social: sociological approaches


The Social Construction of the Self: Socological Approaches


For Mead (1934:173), the “essence of the self is cognitive; it lies in the internalized conversation of gestures that constitute thinking”.


George Herbert Mead believed that the self could emerge only through the  use of language. Culture, therefore, is at the center of the formation of the self.

 Mead believed that role taking, the ability to look at social situations from the standpoint of another person, develops in three stages: the preparatory, game, and play stages.


 Role taking

Goffman (1959, 1963), analyzes the process of taking the role of the other toward self, how one looks at oneself as one thinks others see him/her and as one would see oneself if one were the other.


Similarly, Charles Cooley’s notion of the looking glass self presents the idea that actors manage their identities and interact with social objects as reflected by interpretations of others.

In Cooley’s (1956) “looking glass self”, the self is multiple and ever changing depending on the social situations in which one finds oneself

 Actors interpret what their actions mean and what the actions and reactions of others mean in this ongoing process.


Psychology/Psychoanalytic Approaches

    Child Development Theory


More recent theories outline the developmental stages of children and identify the typical ages at which these growth milestones occur.

What is the impact of the social on the self and the self on the social? 


Psychoanalytic theories argue that one’s respective history and one’s inherent personality attributes define the self.

Central to the conception of the self is the idea of the unconscious

Psychoanalysis is especially valuable for it seeks to discover, for example, the hidden sources of youth identity and behaviour (conformity, resistance and delinquency). 

Sigmund Freud  (1856-1939)believed that the personality develops in infancy as the child is forced to control his or her bodily urges.

Freud's model of the personality is divided into three parts: The original,  unsocial  urges arise out of the id.

The norms, values, and feelings taught through socialization belong to the superego, and the ego is one's conception    of oneself in relation to others.

According to Freud, child development is described as a series of 'psychosexual stages

The self is structured through the relationship of id and super ego as mediated by the ego

Jacques Lacan (1977) revisits Freud’s psychoanalytic projects to clarify a number of concepts related to the unconscious.

Lacan’s identity and being (subjectivity) are inextricably linked to discourses, which shape the unconscious, that is, language as the mirror of the unconscious mind governs all factors of human existence. For Lacan, there are three major stages of self or psyche development: the imaginary, the symbolic, and the real.

for Lacan, it is not that humans learn to speak in the language and customs of our particular culture, rather actors are in fact spoken by the culture itself

Carl Jung’s   (1875-1961)  “self” represents the  totality of the personality, the balance between the opposing forces of personality where the conscious and unconscious are not necessarily in opposition to one another. Jung (1966) also refers to the self as an “unknowable essence” that transcends our powers of comprehension.


The goal of self-development is both balance and wholeness.

for Kohut (1977) the self cannot be fully described (“unknowable essence” or cognitive impenetrability) given that it is a supra ordinate intra psychic structure.

Erik Erikson emphasized the role of identification in the formation of the personality.

Development, divided into stages, extends over the life span.

The amount of conflict in each stage determines whether the positive or negative pole is learned for adolescents who go school to become more “social”.

During the adolescent stage, for example, failure to develop an identity results in role confusion.


According to Carl Rogers (1902-1987), humans possess an ability to actualize themselves. The self, a conscious sense of who and what one is, emerges through experiences with verbal labels such as “I” or “Me”.

The important influences are conditional positive regards the granting of love and approval only when behaving in accordance with parent’s wishes, or when parents withdraw love if the child misbehaves.

William James (1890), the material, social, and spiritual selves have the powers of consciousness which are directed by the evolutionary goal of survival. For James (1890), there are several selves - the material, social, and spiritual.


Cognitive Child Development Theories

Jean Piaget suggested that children think differently than adults and proposed a stage theory of cognitive development. According to his theory, children can be thought of as "little scientists" who actively construct their knowledge and understanding of the world.

Theorist Jean Piaget proposed one of the most influential theories of cognitive development. Cognitive theory seeks to describe and explain the development of thought processes and mental states.

 It also looks at how these thought processes influence the way we understand and interact with the world.

Piaget proposed an idea that seems obvious now, but helped revolutionize how we think about child development: Children think differently than adults.

Piaget recognized that cognitive development is closely tied to moral development and was particularly interested in the way children's thoughts about morality changed over time

According to Piaget, youth develop the morality of cooperation, at the age of 10 years or older. As youth develop a morality of cooperation they realize that in order to create a cooperative society people must work together to decide what is acceptable, and what is not. Piaget believed that youth at this age begin to understand that morals represent social agreements between people and are intended to promote the common good.

Younger children are able to recognize the importance of someone's intentions when evaluating the morality of a decision; but, younger children tend to be quite naïve in their belief that people's best intentions will dictate the actual choices people make.


Behavioral Child Development Theories

how environmental interaction influences behavior and are based upon the theories of theorists such as John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov and B. F. Skinner. Development is considered a reaction to rewards, punishments, stimuli and reinforcement.


B.F. Skinner, insisted that learning occurs purely through processes of association and reinforcement.

 The Need for Love

 Studies that compare children reared in orphanages with those reared in traditional families show that the former are more likely to develop emotional problems.


           Social Child Development Theories

 There is a great deal of research on the social development of children. John Bowlby proposed one of the earliest theories of social development. Bowlby believed that early relationships with caregivers play a major role in child development and continue to influence social relationships throughout life. Learn more in this overview of attachment theory.

Psychologist Albert Bandura proposed what is known as social learning theory.

According to this theory of child development, children learn new behaviors from observing other people.

Unlike behavioral theories, Bandura believed that external reinforcement was not the only way that people learned new things.

Instead, intrinsic reinforcements such as a sense of pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment could also lead to learning.

John Dewey  believed that human beings learn through a 'hands on' approach. Childhood was as much a period of consummation and of enjoyment of life on its own terms.

The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of  


How exactly do children develop morality?

  Moral Development: refers to the growth of the individual's ability to distinguish right from wrong, to develop a system of ethical values, and to learn to act morally (Rich and DeVitis)

 When children are younger, their family, culture, and religion greatly influence their moral decision-making. However, during the early adolescent period, peers have a much greater influence. Peer pressure can exert a powerful influence because friends play a more significant role in teens' lives.


Morality is our ability to learn the difference between right or wrong and understand how to make the right choices.

Between the ages of 2 and 5, many children start to show morally-based behaviors and beliefs.

According to Piaget, children between the ages of 5 and 10 see the world through a Heteronomous Morality. In other words, children think that authority figures such as parents and teachers have rules that young people must follow absolutely.

Children between the ages 5 and 6 typically think in terms of distributive justice, or the idea that material goods or "stuff" should be fairly shared

5 Stages of Moral Growth of Children

Stage 1 — infancy

Stage 2 — toddlerhood

Stage 3 — preschoolers

Stage 4 — (seven to ten years)

Stage 5 — preteens and teens


Lawrence Kohlberg's Theory Of Moral Development

According to Kohlberg, young children at this age base their morality on a punishment and obedience orientation. Much like Piaget, Kohlberg believed that young children behave morally because they fear authority and try to avoid punishment.

Kohlberg's (1984) defines a moral stage of development as a prescriptive, cognitive structure employed by persons to make judgements about what is right or what ought to be in certain situations.


various stages of reasoning in his theory of moral development

Kohlberg developed a six stage theory of moral development, and he grouped these six stages into three, higher-order levels of development: 1) the Pre-Conventional Level, 2) the Conventional Level, and 3) the Post-Conventional or Principled Level. Each level is then further sub-divided into two stages to make a total of six stages. The Pre-Conventional Level includes: a) stage one, the punishment and obedience orientation, and b) stage two, the instrumental purpose orientation. The Conventional Level includes: a) stage three, the morality of interpersonal cooperation, and b) stage four, the social-order-maintaining orientation. The Post-Conventional Level includes a) stage five, the social-contract orientation, and b) stage six, the universal ethical principle orientation.


Kohlberg believed that by early adolescence most youth have reached the mid-level of moral reasoning called the Conventional Level. At this level, morality is determined by social norms; i.e., morality is determined by the rules and social conventions that are explicitly or implicitly agreed upon by a group of people.



Carol Gilligan  In a Different Voice

the concept of morality for girls is distinct from the more traditional male-centred perspectives.

Gilligan concludes her major work by recognizing that men and women speak in two different moral voices and it is the ability to complement these two voices that marks moral maturity.


John Rawls (1971)

Justice as "Fairness"  "What is Justice"? 


Morality as Authority


Disciplining Discourse

Morality is ideologically situated within institutions that shape self-identity