Putting It Together: Socialization

Sociologists examine the importance of environment to understand social behavior and human groups. Examples of neglected children and identical twins separated at birth help us to understand the importance of socialization and its effect on individuals. We can see the importance of socialization for reinforcing values and norms, but must also acknowledge the changing nature of socialization across time and within diverse cultural contexts.

Take gender, for example. A later module will be devoted to the discussion of sex and gender, but take a moment now to consider how social institutions have helped shape your own understanding of gender roles and expected behavior. What messages did you get about gender roles from your family? What about from institutional agents like your school or church? Now think about how your understanding of these roles have shifted throughout your life. Even on the national stage, attitudes about gender are evolving. This 2019 Gilette advertisement is a product of the #metoo era and the changing views about what masculinity looks like:


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