The following sample essay on Primary Socialisation discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.
The concept ‘class identity’ refers to an individual’s position in society based upon wealth, employment, materialism and education. Each of these assets contributes to determine one’s socioeconomic status. The contemporary UK arguably consists of four predominant classes: the underclass, the working class, the middle ‘classes’ and finally, the upper class.
Each class consists of certain qualities which ultimately define an individual or even a family to that particular class; these qualities often consist of norms and values, accents as well as culture.
The family is important in applying a child with manners, as these are often varied between classes and help to distinguish which class an individual belongs to, along with the consideration of vocabulary. Primary socialisation refers to the earliest childhood years, before secondary socialisation, where children interpret their first understanding of life based upon the support around them at this crucial stage in development.
The early stages in life are the hugest influence on culture, as what individuals are witnessed to from birth becomes what they are familiar with.
An example of this is how upper classes are associated with high culture, whilst popular culture is considered more common. Additionally, high culture, including institutions such as opera, often consist of people with a familiar, acquired taste for such leisure. The family is arguably the most critical institution of primary socialisation, as functionalist Parsons argues that one of the main functions of the family is to provide warmth and security to provide the consensus values which society depends upon.
If we apply Parson’s ideology that the family is independently the most vital provider of socialisation, we can evaluate the extent in which the family brings forth the qualities we deem applicable to each class. Sociologists, such as Reay (1998), argue that everyday aspects of family life are hugely influenced by social class. Reay’s example of this highlighted that middle class mothers, with a higher experience of education, often felt more confident in tutoring children in comparison to working class mothers whom lack the qualifications of those in a higher class.
These different displays of confidence and education will ultimately be instilled with the children, as they will most likely adopt these influences later on in life, which defines their social class. However, the void of purpose and education amongst working class life within the UK frequently leads to teen parents, which is suggested by Carter and Coleman (2006). Additionally, the relationships between lower classes tend to consist of strong community and family bonds; the tradition of young parents is simply the status quo and accepted aspect of both working class and under class life.
As this aspect is repeated throughout these societies, teenage pregnancies become deviant to upper, elite classes whilst the concept of teen pregnancy is deemed a trait associated with lower classes. In contrast, it is arguable that secondary agents of socialisation are also huge influences on class identity. Education is a powerful determination of which class one belongs to, as upper classes posses economic and cultural capital which lower classes lack. According to Bordieu, the three capitals the upper classes have provide children with expensive private schools which boost their opportunities in life.
Additionally, parents from higher classes naturally encourage children more intensively than lower classes, as lower classes don’t have the wealth to provide the institutions which higher classes have. Followed by education, peer groups also familiarise individuals with their social class. Peer groups from the same school are all from a similar area; this ultimately means that the majority of peers will be from a similar background, which provides a sense of solidarity which is especially common in the working and the under class.
Mac and Ghaill (1994) studied that groups of boys from each class demonstrated particular levels of traditional masculinity. Working class boys were especially more masculine as this portrayal would avoid deviance and sanctions within a peer group. The company individuals are exposed to in society provides socialisation in context of leisure activities and accents, as slang often becomes frequent. Employment is a huge influence on class identity as stereotypically, intelligentsia classes are associated with professional careers such as educators, doctors and lawyers.
Savage’s study (1995) shows that if young professional workers from a higher class are associated to average workers from lower classes, that their taste for high culture and popular culture can submerge, and they will show a favour to both lifestyles. However, those in higher places, such as managers, prefer to be privatised and secluded in their leisure. This relates back to the importance of culture determining class identity. The media is also a major institution which has differences between classes.
The media is a form of culture and therefore is varied between classes, as tv shows and magazines of different topics are preferred by individuals of different classes. Medhurst (1999) found that tv shows based on social class life help to form opinions on lower classes as Middle class members believed ‘The Royle Family’ provided a legit insight to working class life. This study summarises the assumptions made between classes on other ‘alien’ classes. It is difficult to argue that the importance of media is significant in socialising individuals in comparison to the family, as tv shows seem to be more of a trait distinguished between classes.
Similarly to the media, religion is arguably a trait of socioeconomic status in comparison to the other agents of socialisation, as the importance of religion is secularised and there is less stigma to its influence. Different religions are apparent in different classes, as Catholicism is associated with the working class whilst the Church of England is associated with higher classes. The influence of these different religions provides a variety of norms to classes which creates a conflict and prejudice in the judgement of individuals.