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Socialisation is the process by which culture is learnt Essay

Essay Topic:

Socialisation is the process by which culture is learnt. As culture is not something we are born with we are taught the norms and values of our society and group by socialisation. It is sometimes described as the study of people in social groups.

Socialisation is taking place everyday in our modern society and two prime examples of these are:

* Change in society occurs all the time. Compared with historical history now the pace in modern environments is much greater. For instance the movement of urban to rural areas and major changes since the revolution. So in order for socialisation to take place you need culture. In our society with different ethnic and the multicultural society we have to learn their norms and values and therefore change in modern societies happens very fast.

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* Another way that socialisation can take place in modern societies is the liberal democracy. This is a system of government in which adults have the choice to change and elect those who govern them. This mainly includes political parties and the UK parliament who have to make the laws which society must abide to.

The following concepts are beliefs and customs of society and its whole way of life.

Norms: These so called norms give us guidance on how to think act, speak, think and even feel. Norms are also rules about how people should or should not behave in certain situations. We learn a variety of different norms from the society and the influence of others surrounding us.

Values: These are things we regard as important. For instance life is a high value and culture allows us to accept and work out the meaning of life and how to make sense of it all. Values are general standards or ethnical principles which are highly prized.

Roles: These are how we carry out are feelings and instincts. For instance we decide how to think and act and we are influenced by society and how others approach situations. Roles can also be responsibilities such as the roles of parents and the roles of doctors. Culture varies from society to society. Therefore so do the roles of society.

Two main sources of identity in modern societies:

Identity refers to our sense of self. In modern societies identity is a cultural aspect. For example in our country England, it is normal and expected of social and cultural expectation of how men and women should behave.

Choice and individualisation means that people have the individuality to choose and design their own identity. This means they also choose and design their own lifestyle and the way they adapt to it. Western industrial societies are now entering late modernity. It is more acceptable now to cohabite or become a heterosexual and is considered ok.

Employment is another source of identity in modern societies. There are many risks ate very turn and the pace is increasing rapidly and changing everyday. Employment is a huge factor in modern societies as there are no longer lifetime jobs as the population is increasing by the hour. There is risk and uncertainty in our modern society whereas a few years back people had stable jobs, a typical family and a typical lifestyle.

Mini essay

In this essay I am going to explore the depth behind the sociological view that culture is socially rather than biologically transmitted. There are views from different sociologists who see the nature of their subject and the possibilities in different ways.

A popular way to look at behaviour is to look for the answer in our genes. Some people may say that this suggests there is a gene for crime, one for alcoholism and even a ‘gay’ gene.

Sociologists except we have certain biological needs that must be met, for e.g. the need for drink. But other sociologists believe human behaviour is too complex to be explained biologically or in genetic terms. That’s where the argument comes in that culture is socially rather than biologically transmitted.

We learn to think and act in certain ways and it is our culture which teaches us how we should think or act. A prime example would be the Palestinians in their war with Israel where they were using young people as suicide bombers to blow themselves up. The point is they don’t see anything wrong or harmless in doing this and it is expected of them because of their culture.

Culture is a very deep topic. If human behaviour really is dictated by genes or instincts then why aren’t people behaving in the same way all over the world? What is expected of as normal behaviour is dependant on one culture from another.

Culture affects our behaviour rather than genes because if you look at the 16th century there was little shame about bodily matters whereas in Europe the culture has changed and people are more sensitive to shame, disgust and bodily functions as we have developed good manners and tend to act more civilised.

There is a mix of nature and nurture in society. The two arguments are made by the biology sociologists who believe that culture is an instinct and the sociologists who believe culture is learnt. There is no right or wrong answer.

The article on John Ssabunnya- the article from the daily mail could be proof of evidence that culture is learnt. As John as a small boy had lived with a troupe of monkeys for three years, when he was discovered people were astonished to discover that he had learnt the monkeys culture and adapted to their lifestyle and basically his body language suggested he was a monkey boy. After he was rescued and taught the norms and values of how to behave and act he learned to behave like a human being which backs up a sociological theory that culture is indeed learnt not by instincts.

Children learn a great deal from their parents, friend and family but they also learn values, norms and language which are basic learning influences by society.

The passage about the boy with the traumatised childhood gives a story of how different people in different situations can adapt and be affected by the existence and the culture surrounding them.


It is clear that culture has a huge effect on our behaviour and in this essay I have proved evidence and theories into why. The case of feral children is a huge factor as mentioned earlier in the passage about the monkey boy’s deprived childhood.

Human behaviour is enormously complex and shows a wide variety of behaviours which differ from each society.

When we believe we are acting freely and making individual choices, we are following rules that are prior to existence and which exist outside of

Ou0rselves. We have learned them and they are accepted as natural and become common sense. As much as we allow ourselves to be guided by these rules, our behaviour is determined by them.

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