Socialization as us humans
Socialization as us humans, is simply the process of learning characteristics of our social group such as values, beliefs and norms. Through this process, it allows individuals to become a part of a group. Our family, school, peers, and the media are the four prime forms of socialization that each teach us different beliefs, values, and norms in their own ways. (Ferris,Stein, 107-109) In The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology by Kerry Ferris and Jill Stein, it mentions that socialization has primarily two goals. The first one is “it teaches members the skills necessary to satisfy basic human needs and to defend themselves against danger, thus ensuring that society itself will continue to exist.” (Ferris, Stein, 98-99) The second goal states that “socialization teaches individuals the norms, values, and beliefs associated with their culture and provides ways to ensure that members adhere to their shared way of life.” (Ferris, Stein, 99) Socialization allows us to interpret what we see visually going on in our society and carry out some of the behaviors that other people have demonstrated. Without socialization, we wouldn’t be able to create the person that we are today. that Our self was created thanks to socialization.
Social interactions are a necessity in our life. It’s especially important to have babies socially interact when they are at a young age. It gives the opportunity for young children to create their own identity. George Herbert Mead contributes immensely when explaining the importance of social interaction in young childhood. His theories happen in different stages based on the age. First, children younger than three enter the preparatory stage which consists of them imitating behavior that they’ve observed from around them. The young children then transition into the play stage after the age of three where they take “the role of the particular or significant other.” (Ferris, Stein, 103) By doing this, the children guess the expectations of the certain role they are portraying and allows them to gain new viewpoints. The final stage is known as the game stage because Mead explains how games played in school require the children to follow the rules. This allows them to gain a new perspective called “generalized other” (Ferris, Stein, 103) which makes the child aware of the roles of their opponents and how they need to shape their behavior. Interactions with other people give us the opportunity to create who we are and without them, it can create damage in the way a person develops who they are. One of the most beneficial interactions that occurs in school is when the teacher sets up partner activities. This allows individuals to interact with one another, share ideas, and possibly create a close relationship with others. Social interactions can also give us the better image of who we are. We can judge the actions we perform and either accept them or change our ways that benefit the way we view ourselves. Herbert Goffman saw social life as a comparison to theatre which is why he came up with the term “dramaturgy” and different approaches that related to social interaction such as: the front, region, personal front, backstage, and frontstage. All four of these terms contribute to the way we present ourselves to people through interaction. Without these theatrical terms, Goffman believes that they help us “recognize that we present different selves in different situations, and the responses of others to those selves continually shape and mold our definitions of situation and self.” (Ferris, Stein, 105)
Sanctions are a method that is used in order to impose the norms occurring in a society. There are two different types of sanctions: positive and negative sanctions. (Ferris, Stein, 80) Positive sanctions are demonstrated by a reward to people who conform to the norms and negative sanctions are shown if one is punished for disobeying the norms. (Ferris, Stein, 80) Sanctions hold a high amount of power in a society because individuals are aware of the punishments and rewards that are given which is why a lot of individuals choose to conform. For example, if one has the idea to commit a crime, they may look at all the possible outcomes and realize that if they commit the crime, they will have to deal with the consequences, either a fine or jail time depending on how bad the crime is. If sanctions didn’t exist, it wouldn’t of created the “social control” (Ferris,Stein,80) that is seen in our society and everyone would just run around doing whatever they felt like because they don’t have any rules to follow. Socialization allows us to create some self-control because our recognition of the norms allow the sanctions to become irrelevant because we already know what the right action is. (Ferris,Stein,80)
If the process of interaction/socialization was to be eliminated from an individual’s life, it would create a lot of damage towards the way they developed. Infants are brought into this world without any learned behaviors so without contact with others, they are unable to ever learn the values, norms, and beliefs that occur in society. (Ferris,Stein,98) Social isolation sets aside individuals from creating their “self” and prevents them from seeing the real world. Setting yourself aside from the real world can lead to numerous different effects that can take a toll on one’s body. According to scientists at the Norwegian Social Research Institute, they examined 4,227 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 and discovered when “they compared youths with and without close friends to confide in and found that a significantly greater proportion of lose lacking a close friend reported having depressive symptoms than those with close friends.” Loneliness is often times the most common symptom that comes from social isolation due to the fact that for all of their life, they were isolated from everyone and as they grow older, they feel as if they can’t make any friends since they don’t know how to due to lack of interaction.
Sociologists are concerned around the issue of solitary confinement because it doesn’t allow individuals to have any interactions with anyone. This can harm a person drastically. Solitary confinement is just like social isolation which means individuals experiencing solitary confinement are able to go through all the symptoms of social isolation. According to Robert King, a former inmate in Louisiana that experienced solitary confinement, stated “I could not make a face out six feet in front of me—even my brother or mother. If I’m around one corner of my house, by the time I get to the next corner, I’m lost. I’m embarrassed.” Once these prisoners are set free, they feel useless and lost because they spent so much time in a room without contact to anyone that they forgot how to actually interact with others. The prisoners have to go through the process of resocialization when they transfer to this new total institution which strips them away from who they actually are in order to adjust and create a new identity. (Ferris,Stein,111) I believe we are creating potential problems with the implementation of solitary confinement because studies have shown that these prisoners come out worse than when they entered. Stuart Grassian, a board-certified psychiatrist and a former faculty member at Harvard Medical School states that solitary confinement “can cause a specific psychiatric syndrome, characterized by hallucination; panic attacks; overt paranoia; diminished impulse control; hypersensitivity to external stimuli; and difficulties with thinking, concentration and memory.” Solitary confinement is a cruel punishment and practically brainwashes the prisoners. It has no benefits at all and can take a huge toll on one’s body. The continuation of this punishment can just create more damages to more people and potentially increase the rates of suicides since “a 1995 study of the federal prison system found that 63 percent of suicides occurred among inmates locked in “special housing status” such as solitary or in psychiatric seclusion cells.”
Even though solitary confinement is a cruel practice, there are reasons why we still continue in this practice. One of the main reasons why we still continue to use solitary confinement in our prisons is because it’s used as a disciplinary tool. Guards believe that if they look inmates that were misbehaving in a room by themselves, it would teach them not to continue misbehaving. Solitary confinement allows prison guards to somewhat control the inmates and show who has the authority. In some rare cases, this practice can actually help us as a society because it separates others from interfering with the inmate but I believe there should be some regulations in regards of the maximum days one can be placed in the room. Prisons guards main reason for placing inmates in solitary confinement is because they are concerned of the protections of others or the inmate themselves. Even though there are many studies that proves the drastic negative effects of solitary confinement, we still continue with this practice because it’s the prison guards only way to actually punish an inmate in hopes of them not disobeying the rules again.