Practice Question – According to Mead, ”We play a key role in our own socialisation.” [UPSC 2019]

Approach – Introduction, Explain and interlink his theories of (Mind, Self and Society), Explain I and Me concept in the context of socialisation, Critique.



Socialization is the lifelong process through which people learn the values and norms of a given society. Socialization is not the same as socializing. Socializing is to mix socially with others (i.e., family, friends, neighbors, coworkers), whereas socialization is a process that may include socializing as one element, but is a more complex, multi -faceted and formative set of interactive experiences. It is also an adaptive lifelong learning experience, because society is constantly changing, and because we may find ourselves in new situations—such as a new job with different norms and values, or in a different familial role—such as that of parent or caregiver to an older relative.



We can distinguish three major aspects of socialization:

1. The context in which it occurs

2. The actual content and processes people use to socialize others

3. The results arising from those contexts and processes

The context is like the theater or stage in which socialization occurs. Social context includes culture, language, and social structures such as the class, ethnic, and gender hierarchies of a society. Context also includes social and historical events, power and control in social life, and the people and institutions with whom individuals come in contact in the course of their socialization.

The content and process of socialization is like the play, the lines, and the actors. It includes the structure of the socializing activity–how intense and prolonged it is, who does it, how it is done, whether it is a total experience or only a partial process, how aware the individual is of alternatives, and how attractive those alternatives are. Content refers specifically to what is passed from member to novice. Processes are those interactions that convey to new members how they are to speak, behave, think, and even feel. The view of socialization as an interactive process stands in contrast to the deterministic views of how socialization occurs. Old and new members interact, and in the process exercise mutual influence on each other.

Outcomes may properly be defined as what happens later, after someone has been exposed to particular content and processes. New members may learn the behaviors, attitudes, and values that old members hoped they would learn.


1. Socialisation inculcates basic discipline. A person learns to control his impulses.
2. It helps to control human behaviour. An individual from birth to death undergoes training and his, behaviour is controlled by numerous ways. 
3. Socialisation takes place rapidly if the agencies’ of socialisation are more unanimous in their ideas and skills. When there is conflict between the ideas, examples and skills transmitted in home and those transmitted by school or peer, socialisation of the individual tends to be slower and ineffective.
4. Formal socialisation takes through direct instruction and education in schools and colleges. Family is, however, the primary and the most influential source of education. Children learn their language, customs, norms and values in the family.
5. Socialisation is a life-long process. Society perpetuates itself through the internalisation of culture. 


1. Family plays the most important role in the formation of personality. By the time other agencies contribute to this process family has already left an imprint on the personality of the child. The parents use both reward and punishment to imbibe what is socially required from a child.
2. Peer Group means a group in which the members share some common characteristics such as age or sex etc. It is made up of the contemporaries of the child, his associates in school, in playground and in street. The growing child learns some very important lessons from his peer group. Since members of the peer group are at the same stage of socialisation, they freely and spontaneously interact with each other.
3.Religion instils the fear of hell in the individual so that he should refrain from bad and undesirable activities. Religion not only makes people religious but socialises them into the secular order.
4. The educational institutions not only help the growing child in learning language and other subjects but also instill the concept of time, discipline, team work, cooperation and competition. Every civilised society therefore has developed a set of formalised agencies of education (schools, colleges and universities) which have a great bearing on the socialisation process. It is in the educational institutions that the culture is formally transmitted and acquired in which the science and the art of one generation is passed on to the next.
5. In the occupational world the individual finds himself with new shared interests and goals. He makes adjustments with the position he holds and also learns to make adjustment with other workers who may occupy equal or higher or lower position.


The process of socialisation is important from the point of view of society as well as from the point of view of individual. Every society is faced with the necessity of making a responsible member out of each child born into it. The child must learn the expectations of the society so that his behaviour can be relied upon.He must acquire the group norms in order to take the behaviour of others into account. Socialisation means transmission of culture, the process by which men learn the rules and practices of social groups to which belongs. It is through it that a society maintain its social system, transmits its culture from generation to generation.

From the point of view of the individual, socialisation is the process by which the individual learns social behaviour, develops his self. Socialisation plays a unique role in personality development of the individual. It is the process by which the new born individual, as he grows up, acquires the values of the group and is moulded into a social being. Without this no individual could become a person, for if the values, sentiments and ideas of culture are not joined to the capacities and needs of the human organism there could be no human mentality, no human personality.

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