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Roles of Socialisation in the Creation of Identities

In: Social Issues

Submitted By DianaJ
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Key Concepts – The role of socialisation in the creation of identities

Socialisation and identity: How and who you socialise with can play a part in creating your identity. Whether it’s family, friends or work peers, they all will have a massive influence in forming your identity. You will pick up things like norms and values from family for example, how you respond to that is part of your identity. * One example in your school years you will make friends. You will perhaps be in a group and share hobbies and activities in which you socialise through with. There you will have distinctive attitude and a form of behaviour that you will pick up from being that group. * Second example is your work peers; how you behave towards them and what you pick up from whilst working there again is part of your identity. You will share similar attitudes and norms of behaviour that the other peers have.

Culture and identity: This is the identity of a group or culture of an individual as far as one is influences by one’s belonging to a group or culture. That could depend on various thing like what norms and values you share or what ethnicity the group is from. * One example is you’re from a certain religion which involves living a distinct lifestyle to someone’s who’s non-religious. Their identity will be formed through how they live their life. They may be less sociable and spend more time practising their religion. * Second example is a group of ‘Goths’. Their identity is formed through the way they dress, the music they listen to and their attitude in life. That’s their culture that they want to express.

Socialisation in relation to:

Gender Identities: Gender identity is when you identity yourself with a gender category. In most societies there is basic division between what genders someone chooses to be which may not always be which sex you’re biologically born as. Gender plays a huge part in creating our identity and also pointing out what is expected of that person depending on their gender. * One example is the rising population of males ‘coming out of the closet’ admitting their gay. Being straight or gay can lead to two very different lives. * So second example is from Seidler (2006). He points out that males growing up in the 1950’s knew what was expected of them (get married, have a family ect.) they were prepared for all that because they mostly followed their father’s footsteps.

Femininities: The concept of feminities covers a range of learned behaviours and ways expressing these behaviours. These behaviours could differ with age, class and ethnicity. One source of influence can come from media, the pressure they portray for women to look and live a certain way is highly influential. * One example is from Blackman (1995) found lower middle class and working class in a secondary school were highly visible groups. They used their sexuality to challenge the schools male culture. * So second example is from Seidler (2006) argues that girls from Asian backgrounds, their expectations of their feminities are based on the experiences within the family. This means that girls have the pressure to act and behave in a way that is expected of them, more than what is expected from a boy in an Asian family.

Masculinities: Masculinities are socially constructed sets of expectations about how men should behave; there is a range of masculinities in the UK today. The influence of how media portrays males also influences how an identity if formed. * One example is from the socialist Connell, who describes a traditional male to be hegemonic masculinity. That associates with male supremacy (power and authority), heterosexuality, aggression and ‘laddish’ culture. The behaviours of hegemonic males is often macho and sexy. * Second example is the portrayal of leading male characters in children fairytale stories. The ‘prince’ is normally portrayed as a handsome, strong and leading, which all relate to what is expected of a traditional male.

Social-class identities: What class you come from can also depend on what sort of identity is formed. The stereotyping of each class and expectations of a higher class are all part of creating social class identity. * One example is a study from Savage (1992) says that lifestyles of the middle class are related to their occupational grouping. Those working in a private sector jobs will have a distinct lifestyle compared to those who working in a managerial or government positions. * So second example if you’re from a very lower middle class family who has little income and a very bad reputation this might influence your identity to be someone who has little expectations of themselves. They may live a very low quality lifestyle compared to those who are higher up in social class.

Ethnic identities: Having a cultural attachment to others and sometimes a sense of pride. The culture can include a shared language, food, dressing styles, religion, traditions and values. These factors can be influenced by where a person was born, where they currently live or their ancestor. Ethnic identity can be a way for someone to achieve and express to others. * One example is the UK which is made up of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The majority of UK population may be white but within the UK you have different ethnic identities like Scottish or Irish. * Second example is the study from Banton in 2000, he suggests that ethnicity in today’s UK is increasingly becoming recognised as something everyone has because it’s in the Census.

Ethnic hybrids: This is the mixing of different cultures when one influences another and new hybrid develops. All this helps create more of a diverse in cultures. * One example is the growing popularity over Indian food like the famous ‘chicken tikka masala’ which is reportedly the most popular dish in England. However the origin of the food is from elsewhere, far in the Middle East. Sometimes the curries are altered to be more acceptable for English taste. This shows how different cultures can mix and create something new. * Second example is a study from Johal and Bains (1998) which focused on ‘dual identities’. British Asians have a number of different identities which depended on who they were with. They suggested that there is a ‘code switch’ in behaviour and attitude. This is portrayed in the films ‘Bend it like Beckham’ and ‘East is East’.

Age identities: Age categorisations are found in all areas of life in the contemporary UK. Certain ages will bring certain roles and status. You can consider age as a lifelong process that you go through. On some occasions people don’t follow the same age patterns; instead they alter it to suit themselves. * One example could be that there is a certain age when you can apply for your provisional licence. * Second example could be when middle age starts for one person, but at a different stage for another person.

Old age: Old age is normally related to people 65 or over, this links to retirement age. With retirement comes a pension from the state, public transport and the possibility of free prescriptions. There will be times when people will categorize them self as ‘old’ * One example is a study by McKingsley (2001), according to him there is a fast growing segment of people aged 85 and over. This suggests there is stage of being ‘oldest old’ and ‘young elderly’. This shows that there is no clear age boundary; instead consider it as a social category which brings new roles, assumptions, opportunities and barriers. * Second example is Victor (2005) suggests old age is stereotyped and identified as a period of loniliness, being unable to learn, having poor health and being dependent on others.

Middle age: The stage lying between young adulthood and old age, normally related to people in their 40’s or 50’s. There is no clear boundary or legal position to locate when middle age takes place. Many suggest that it considers the attitude of the mind, stating that there is a particular way that middle aged people view their life. It can also be the stage where most of the maturity takes place and responsibilities are very common in that stage. * One example is starting a starting a family, taking on new responsibilities of being a mother which is a new role they will need to adapt their life around. * Second example could be also becoming a grandparent. Taking on more responsibilities where you can pass down your life experiences to the younger generations and act as a role model to them by example.

Youth: Youth is associated with people from around the age of 12 to 25 years old. Youth will lead a distinct lifestyle; a period of growing up, rebelling, fun and excitement. Factors such as class, gender, ethnicity may affect their youth identity. * One example is the study from Polemus (1997) said the media clearly plays a crucial part in the creation and reinforcement of youth identity. * Second example the study by Abrams (1959) argued that young people were all part of the same youth culture; at the same transition stage in their life. It involves young people learning and negotiating the path into adulthood.

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