Socialization began with child development.
Rene Spitz found that children raised by a founding home that provided hygienic and nutritious conditions still had a great deal of infant death; we need personal attention/touch.
Sociologists realized socialization lasts throughout one's life.
Two theory dominates, functionalists and interactionalists. Wentworth tries to synthesize the two.
The readings on socialization theory demonstrated that there are a number of approaches to the discipline. While much value can come from the existence and synthesis of alternative theories and approaches, it seems that this has also generated at least one troublesome disagreements. The philosophical conundrum of determinism and free will, which was hinted at by Wentworth and explicitly avoided by Goslin, seems like an argument that hasn't yielded a great deal and some have tired of. Otherwise, it appears that the discipline could be divided into the philosophies of:
collectivism and solidarism, and sociologism (Wentworth)
Wherein they differ with respect to the direction of causal flow, ontological priority, coercion or emergence, production, and objects of analysis. Furthermore, Goslin adds to the question of directionality by examining the likelihood of two-way processes and power relations. In addition to these dueling philosophies there's also tension related to the approaches and biases of the parental disciplines of sociology, anthropology, and psychology.
Also, I found the points on role negotiation very interesting, particularly with respect to one's perception of it, and that role development is recursive: initial socialization is preparing you for further socialization.
I wasn't sure to what degree terms from different sources correspond to each other. Is functionalism from the Dictionary the same as the Wentworth's sociologism? Also, it appears that symbolic interactionism is individualistic, but I don't completely understand the "paradox of mutual indeterminism"? I appreciate that focus on interaction misses the unintentional and structuralist context, but is that the "paradox"?
Is the American concept of individualism itself perpetuated via the sociological mode?
Is there a presumption that stable ordered society is always a good thing? What does "effective" mean when Goslin uses the term?
Personality structure is predisposed to certain paths, that may or may not fit into a social context. I've always felt that personality characteristics are distributed along a bell curve, and society's influence is to push the hump towards one or the other pole. Can one comparatively examine personality traits within a society and their distributions?
What about when a group has not even defined its norms explicitly! I presume there are readings on boundary definition and the flexibility inherent in different groups?
I wonder if the punishment (avoidance learning) is only true for simple tasks related to animal studies, and might not necessarily apply to more complex tasks where user motivation and creativity is important? (I would like to think this...!)
Sociologism: society is paramount
Functionalism: society needs some role or requirement to be filled
Attempts to be value free and positivistic, reality is objective
Focuses on the individual as a "puppet" in the larger machine
A model of socialization:
content: "meaning" liking to effect social behaviour
process: a continuous process of influence and negotiation (exchange of content) from multiple sources
effect: the result of socialization on the individual/community that exist in objective reality, but must be approached as an observable (hypothetical) phenomena.
internalization: differing degrees to which an effect is a psychological reflex.
manifestation: a hypothesis that an effect is the result of a particular process.
assessment: judgement of a hypothesis of effect relative to a social standard/context.
David McClelland's , "The Achievement Motive"
Barry Child and Bacon? (Different societies influence children towards the social need)
C. Wright Mills: The Promise of Sociology
Aaronfreed: whether punishment is immediate, certain, and consistent
Persell notes that differing models presume whether agents are rational actors are not; and that a society's socialization is an important statement of value. In Japan, they want to reform you, in America, it's "fend for yourself."
I very much enjoyed Wrong's encouragement that sociology be grounded as "problem conscious" and "retain a sense of significance", in particular, "How are men capable of uniting to form enduring societies in the first place?" (184) He presents a number of issues including internalization, and acceptance seeking that he encourages the reader to maintain with some flexibility and balance. I further appreciated his criticism of Hobbes' poles of (a) a state of nature and (b) the Leviathan (beneficent monarchy) as I believe we are social animals. Wrong also criticises the two modern answers to the sociological question: (1) "internalization of social norms" and (2) "achieving a positive self image". With respect to internalization, he does not like the shift from Durkheim's view of constraint towards Freud's superego, and prefers Kecskemeti's argument for a relationship between "social norms, the individual's selection from them, his conduct and his feelings about his conduct"; these distinctions are not trivially separated. On "status-seeking" he again critiques a few scholars who he feels might be pursuing sociology with "partial perspectives". (190)
In Elkin's piece I learned that Erikson's had eight stages, with each stage's names corresponding to the possible outcome resulting from the socialization of that stage (which also has correspondence to Freud's psychological stages):
Mead argues that "all selves are constituted by or in terms of the social process", (201) and looks at superiority and laughing at another to draw a distinction between "me" and "I", where the "me" is the socially constructed form of self. I believe Mead argues that superiority (even if not malicious) is necessary to preserve a sense of self, and this applies to groups (207) as well (e.g, patriotism). (This relates to one of my social/ethical concerns best addressed by Singer's Expanding Circle (a term borrowed from W. H. Lecky), that as our social sphere grows, so do our moral sympathies.)
Is Wrong actually opposing Freud's distinction between man as "a social animal without being entirely socialized?" (192)
If, according to Elkind, the generativity phase's subject is not limited to parents, why is the object of generativity limited to "welfare of young people"? (52) Could it not apply to the welfare of anyone, or any sector of society?
Is it correct to read of Mead that he believes superiority (even if not malicious) is necessary to preserve a sense of self? While I believe we do compare ourselves, I'm not sure if that's essential to the sense of self?
Does actual sociological and cognitive development research bear out Erikson's stages?
If we want to be active as Wrong encourages us in developing "enduring societies", and our sense of group self has a (perhaps confused) sense of superiority, what does sociology offer towards the formation of a global society?
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Kuhn's "normal science" occurs under the "dominant paradign.
The collection of papers is an interesting survey of sociological research, but I found it difficult to pull together common themes. In any case, Kingsley Davis in Extreme Social Isolation of a Child and its Final Note, presented the sad case of a neglected child (Anna) in the context of questions of how a lack of early socialization impairs human development, and how age and the intensity of interaction can affect the impairment or its subsequent remedy.
In Social Class and Parental Values, Melvin Kohn is defending an earlier paper wherein parental values are shown to correlate to social class. Apparently, Wright and Wright attempted to extend this path by also considering the effects of the parents' occupational conditions/status. Kohn found this problematic for a number of reasons centered on the Wrights' use of the 1973 NORC data and improper methodology (541). For example, one can't draw conclusions about changes from the original data as the definition of "fathers" is inconsistent with the original; the age of the children differ and we already know that parental values differed over ages of children; and the Wrights have confused occupational status with conditions. In conclusion, the 1973 NORC data can only confirm Kohn's original study but not "that class differences in values and orientation are the product of systematically differentiated conditions of life, occupation in particular" (544).
Teresa Sullivan on Making the Graduate Curriculum Explicit, argues that we need to better articulate the goals of undergraduate and graduate education. In addition to a more explicit understanding of the differences of graduate education, we need to achieve a balance of a (1) framework of support and (2) room for independent motivation to prevent both early or late failure (412).
For most of the Kohn article, I'm confused about the variables (e.g., "parental values") and the direction of causation -- if any. For example, (544) "and the substantive complexity of the job, in turn, has an appreciable effect on parents' valuation of self-direction." Who's job and valuation? Also, I'm not familiar with much of the statistical terminology including "factor structure" or "exact factor loadings."
In response to Kohn, I've since read (e.g., Judith Rich Harris) that peer influence can be dominant to direct parental influence on children. Consequently, one the greatest influences a parent can have on a child is the formation of the child's peer group, which I think would be influenced by class (e.g., "finding a good school.") Though others (Sung Jang) continue to find that parental influence continues to be important.
This was a fascinating book! I obviously appreciated the importance of emotions. I also had a blurry sense of emotional exchange via conversations with friends that still work in the service industry, or when I've been a tourist. Fortunately, Arlie Hochschild clearly articulates the economy of emotion, particularly as it pertains to gender (162) and class (153), and its commodities of identity (181) and status (173). I learned much from her definition of emotion by synthesizing (232) the interactionist (what gets done to emotion), Darwinian (biological sense), and Freudian (signaling function) treatments of the term. The definition of emotion as a "biological given sense of how we know our relation to the world" is quite powerful. And Hochschild's discussion on how we manage our emotions (e.g., forms of acting (40)), how they affect our sense of identity, (132) and consequent feelings (e.g., disconnection, guilt, or remoteness/cynicism (187)) might even help me understand myself better.
I do not understand Trillian's distinction (190) between sincerity and authenticity via Hochschild's presentation. Is it that sincerity applies to the variability of one's external face, and authenticity applies to the variability of one's internal state?
One of the ironies of this book might be that while many in the service industry found relief in seeing a substantive and difficult portion of their work identified and valued via this book, the corporate world will probably use this as well to better manage their employees' emotions. Is this, in some way, an advocacy book? Is there an ethic of sociology that attempts to understand how its findings should be used or affects society itself?
In the first half of the Commercialization of Intimate Life, Arlie Hochschild returns to the "economy of emotion" via reflections on some of her previous work, and focusing on an analysis of self-help books. Hochschild argues that the contemporary turn towards "coolness" in self-help books as a commercial approach to intimate life has profound implications for our ability to maintain durable and satisfying relationships. These book contribute to an ideal of perfect, exhilarating romantic love while also cautioning (123) that its readers remain somewhat removed in order to avoid hurt (24). The social consequence is captured in her analogy that "Feminism is to the commercial spirit of intimate life as Protestantism is to the spirit of capitalism. The first legitimates the second." (23) As men and women become more detached, and begin to see the bonds of solidarity as commodities, our family, communal, and spiritual bonds are weakened.
This change in posture happens via socialization. Hochschild defines emotion as an "awareness of bodily cooperation with an idea" (75) and reiterates her recurring thesis that emotions do not merely happen to us, but we evoke and submerge them, we wrestle with them to conform to the expectations that we have according to a "socially normal yardstick" (94). Through self-help books, our upbringing, and comparison with the standing and behaviours of our peers, our expectations are set and our emotions managed via framing and feeling rules (99). Furthermore, all of these mechanisms are immersed in ideology which biases the power between genders and classes in this new emotional marketplace. Between the strata of class and power, negative emotion is deflected down, and positive emotion is deflected up (85). Between the genders, the fact that women must accommodate men who refuse to share household chores, or feel extremely grateful towards those that do demonstrates that "[power] works through it [gratitude] by establishing moral, pragmatic, and historical frames of reference" (118).
If feminism has liberated women to work the "second shift" but not yet created a new equilibrium in which the importance of family and communal life is maintained, in which direction might/should society proceed? Conservatives seem to argue we need to take a step back, liberals seem to argue we need to rush forward even further.
In the second half of the Commercialization of Intimate Life, Arlie Hochschild further investigates the mechanisms of the fractured family life and provides an answer to my concluding question of last week: how do we move forward with respect to gender inequality and family fracture?
The problem is further examined by considering the characteristics of life (and socialization) in the home and at work. In patriarchal and misogynistic communities women themselves perpetuate the norms because it provides, among other things, the older women some power of their own within the very limited sphere of the home in which they can act (152). Even in modern western communities, women must undergo two socializations (230), once as a home care-taker and as a male (competitive) surrogate. The consequence is that nurturing in the home declines, and the home becomes less a sanctuary and instead yet another demand on time and energy. In an effort to guard their conceptualization of the home as a haven, many parents become more regimental of their private time and sever a connection from the private to the public, at the same time losing a connection to community and extended family. The home is a critical location of socialization (in general (164), via Lang's theory of attribution (174), or even eavesdropping (172)), but we are exacerbating our alienation to it.
However, at work, people can feel more competent, stable, and relaxed! Efforts are rewarded, employees are socialized (e.g., total quality (208)) to the workaholic culture, and people's jobs often last longer than their marriages (206).
Hochschild's proposal is to recognize that the character of competition can be destructive (238,250), (particularly via the model of the male career (227)), that we need to respect/appreciate the value of care and the home, without removing ourselves from community, and to support a new model of the career akin to that of the Swedes: to change the character of the male career path, including the promotion of family leave and part time employment that both women and men should take equal advantage of.
Hochschild's attempt to avoid the trite explanation and identify the systematic/emergence character of the fracturing trend reminded me very much of emergent systems and The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much. Consequently, my present conception of socialization is not limited to entities of agency (e.g., a person or organization), but also of systematic and emergent social evolution. Is competition itself an unbridled agent of socialization?
Prior to this week's readings I considered class to be an important socialization variable and a determinant of subsequent "success." My uninformed intuition was that class afforded certain resources akin to Bourdieu's cultural capital theory (Macleod 12), or created patterns of social reproduction akin to Boweles' and Ginitis' theory (MacLeod 10). This week's readings highlighted a variable that I had not previously considered: expectation/aspiration/entitlement in the context of an achievement (meritocratic) ideology. Lareau focuses on the effects of time, language, and kin resources between class and race. She finds that the middle class fosters a "culture of cultivation", whereas the working class has an approach of "accomplishment of natural growth." Typically, middle class children participate in many activities and are encouraged to think of themselves as agents with the ability to make choices and selections (Lareau 748). For example, Alex is coached on how to ask questions of his doctor (Lareau 767). In contrast, the working class children's experience is one of constraints, typically having strong adult/child boundaries, with a general hands-off approach except for specific direction/orders (759).
MacLeod speaks to the effect of aspiration on perceiving and acting in the world. While the Hallway Hangers and the Brothers shared a socio-economic status their outlooks on the opportunities available to them were different, which effected their behavior and likely outcomes. Like Lareau, who did not find race to be as an important a factor as she suspected, race is not the seemingly dominant causative agent to MacLeod. Instead it is a "refractive" mechanism, race mediates one's approach to the class structure (140). MacLeod posits that perhaps because African Americans felt that racism was on the decline, they had more to hope for, that they did not find the projects as stigmatizing, and that the lower class of status was not as crippling to social mobility. The Hallway Hangers, because of their "macho" social structure, role models (they knew few who "made it"), family influence (parents do not direct them or give them motivation), and perhaps even a more realistic view of what was in store for them, were at a motivational disadvantage. Furthermore, both MacLeod, and Cookson/Persell highlight the importance of "entitlement" in the context of the "ideology of achievement" as an important motivator in student performance and the reproduced social structures.
I found MacLeod's comparison of these two groups to be compelling, but also somewhat arbitrary. I'm confident he could've found a group of white students in the projects that wasn't as problematic, or a group of black students that was. However, I don't think this would undermine his observation on the importance of aspiration. Though, I did find his recommendations with respect to achievement ideology confusing. On (153) he recommends the ideology be abandoned, but then asks that better role models be found?! Furthermore, he admits that the black students probably will do better because they adhered to the achievement ideology.
It would be interesting to see if any quantitative data has been collected on the effects of aspiration/motivation on success of students controlling for things like race and present/past economic status.
Stanton-Salzer -- read on-line without pagination -- relied upon Bourdieu's theory of social capital to examine the relationship between minority children and institutional agents (i.e., teachers and counselors). He identified five problems for the accumulation of social capital by disadvantaged youth: (1) differential values, (2) barriers and entrapment, (3) evaluation and recruitment (akin to Ogbu's "leveling"), (4) institutionalized distrust, and (5) ideological mechanisms. He then introduces six key forms of institutional support, examined the institutionalization of of distrust and detachment, and noted in a point reminiscent of MacLeod, "This is to say that access to vital institutional resources is cast in terms of merit and fair competition, rather than in terms of the inherently unmerited advantages in constructing empowering networks and in accumulating social capital."
Ogbu too considered these questions of institutional support, but focused most of his attention on the role of "community forces" in the "low effort syndrome" (23). In particular, despite the fact that the black parents wanted their children to do well, and moved to a good neighborhood for that purpose, he identified a number of issues that might explain the lack of performance including limited parental education (243), competing inappropriate role models (245), not seeing schooling as employment preparation (245), inadequate knowledge of education requirements (254), and the effects of leveling. Later, when he considers other minority communities he notes that an East Asian immigrant community had about 300 extra-curricular academic (language/college/test-pre) programs! He recommended the black community develop similar programs (276), a "cultural context to increase the value of academic success the visibility of academically successful blacks as role models" (277), "appropriate and effective parental educational strategies" (279), "teach children how to work hard and make good grades" (280), and "expand the use of the MAC [Minority Achievement Committee (MAC) Scholars Program] for academic engagement" (283).
In the beginning of his book Ogbu dismisses many competing theories of poor performance by citing works in other (often fairly limited) contexts: I asked myself if what was found in those cases are necessarily generalizable? (Though I did appreciate his very concrete response to a number of new educational programs and their, little, success so far.)
I find these readings somewhat frustrating for the obvious reason of the disparities in student performance, but also because it seems to be very difficult to reach a firm understanding of the causes -- it is a difficult problem. Finding a more conclusive rational is difficult to obtain given there are so many variables of what might effect performance negatively. Is there any data or research that shows positive performance? Could one then to a comparative analysis with Ogbu's work?
Ogbu cites Treisman for a case of a positive ethnic minority community. They did well in calculus, blacks did poorly. But Asians socialized in study groups and consequently studied for nearly 20 hours, black students studied alone, for about 8 hours. Consequently, they created a program at Berkeley that was labeled "honors" so as to de-stigmatize, and encourage more social/supported behaviour.
Many of the students mentioned the NYTimes Magazine article The Opt-Out Revolution
Claude M. Steele and Joshua Aronson: students do worse when tests in a context with those they fear will do better.
Research that shows if parents of a son are more likely to get and stay married than of a female.
Bowles and Gintis: Schooling in Capitalist America Revisited.
In Warrior Dreams, William Gibson describes the "imaginary New War" as a possible response of white American men to the loss of the Vietnam War abroad and feminism and immigration at home.
In Sexuality and Gender in Children's Daily Worlds, Thorne and Luria describe the play of boys and girls in the context of "gender," which they use to "refer to cultural and social phenomena — divisions of labor, activity, and identity which are associated with but not fully determined by biological sex" (49). In their description, boys tends to interact in larger, competitive groups (50) that obtain communal satisfaction from transgression including "dirty talk"; girls play in smaller groups (51) with more complex pairwise relationships. At the onset of adolescence, boy and girls tend to interact with each (54) other via gender-marked rituals of chasing, hypothetical pairing, and "cootie" transmission.
In Boyhood, Organized Sports, and The Construction of Masculinity, Michael Messner argues that gender is not a thing, but a social construction via interaction in the social world — in which the person does have some agency. He identifies that males think of their athletic activities as innate, but that males also acknowledge the significant influences they felt, particularly from fathers, towards those activities.
In Gender as Structure, Barbara Risman review a number of theories on gender, including bio-social, social structure, unequal interaction, and socialization. She argues that sex-role theory is weak because of its over-reliance on internalisation and its de-politicization of gender, which leads to "deceptive distinctions" (332). She cites Epstein as evidence that "there are perhaps no empirically documented differences that can be traced to the predispositions of males and females" and instead argues that it is the gender characteristics associated with socio-structural/functional roles that most determine adopted gender characteristics. In that context, gender comes to be a performative act: "Doing Gender" as argued by West and Zimmerman (334).
In "Night to His Day" The Social Construction of Gender, Judith Lorber seemingly argues that gender is predominately a social construction.
I found Lorber's article to be extremely problematic: taking the extreme position in the "nature versus nurture" argument. The social communication and perpetuation of norms does not indicate that there is no biological predisposition; nor does the presence of biological predisposition negate agency or social perpetuation. It's not at all difficult to posit a game theoretical construct in which slight variances in biological predisposition come to be magnified as extremes through social refraction. Furthermore, she relies heavily upon Money, who's theories of strong gender socialization are now contested if not considered unethical and fraudulent. (He's certainly in my top three of unethical frauds within psychology along with Bruno Bettleheim's blaming of mothers (thought to be so cold so as to be "refrigerator moms") for their childrens' autism, and David Corwin's involvement in cases of sex abuse and repressed memories.)
Do the cultures which posses a third gender have any instances of transexuality? Lorber seems to argue that transsexuals are a distinct phenomena in any case, and if this is so I would think that there would still be some transexuality.
Messner's piece led me to ask if basketball playing related to urbanism? Is a basketball court a more efficient use of space in urban environments where youth are poor, and land is expensive?
In Anybody's Son Will Do, Gwynne Dyer notes how quickly and completely young males are socialized into the role of the soldier. Marine basic training is predicated on giving the recruits a sense of accomplishment over insurmountable odds, while retaining the majority (85%) of them (149). This is accomplished by depriving them of their previous identity which is replaced with a group identity (151), creating a "pattern of submission" (150), and administering the right "dosage" of stress (152). In Warrior Dreams, William Gibson describes the "imaginary New War" as a possible response of white American men to the loss of the Vietnam War abroad and feminism and immigration at home.
In The Development of Identification with an Occupation and The Elements of Identification with An Occupation, Becker and Carper identify how graduate students ("young males" in 1956) come to be socialized into the fields of physiology, engineering, and philosophy, including the construction of their identity within that field. They demonstrate the way in which some disappointed medical students come to accommodate their likely physiological career (Development, 292), and it is amusing to identify with the sense of bravado the surveyed engineers expressed: feeling as if one is happy to, or can, work on any project as long as it's interesting or challenging (Identification, 344), and one can move back to the more lucrative workforce at any time (Development, 293). However, leaving graduate school is not trivial, "Movement into the academic structure through matriculation as a graduate student, sets the investment mechanism going" (Development, 296). (Though I remind myself that such an investment can be thought of as a sunk cost, and that feeling one has passed the point of no return is an irrational fallacy.) Furthermore, the authors identify the four major elements of work identification (1) occupational title, and associated ideology; (2) commitment to task; (3) commitment to particular organizations or institutional positions; and (4) significance for one's position in the larger society. I wrestle with all of these issues: how to check my ego as a student, given I was previously a respected and productive contributor to a different discipline, am I still an engineer/geek at the core, how do I assuage the cognitive dissonance of being expected to absorb some of the (Marxist) social theory that I find so alien, and how do I navigate and relate to the various competing institutions and personalities in this new field?
With respect to Anybody's Son Will Do, he stops his analysis of the effect of socialization at the end of basic training? What happens on the field, how long does that socialization last, is it replaced by cynicism? Does it even matter, as long as the soldier is still willing to fight?
The three texts this week (Processes of Socialization in American Graduate Schools, Making Elite Lawyers, and Scientific Elite) continued Becker's and Carper's considerations of socialization in advanced education. In the first article, Gottlieb shows that graduate students change their career preferences based on the opportunity to discuss one's plans with faculty and the consequent cues given to the students. Those who have a chance to substantively interact with faculty are more amendable to change. The cues are of being told they have a "flair" for research or teaching, in eclectic and single-minded departments. Interestingly being told one has a flair for teaching in a single-minded department by a researcher is more likely to change the career preference towards research than not being told anything!
In the second text Granfield considers the career preferences of Harvard Law students in light of the odd observation: there is a disjunction in that many students enter wanting to work on issues of social justice, and become even more radical during their tenure (Granfield 1992:46), but leave to become corporate lawyers (Granfield 1992:48). (Only 5% enter government or public interest organizations upon graduation.) A possible explanation is that through the law school socialization students become cynical about the ability of law to effect positive social change. This happens through the intense socialization and being taught how to win an argument on either side (Granfield 1992:58), which disorientates many who came to law school hoping to find "justice" -- those with a firm conceptualization aren't so shaken. Granfield also discusses the importance of "entitlement", similar to our earlier discussions, via "collective eminence."
In the final text Zuckerman considers the interesting characteristic that Nobel laureates are very much "related" via master/apprentice ties: in 1972 48% of winner had worked with Nobel laureates themselves (Zuckerman 1977:99). He notes that this is probably the result of a "mutual search," where good apprentices and masters aggressively search each other out (Zuckerman 1977:107), and socialization, wherein the apprentices reproduce elite master behaviour less so than actual content (Zuckerman 1977:135). The most interesting factoid was that 68% of female Nobel Laureates were husbands of Laureates! This sort of structure is perhaps indicative of scale-free networks by another name: the "Mathew Effect" in education whereby the "rich get richer, and the poor get poorer."
Gottlieb, D. 1961. "Processes of socialization in American graduate schools." Social Forces 40:124-31.
Granfield, Robert. 1992. Making Elite Lawyers. New York: Routledge.
Zuckerman, Harriet. 1977. Scientific Elite: Nobel Laureates in the United States. New York: Free Press, Ch. 4, "Masters and Apprentices in Science.
As seems common in these studies, Granfield seems to use different groups to the advantage of is hypothesis even if they are contradictory. For example, difference in those students that like the rhetorical instruction and those that don't; or the sense of competition via grades, the Law Review, and recruitment. I was hoping he would interview professors on why they discourage competition via grades.