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Socialization theories - Essay Example

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The paper will be designed as an attempt to answer the question: which of the socialization theories seems to be the most convincing and why? In fact, it is very difficult to say, which of the theories is the most convincing, as all three of them to be represented in this work have their peculiarities and represent the same notions from the different points of view…
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Socialization theories The paper will be designed as an attempt to answer the question: which of the socialization theories seems to be the most convincing and why?
First of all, it should be mentioned, that the question is very subjective, and in fact, it is very difficult to say, which of the theories is the most convincing, as all three of them to be represented in this work have their peculiarities and represent the same notions from the different points of view. According to Hughes and Vander Zanden (2000), Social learning theory emphasizes conditioning and observational learning. Cognitive developmental theory argues that socialization proceeds differently in the sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operations stages. Symbolic interactionists say reflexive behavior facilitates the development of the self. (ch. 3)
Thus, to decide which of the three approaches is the most convincing, let’s look at each of them separately. Starting with the social learning theory, it is interesting to say, that for me personally it seems to be the most convincing, and I will later explain, why. From the objective viewpoint, the social learning theory describes the learning process of people in the social context, which means that people learn through imitation to other people in their surrounding, modeling their behaviors and observing their solutions and reactions. This theory may also be called the closest to the reality, as the facts of imitation and our own learning through imitating other people we witness every minute. People learn other peoples behaviors and, which is even the most important, - the outcomes of these behaviors. The wise principle applied to daily life says, it is better to learn on the mistakes of others. However, it is also notable that in modern environment many people try to take their own decisions, without accounting others similar experiences; but it does not mean the theory does not work – on the contrary, it works perfectly well and is perfectly well applied to the modern real life situations.
The theory of cognitive development is based in the principle, that the social development of a person goes through a number of stages, and during each of them the person perceives the world according to the strict standards, developed by Piaget. However, lets look at it from a different viewpoint: children learn the notions of life and socialize in the environment which is alien to them, not only depending on the stage of cognitive development they are in, but also imitating and observing, how other people (mostly their parents) behave! How many times have we seen a child exactly imitating the way his parents behave. This is another example for my assumption, that the social learning theory is the most convincing at present among all socialization theories.
As for the symbolic interaction theory, it seems to be the least influential of all, though it still carries certain important meanings for us. The theory says that the meaning of various people for us defines the way we act towards them. This is true, but in the situations when we know the meaning the person has for us but dont know exactly how to behave with him (her), we will again look at the way others do! This is again a display of the social learning theorys application. Simultaneously, understanding the meaning people have to us, we learn the samples of behaviors with various meanings from our social context. This is why the social learning theory is more convincing and probably more fundamental. I myself, note my own changes depending on the environment in which I appear to be; so many people, appearing in an absolutely different surrounding, drastically change their preferences, views and behaviors. The number of such examples is unlimited. Every day we notice that people whom we knew suddenly change as soon as they find new companies and start to communicate with other people. As far as all of us according to Darwin originate from monkeys, the tendency for imitation between us is very widely spread – the theory of social learning will never lose its up-to-date character and will always be modern in our attempt to explain how and why people socialize in new environments.
Works cited
Hughes, Michael & Vander Zanden, James W. Sociology: The Core. 6th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000. Read More
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