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Are family the most important agent of socialisation?

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Socialisation is how a certain agent of socialisation socialises us into our gender roles and teaches us the norms and values of society. Family is an example of an informal agent of socialisation; there are other informal agents such as peers, education, workplace, mass media and religion. There are also formal agents and these include the army, the police, the government, the courts and the prison cells. Family is an important agent of socialisation because they are the people who raised you since you were a child; they taught you what was right from wrong and taught you the norms and values of your culture. Primary socialisation is what you are taught from the ages 0-5 and secondary socialisation is what you learn from the age of 5 and upwards. Family are very important by the way they bring you up. This is called manipulation which is when the family encourage you to behave a certain way to fit in with your gender roles e.g. a mum would encourage her daughter to help make dinner. Family can also socialise their children through canalisation which is when you buy a child toys to socialise them into their correct gender roles e.g. if you buy a girl a cooking set it will socialise her into becoming a stay at home mum.

Anne Oakley is famous for her study about manipulation and canalisation. Unsocialised children are known as feral children. They are evidence of what would happen if they were not socialised from the ages of 0-5 (primary socialisation). An example of a feral child who hasn’t been socialised is Shamdeo who is a young boy who was raised by wolves. Feral children don’t normally live as long as regular children because they are brought up to act a certain way. However other people may disagree that family is the most important informal agent of socialisation as they believe there are more important informal agents such as peers, education, workplace, religion and mass media. A reason that family might not be the most important agent of socialisation is because others may think that the effect the other agents might have is more important. For example to some people the effect on what your peers have is more important because they can judge you and in some cases bully you and call you homophobic names just because of a choice you made.

In some cases the workplace can be the most important because everyone needs money to be able to pay for their bills, for food and clothes. However education is just as important because if you don’t get any good grades then you won’t be able to get the job you want. It might just be the case where you are not that close with your family therefore other agents are more important. Other agents could be important because no matter what happens your family will always love and care for you so another agent for example peers, could be a bit more important as you may want to have friend and not be rejected or neglected by anyone. My conclusion is that I personally don’t think that family is the most important agent of socialisation as I believe that other agents could have a bigger effect on you as a person because no matter what your family will always be there for you so I think that other agents are more important, as they could have a bigger effect on your own life and what could happen in your future.

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