Socialization is the way in which we learn our culture, and the norms of that culture.  Behavioral expectations are referred to as norms.  Violating or deviating from these norms leads to negative sanctions.  Obeying these norms leads to positive sanctions.  We learn the socialization of our culture through various people and groups that are called agents of socialization.  These can include the media, our peer groups around us, our workplace, family, and even governments.  For example, young children may learn some manners from a children’s media show.  Their family may reinforce the socialization of manners with negative or positive sanctions for following or not following these norms of culture.


In contrast to socialization, resocialization is getting rid of old behavior patterns and accepting new ones as a part of a new life transition.  Resocialization occurs best in a total institution setting.  In this setting, a single authority figure inside the institution will decide what activities will be conducted by individuals during the day and when.  The people inside the total institutions have almost their every move set out for them.  If they do not comply to these orders by authority figures, than they will face consequences.  These are some of the factors that make a place a total institution.  Another factor is having every aspect of life within the institution be related towards the goals of the organization.  Examples of total institutions include mental institutions, the military, convents, and prisons.  In a prison institution, the prisoners are forced to dress very similary, do the same activities as other inmates, and share their living spaces with others.  They are stripped of their identities, and are forced to conform to the way everyone else acts and appears because they have no other choice.  Isolation occurs for some

In a penitentiary institution, a degredation ceremony begins to resocialize the prisoners into the institution.  They are stripped of all of their personal belongings including phones, clothes, jewelry, etc.  They are then forced to wear clothes similar to everyone else.  They may begin to lose their sense of self during this degredation ceremony.  From this point on, they have scheduled daily activities and routines that allow for little time to themselves.  Everything they do is based upon the goals of the total institution.


After these degredation ceremonies, prisoners will learn to discard their deviance for the law and take on new behaviors and new social roles inside of the institution.  They may have a daily job to perform, and are made to model the ways in which they are expected to act in the workplace in an effort to resocialize them into a working class society inside of the institution. Agents of socialization that may influence them during this time include family encouragement, media role models, and government counseling programs inside the prisons.  There are also educational programs inside the prisons to help them develop important skills.  For instance, in the following video, inmates work with shelter dogs in an effort to help train them to be more pleasurable to families that will then adopt them.  Caring for these animals also helps to reduce tension within the institution for the inmates.


Resocialization also exists in the form of new life changes.  The disengagement theory discusses the ways in which older people should sever their personal social relationships and give up their social roles that they hold within society.  They are discarding old behaviors such as talking with their friends or going to work every day, for a new role in society.  Their new role in society is to prepare for death.  Some are even forced into retirement homes.  Some cultures practice a more extreme form of disengagement theory.  For example, the Fulani people of Africa force their older people to live next to the graveyard and prepare for death.  They consider them to be already socially dead.  Many people disagree with the disengagement theory, and believe it to be unhealthy for anyone to sever their personal relationships.  Although many believe that older people will be more comfortable if they are retired from their working role in society, most agree that they should still stay active within society.

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