Sociology: A Pioneer In The Study Of Socialization – Research Paper Example
Socialization is a crucial process in an individual’s life since through this process one learns from society the norms for behavior. George Herbert Mead believed that individuals are product of their own society or by social interaction. In fact, George Herbert Mead ( 1863-1931) is considered as the founder of social psychology and a well-known psychologist, sociologist, and philosopher. He was very active in social and political affairs and worked with John Dewey in the University of Chicago.
Mead supports that socialization happens through a maturational process. It is through the interaction with other members of society that individuals experience three stages of social and personality development. Children at the beginning think that they are the center of everything until they realize through socialization that other people too exist with their own rights. The three stages are ( cited in Witt ,2001)
1. Egocentric stage (birth to two years) - Child believes that he is the center of the universe.
2. Play stage (two to seven years) – Child sees different roles and copies them through playing games . He adapts roles as “doctor” and understand that there are “others”.
3. Game stage (seven years and up) – As the child matures, he recognizes that other people have their rights and expectations too.
Mead believed that through “play” and “games” (which are process of socialization), individuals understand the expectations of society from their give roles. The child then learns to play his part and understand himself in this process. According to Mead “ the individual mind can only exist only in relation to other minds with shared meanings” ( Miller ,1982). Therefore, socialization is a crucial process in understanding others in society.
Miller, David. (1982). The Individual and the Social Self: Unpublished Essays by G. H. Mead. University of Chicago Press.
Witt, Susan. ( 2001) The Socialization of Children from Infants to Citizens. Retrieved from http://www3.uakron.edu/witt/father/parke5.htm on June 3, 2009.