Primary and secondary socialization: its agents and effects

If there is one thing that characterizes the human race, it is that we are social animals and that our personal development is very much conditioned by the degree of socialization that we manage to achieve. It doesn’t have to involve making a lot of relationships, but rather the skills we develop to make them happen.

The process of integration into society and successful interaction with others is known as socialization. This process can be divided into two phases depending on the stage of a person’s life: primary socialization and secondary socialization.

    What is socialization?

    The process of socialization refers to contact between people through which we learn, accept and integrate a series of behavioral patterns and adapt to them. This process aims to instill in the person the socio-cultural elements of his environment, these elements are shaped by personal experiences and social agents, and integrated into the personality of the individual.

    Through socialization, the person develops and improves the skills necessary for a good integration and a contribution to social life, generating behavior patterns and organized behaviors in accordance with society.

    But this whole process of socialization it would not be possible without the social agents. Social agents are all those people or institutions with which the person interacts. Without them, there is no socialization.

    Family, school, friends and peers, as well as institutions and influential people belong to the category of social agents; being the most important in the family, because it is the first social contact between the person and the school, since it is the main source of knowledge.

    But this socialization does not happen in a single moment of life, but lasts for years. Therefore, depending on the stage at which the person is we can speak of primary or secondary socialization.

      Primary socialization and its agents

      This first phase of socialization takes place in the person’s family context. Then it happens in educational institutions in which the individual begins to generate other relationships with friends and peers, outside of the family nucleus.

      There is no specific event or signal that serves as an end point at this stage, as this can change depending on the person, the social context and the culture in which they are growing. The social agents at this stage and who bring about the first relationships with the person are: family, school and the media.

      1. Family

      Family, in particular the closest and most intimate family nucleus, Has the responsibility to meet both the physical needs of the individual and the psychological needs. Likewise, family dynamics will determine a person’s development both in terms of personality and in terms of cognitive and behavioral level.

      Relationships with parents and siblings provide essential information for the child on how to interact with others, thus generating basic behavioral models which will allow him in the future to better adapt to society.

      2. School

      On the other hand, once the child enters the academic phase, the school becomes another primary social agent. The school offers the opportunity to interact daily with friends and peers, Make the child aware that there may be differences in the way in which others proceed, act and think.

      In addition, the relationship between faculty and students helps to know that institutional hierarchies also exist and how to interact with them.

      3. Media

      Finally, the media are an increasingly important agent of socialization. In addition to traditional media such as television, press or radio; the advancement of internet and social media has a major effect on how to socialize people.

      It is impossible to ignore the change that has taken place in the way we socialize, influenced by social media. Who have succeeded in changing the dynamics and behavior patterns of people in relation to interaction with others.

        Secondary socialization

        This second phase during the last stage of adolescence, After which the person begins in adulthood and puts into practice everything he has learned at home and in the educational context. In this subsequent socialization, the person (who already possesses previous social skills) joins other sectors of society, which allows him to learn new resources in other areas which are in principle unknown.

        Through this process, the person assimilates that there are other contexts and realities that differ from the known during primary socialization. In that case, university, labor agencies and political institutions and government powers exercise a strong power of socialization.

        In addition, unlike in primary socialization, in the secondary stage the person has a wide margin of action, in which he is free to decide how to act.

        Is there tertiary socialization?

        Indeed, there is a tertiary socialization, with the difference that instead of a stage, it is a different level of socialization in which people who have experienced a deviation from what is considered the social norm have the opportunity to reintegrate into society.

        These cases occur in people with criminal, criminal or punishable conduct; who, thanks to a process of re-socialization, readjust their behavior. In the latter case, the socializing agents are linked to the authorities and even to the prison.

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