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fraternity must socialize its freshmen recruits, the football team socializes its players, and society, in many direct and indirect ways, socializes its citizens. A socialized person is one who has been successfully made a member of his or her group, formal organization, community, and/or society. A socialized person controls himself or herself, but this self-control comes from learning society’s controls.

While there are exceptions from time to time—for the most part this socialization process expresses itself in grand visual examples.

At a crowed amusement park (such as Kings Island or CedarPoint) thousands of people wait patiently in long lines for up to an hour for a 1 to 3 minute ride. They do this again and again all day long.

In a large, crowed sporting event (such as a professional or college football game), people move into the event, sit, eat, and leave the event in a relatively orderly manner—within a minimum of anti-social behavior exhibited.

In a crowded, traffic commute in a major city (such as Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cincinnati, or Columbus), people travel at high rates of speed in close proximity with a minimum of “road rage.”  

In sociology, we do not focus on the exception--the unusual event(s)/case(s)---instead we identify the norm after reviewing hundreds, thousands, or even hundred of thousands of events/cases. So, while the news reports unusual events in sports rage and road rage from time to time—the typical event is rather orderly.  

An example of a person who was not raised in society was the boy of Aveyron (France 1797).

He did not have the ability to speak—only in cries and inarticulate sounds

Rejected all clothing

Could not distinguish real objects from pictures and mirrored objects

Did not weep

Durkheim captures well the meaning and importance of socialization. Society, he wrote, is able to exist only because it gets inside the human being, shaping our inner life, creating our conscience, our ideas, our values. Society’s rules become our own; its ways become ours. When people violate its rules, we are angered and seek to reaffirm its rules through punishment. … Because of socialization, our identities become embedded in and dependent on society.

Copyright © 2005 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Adult and Graduate Studies

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