Socialization and Culture
Individual identity is shaped by two main factors, socialization, and culture. Explain how these two factors operate to produce identity.
Individual identity is defined as distinctive qualities of an individual through which he is recognized. It can also be referred to as distinctive characteristics that are shared by any social group or category. Identity makes one individual distinguished from others as each individual is given a distinct personality that becomes his identification in a society (Gomm, 2004). The concept of personal and individual identity and its dependence upon two main factors of socialization and culture instigates with the assumptions that there is a reciprocal and strong relationship between an individual and society. When one individual influences his society by his actions, then it results in the formation of organizations, groups, institutions, and network. At the same time, society also has an impact upon an individual when he can act in a society by shred language to perform his role and do social interaction. The sociological approach towards understanding the reciprocal relationship between self and society makes it clear that society keeps changing, reforming, and accepting new forms and patterns on a continuous basis (Crittenden & Claussen, 2003). The process of interpretations by an individual personality keeps evolving and developing his individual identity, which depends upon two main factors of socialization and culture. The nature of a self and what an individual does very much depend upon the society in which he lives. Culture and method of socialization mould one’s behavior, acts, personality, and identity that make either him distinctive or the group in which he prospers.
Society plays a vital role in shaping one’s identity, when an individual adopts different patterns of behavior and distinct levels of analysis. His experimental, analytic, and logical inclinations with variety of actions and interactions convey his identity to others. He acts according to what his society allows him to do. An individual is neither self construed nor his identity develops from within. Individual identity constructs based on social interactions and social structural and historical conditions help to form the personal identity. There is no doubt to say that personal identity is formed when the mind and body join or evolve interdependently , but it increases its brain capacity, undergoes structural and physical transformation when it interacts with the society. According to many researchers, individual identity forms when he recognizes himself from the perspectives of others.
Individual identity and Socialization
Socialization occurs when an individual undergoes his lifelong experiences, exploits his potentials, and learns the aspects of culture in which he lives (Kellner, 2003). It refers to a life-long process in which one disseminates and inherits norms, ideologies, and customs. Socialization gives an opportunity for someone to learn new habits and skills that are necessary to become a part of society. Furthermore, by the help of socialization one attains the cultural and social continuity and becomes a member of wide society. He fulfills his needs of social experiences and learns to survive in the culture. At individual level, he expresses his culture and moves far beyond the socialization of his family to the broader social networks. Socialization is a very multidimensional, complicated, and contradictory process with different forms and functions. The process of socialization produces one very important product named as “self” or personality. Personality is defined as the way one acts, behaves feels, and thinks. When an individual experiences and interacts in his life, then finally a distinctive and exclusive personality develops. (Fivush, 2008, pp. 49-58) When he moves in a society, he interacts and builds relationships that are not only durable, but variable also. In a dense network and broad structures of society with difference of cast, gender, race, and class one develops his experiences that make him a part of organized and differentiated groups and institutions (family, peer group, religion, economic systems, language, and mass media, learning). As a result, people who have multiple identities and relate to different social network, perform their roles in their social context. He produces the behavior that becomes the expression of his role as how he is likely to act in a given situation. Individual identity becomes the expectations of role as perceived by others. However, society has different individuals and identities but they all relate to same society and culture, sharing same norms and beliefs but acting differently.
Furthermore, he behaves in any way according to his perceptions and self-meanings to a situation. As a result, when one individual acts in a way then it means he has his own perceptions and meanings that reflect in his behavior and make him distinctive. From the point of view of socialization and its broad process, one starts to develop his identity even in childhood. Identity formation takes different forms in different stages of life (Curran & Saguy, 2013, pp. 54-77). For example, when a person is child, his socialization is dominated by his immediate family who teaches him about cultural scripts such as limitations of behavior and dependency level that are completely according to his age level. Then child emerges in a society as adolescent and views socialization process as more conflicting and diverse.
He learns institutional and non-institutional dimensions of socialization and responds to his broader and developed needs. The growing life coarse events, experiences, interactions, relationships result in the complication and implications of personality change. He acts according to what he perceives society and relationships as and then develops his identity. By socialization, he explores his own identity and tries out plenty of possibilities of life. At a certain stage, he becomes self-focus while at other stage he feels himself as to be instable. Different experiences that relate to his life and to the process of socialization keep affecting his identity. In the same process, he also learns how to behave and respond when he is in between age of his life. In a wide variety of situations and environments, he constructs his identity and the social world in which he lives. By socialization, which means exposure to learning environments, he becomes different and distinctive by his behavior, situations that society gives him, relationships that require him to act in a certain way (Macionis and Plummer, 2012). The reflexive process of socialization (learning and teaching) helps one to gain cultural and social characteristics and develop individual identity. The whole process influences his actions, beliefs, and behavior and shapes his identity in a society.
Individual identity and culture
Various factors influence the identity of an individual with some more observable and clear then others. Ethnicity and gender are obvious traits as compare to socialization and culture that act as the most contributing factors in shaping one’s identity. Individual identity is always defined in relation to other people (Back et.al, 2010, pp. 372-374). Culture is the combination of beliefs, practices, and values that are practices by a particular group. The way one dresses, acts, talks, behaves, reflects his culture, which also teaches him about the acceptable and normal behaviors. Identities are unique and specific for each person. Cultural and social forces shape one’s identity through, which he makes the judgment about himself and other members of a society. An individual either makes a judgment to shape his identity or exploits his strong and established sense that helps to reduce his identity confusion. Thus in every way, culture influences his individual identity. When an individual explores and identifies the cultural uniqueness, he also tries to understand the cultural diversity persistent all over the globe. As a result, it is important to accept the expression of culture, which helps in transmitting knowledge from one generation to the next.
In shaping a person’s identity, culture plays a vital role. A group of human being creates a certain ways of life that transmit from one generation to another. This creates a culture in which different ethnic group, community, and cultural group have their own beliefs, values, and the styles of living. The customs, histories, and shared values are the characteristics of culture that make the identity of an individual and shape the way he views the world, thinks, and behaves. A cultural heritage that the members of group share helps to bond them together and establishes a sense of belonging among them. As a result, community acceptance begins in which language helps as a tool towards communicating beliefs, values, and norms among each other and results in a social function. Language serves and conveys the shared values and traditions. An individual sense of identity is based by the cultural identity and the cultural group in which he grows and socializes. Personal identities derive from cultural conceptualizations as when an individual passes every relationship and statuses of life, he carries with them a set of cultural expectations and norms (Furze et.al, 2012). In the same way, when he moves from one culture to another, he adopts some new things and mixes them with what he has been learning from his old culture. Hence, throughout one’s life, he keeps developing cultural awareness that influences his identity and intellectual and physical abilities. His characteristics such as age cohort, race, gender, intellectual and physical abilities, and interaction of cultural and sub cultural factors such as religion, class, education, and occupation influences his unique identity. An individual cannot move alone in a society to fulfill his social needs, but he can only survive by linking to the members of society through the process of socialization, reflecting his culture. However, he has his own identity in society but he is not distinct from others.
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