agents of socialization


Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Agents of socialization
  3. Positive and negative aspects of socialization
  4. Conclusion
  1. Introduction

How does a child learn to interact with others? Actually, when a child is born he begins to start interacting. He learns everything from his near ones. It means socialization has started. He starts to brush his teeth because he learned it from his parents. After that, he goes to school, which is one agent of socialization. There he meets with his classmates which is another example of an agent of socialization.

Socialization is the lifelong process of social interaction through which individuals acquire a self-identity and the physical, mental, and social skills needed for survival in society ( Kendall, 2008)

Anderson and Parker: “Socialization is a learning process of development of habits, attitudes, and traits that differentiate individuals from one another.”

 Lundberg, “Socialization is a process of interaction where the individual learns habits, skills, beliefs, and standard of judgments which are necessary for effective participation at social groups and communities.”

Macionis, J.J: “Socialization refers to the lifelong social experience by which people develop their human potential and learn culture”.

Agents of socialization

In general, Agents are people or groups of people involved in our socialization. There are some agents of socialization. These agents included;

  • Family
  • School
  • Peers
  • Religion
  • Media
  • Work


Family is considered the primary or most important agent of socialization.

We usually belong to the first human group that is our family. We learn basic behavior patterns from our parents by copying them. They provide us the values, norms, and beliefs.

We are blood-related to our parents, siblings, and grandparents and that’s why family is always perceived as the basic social unit.

Family is considered as the major or primary agent of socialization among others since every person is born in a family and brought up in a family before engaging with other activities like schooling in the society (Monnier, 2011).

agents of socialization of family

How family plays their role?

Our personality is formed in our first three years of life. We learn from mother, father siblings, grandparents, and plus members of an extended family. Our development happens physically, emotionally, and socially during this period.

The basic functions of the family.

  • The basic function of the family are:
  • Nurture and socialize the child
  • To ensure economic stability for child
  • Provide them care affection and adaptive functions

The family has a great impact on socialization. A child’s first relationship is formed by parents and other family members. From the first moment of life, a child depends on the family. In short, our direct interaction with our family teaches us how to show well-behaved in the outer world. What others expect from us.


School is the 2nd agent of socialization. Children spend most of their time in school. So, it is hard to deny the importance of school. It is the second agent in agents of socialization.

In schools, teachers are role models and leaders. Students not only learn to read and write but they learn social norms too. For example, when they participate in a game and are awarded in results, they learn about winners and losers. When they are required to work together they learn teamwork. Schools prepare children to function well in society.

Children also learn attracting by other staff and their classmates. This phase of socialization is also necessary for children to become productive members of their society.

 Schools are also a significant source of gender socialization, as even in this modern-day, teachers and curricula send out various messages that reinforce the qualities traditionally ascribed to females and males, and students engage in recess and other extracurricular activities that do the same thing (Booher-Jennings, 2008; Thorne, 1993).


Peer group is the 3rd agent of socialization. It is a social group. Its members have common interests and they are common in age. This group relates to school. Peers interact individual’s lifetime throughout the lifetime.

Children, at an early age, begin to interact with peer groups. They begin it from their neighborhood, daycare, or playgroup. Outside the realm of families, peer groups are children’s first agents of socialization.

Children form their own relationships and escape from direct supervision. They get a chance to share their interests about many things that they cannot share with their family members.

The process of peer group continues throughout children’s whole life. Although peer groups rank high in youngster’s priorities they should be balanced by parents. Parents should be aware of all activities done by friends.

At the age of 20s and 30s, we give less importance to peer groups, especially when we get married. But peers do not lose all-important because it gives us emotional and practical support for our continuing socialization. In short, peers keep importance in agents of socialization.


In the agents of socialization, religion comes at 4th. For many people, it is the most important avenue of socialization. There are formal and informal religious institutes where people go to worship and learn.

Children learn religious socialization by interacting with family members and peers. Our important ceremonies like marriage and birth are connected to religion.

The temporal ordering of contact with agents of socialization is clearly important. Parents’ initial inputs into religious preferences and ties help guide people’s interactions with other individuals and organizations (Myers 1996; Cornwall 1989; Sherkat 1998). 

Mass media:

5th agent of socialization is mass media. Mass media has become a powerful agent of socialization. We cannot deny its importance. Every person spends most of his time engaging with the media. Now, children have a great connection with mass media through mobiles.

Social media affects negatively and positively children’s life. The positive effects are better communication, timely information, and learning and enhancing skills etc. The negative effects include violence, bullying, and isolation, etc.


The workplace is the last agent of socialization. Like school, it also plays an important part in socialization. Adults spent much of their day time at their workplace as a child spends at school. This agent of socialization helps greatly for a person in order to groom his personality.

The research shows that when you think about a question about yourself. How to groom your personality? Our workplace gives us many answers: like dressing, communication skills, and our interpersonal skills, etc. so it has a great impact in socialization.

  • Positive and negative aspects of socialization

Now we can describe the positive and negative aspects of socialization

Positive aspects based on good social experiences, pleasurable learning, know about cultural norms, and grooming personality.

Negative aspects based on bad social experiences, adopting bad habits, too much interaction with mass media lead to loneliness.

  • Conclusion

We have direct interaction with our family and peers and social groups. They tell us about the expectation of society. Personality is also a thing that matters to judge you. So, how to groom your personality is a question for you.

Schools, religion, the workplace, and media teach us values and cultural norms.

Socialization continues all across the life span, as long as people continue to learn from social experiences.

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