insights into socialization provided by Charles Horton Cooley, George Herbert Mead, and Jean Piaget,
Insights into Socialization
Insights into Socialization
Evidence from various studies has demonstrated that no single person born with inherent knowledge about either oneself or others (Henslin & Nelson, 2000). Thus, the experience that gets from the society is responsible for creating the personal identity of the concerned individual. After birth, people are exposed to various activities in the society that enable them to learn the necessities of becoming somebody, and consequently, they become members of a given human community through social interaction, language and other means of human contact. The development [process that human undertake towards becoming members of a given human community has been studied by different scholars of sociology at different times (Henslin & Nelson, 2000). Therefore, this essay will present a comparison of insights into socialization as provided by Charles Horton Cooley, George Herbert Mead, and Jean Piaget. Also, provide a suggestion on the preferred theorists in explaining insights into the development of the self.
Through the theory of “looking-glass self,” Cooley provides insights into various factors that he believed they constitute a person’s self. He observed that one’s character, as well as the self, grew from personal interactions with others in the community. People view themselves according to the perceptions, impressions and personal qualities provided others. That is, the way people view themselves is determined by the belief and assumptions of how they are viewed by other members of the community (Henslin & Nelson, 2000). Cooley made use a process of three steps to explaining development process that people go through to attain the desired state of self. The first step entails the imagination of the way the significant other perceives us. Step two involves the imagination that the significant other can make the judgment based on the stated perception. The third step involves the individual’s ability to form a self-image characterized by the thought developed from the belief of how the significant other sees him or her.
Therefore, the ability of people to shape their self-concept is determined by their general understanding of how the significant other perceives them. People form their self-image to reflect their evaluation and response emanating from others members of the society. For instance, parents and other family members play a big role in raising up a child. If they look at a child as being smart, they will place a certain level of expectation in a child. Therefore, the child will grow and develop believing that he or she is smart. As a result, people change their behavior by their belief of how people view them the society.
The other contribution to the field of sociology is the theory of self, presented by Mead. Through the theory, Mead proposed the individual’s sense of self as an activity that emerges from the social setting surrounding the person. Therefore, individual selves of people are as a result of social interaction, and not a product of biological and logical preconditions of the interactions. Since, the sense of self is only realized when an individual starts interacting with the significant others and it’s absent from the individual’s birth. The self-theory proposes three activities believed to contribute towards an individual’s development process. The activities are play, language, and game.
The three activities play a different but very important role during the development of self. For instance, language enables the individual to acquire roles of the other as well as allowing people to offer a response to the individual’s gestures based on their symbolized attitudes. Also, the activity of play allows individuals to take up the roles of others by pretending to be those individuals as a way of expressing the expectations of the significant others. Mead observed the significance of role playing in developing the sense of self-consciousness as well as a general development of the self. On another hand, the game requires individuals to internalize and memorize the different roles played by others as well as comprehending the rules governing the game. Also, formulation of the ‘me’ and the ‘I’ reveals the connection between human mind the social surrounding. As a result, the three activities provide the process by individuals interact and develop their sense of self, to become useful members of the community by internalizing different rules of the game.
Also, the research conducted by Piaget identified four stages that children go through during the development of cognitive skills. The first stage is sensorimotor and comprises of children of not more than two years. Children in the sensorimotor begin to learn through senses as well as moving around. Also, children develop the sense of object permanence by recognizing the ability of the object to exist even it is out of sight. The second stage is a preoperative period, and it is comprised of children between 2 to 7 years. The stage witnesses the children’s ability to develop their symbolic thoughts but is unable to reason out various physical features defining objects in the environment.
There are other stages of human development that make Piaget’s theory gain more relevance than those presented by Cooley and Mead. For instance, the stage of concrete operational provides insight into the ability of the children, between 7 to 11 years, to think logically about various events and objects in life. Children can perform operations on real events and tangible objects. The final stage of cognitive development starts from the age of 11 years up to the entire adulthood of individuals. Piaget identified this stage as formal operational period, as it enables individuals to apply mental operations to different abstract concepts. That is, individuals are capable of reasoning and imagining on various hypothetical situations, the future as well as ideological problems. In conclusion, the Piaget’s theory on the development of cognitive skills provides a clear understanding of individual’s development from birth to adulthood, making it more relevant to the study of self.
Henslin, J. M., & Nelson, A. (2000). Essentials of sociology: A down-to-earth approach.