Process, beginning in childhood, by which a person becomes a member of a society, learning its norms, customs, laws, and ways of living. The main agents of socialization are the family, school, peer groups, work, religion, and the mass media. The main methods of socialization are direct instruction, rewards and punishment, imitation, experimentation, role play, and interaction.
Some agents of socialization, such as the family and the peer group, may conflict with each other, offering alternative goals, values, and styles of behaviour. Socialization is of particular interest to psychologists, anthropologists, and sociologists, but there are diverse opinions about its methods and effects.
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