Adult Socialization Essay

Cheap Custom Writing Service

This Adult Socialization Essay example is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic please use our writing services. offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in.

Socialization refers to the process by which people learn and internalize the attitudes, values, beliefs, and norms of our culture and develop a sense of self. The concept of socialization is among the most important in sociology, because it attempts to illustrate and explain the tremendous impact living in society has on shaping the individual. The individual becomes a human being through socialization, and what it means to be an individual evolves over the life course.

Early sociological and psychological theories of socialization, largely reflecting cultural beliefs about development in the early twentieth century, focused on self and moral development up to what we today know as adolescence. Mead’s (1934) theory of the self, for example, posited three stages: infancy, play, and game stages. The final game stage occurs during adolescence when the individual is able to learn and respond to the community’s norms and standards and act accordingly in everyday life. Mead assumed that the socialized self acquired through adolescence generally remains stable throughout the remaining life span.

Symbolic interactionist thinkers following Mead have attempted to refine his theory to account for the apparent changes in the adult self-concept present in modern society. Shibutani (1961) adapted Merton and Kitt’s (1950) structural notion of reference group to interactionist thinking to illustrate how adults can be expected to be members of various groups which in turn serve as audiences to the self. In effect, the adult learns to be different selves to accommodate the multiple complex situations that mark modern life.

Adult Socialization in Everyday Life

Sociologists of everyday life contend that the process of becoming an adult in our society is rich, ongoing, and worthy of detailed ethnographic analysis. Studies of adult socialization are no longer limited to traditional elderly settings. Kotarba (2006), for example, explores the many ways baby boomers continue to use rock ‘n’ roll music and culture as resources for refining their sense of self as they occupy the role of parents, lovers, and others. They shape and modify the musical values they acquired during adolescence to fit the needs of later adulthood, so that they may continue to attend rock n’ roll music concerts but may prefer comfortable seating in the shade near the stage as opposed to more adventurous lawn seating.


  1. Kotarba, J. A. (2011) Baby Boomer Rock ‘n’ Roll Fans and the Becoming of Self. Ashgate, Burlington, VT.
  2. Mead, G. H. (1934) Mind, Self and Society. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.
  3. Merton, R. K. & Kitt, A. (1950) Contributions to the theory of reference group behavior. In: Merton, R. K. & Lazarsfeld, P. F. (eds.), Studies in the Scope and Method of ”The American Soldier.” Free Press, Glencoe, IL.
  4. Shibutani, T. (ed.) (1961), Society and Personality. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

See also:


Always on-time


100% Confidentiality

Special offer!