Harper College Criminal Justice Paper


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Write a sociological autobiography of your life, with special emphasis on your socialization process. Use C. Wright Mills sociological imagination to view yourself as an outsider might. According to sociologist C. Wright Mills, people usually see the world through the limited experience of family, relatives, friends, and fellow workers. This viewpoint places blinders on our view of the wider society. The sociological imagination allows us to escape from this cramped personal vision and to see the link between personal and social events. The sociological imagination helps us see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society.  It allows us to understand how seemingly personal troubles may be related to the larger social context of public issues. Developing our own sociological imagination requires that we take into account perspectives of people from diverse backgrounds.

Notice: Students are to respond to all the listed questions below in a thoughtful and complete manner. Answers without depth will receive a very low grade. Do not use the same example multiple times. Your effort can be seen through what you submit.

Write each question down and provide a response underneath it or you can copy and paste the questions in Q & A format. Repeat the process until you’ve responded to all 12 questions.  

  1. Who am I? Describe yourself, place of birth, family, ancestry, and anything you feel comfortable sharing.
  2. Identify and describe major agents of socialization in your life during formative years (read the textbooks about agents of socialization).
  3. Family – describe in detail how your family was a major source of your socialization.
  4. School – describe in detail how school was a major source of your socialization.
  5. Peers – describe in detail how peers were a major source of your socialization.
  6. Media – describe in detail how media was a major source of your socialization.
  7. Describe the significant others in your life 
  8. Describe some of the earliest messages about yourself that you internalized from your significant others (formative years not present).
  9. Describe the most important cultural and social values that were transmitted to you by your family and peers.
  10. Describe what you believe to be the most important values that you want to transmit to your own family.
  11. Describe the generalized others in your life and explain their impact on your self-image and goals in life
  12. Describe some of the things you learned through the “hidden” curriculum during your elementary and secondary school years.
  13. Describe how the hidden curriculum has impacted your college education.
  14. Explain how your race and ethnicity has influenced your perspective on life in general.
  15. Explain your interaction with friends from other racial/ethnic groups. Provide a friend’s ethnicity and do not offer vague or general explanations.
  16. Add additional information about yourself and experiences
  17. Create a works cited page if you use material from any other source to support your answers to questions 1-12.

Notice: If you use a source from the library, textbook, and other online venues make sure to document it under your works cited page. See question #13.

Definition of terms

Socialization is the lifelong process through which individuals acquire a self identity and the physical, mental, and social skills needed for survival in society.  Socialization is essential for the individual’s survival and for human development; it also is essential for the survival and stability of society.

People are the product of two forces: heredity and social environment. Most sociologists agree that while biology dictates our physical makeup, the social environment largely determines how we develop and act.

Humans need social contact to develop properly.  Cases of isolated children have shown that individuals who are isolated during their formative years fail to develop their full emotional and intellectual capacities and that social contact is essential in developing a self, or self concept.

The basic assumption in Freud’s psychoanalytic approach is that human behavior and personality originate from unconscious forces within individuals.

Piaget believed that in each stage of human development, children’s activities are governed by their perception of the world around them.

Using Piaget’s theories, Kohlberg classified the development of moral reasoning in children.

Gilligan, a critic of Kohlberg, has pointed out the differences in the moral development of males and females due to gender socialization.

Cooley developed the idea of the looking glass self to explain how people see themselves through the perceptions of others.

Mead linked the idea of self concept to role taking and to learning the rules of social interaction.  When children do not have a positive environment in which to develop a positive self concept, it becomes difficult to form a healthy social self.

Significant others are those persons whose care, affection, and approval are especially desired and who are most important in the development of the self.

The generalized other refers to the child’s awareness of the demands and expectations of the society as a whole or of the child’s subculture.

The symbolic interactionist approach emphasizes that socialization is a collective process in which children are active and creative agents, not passive recipients of the socialization process.

According to sociologists, agents of socialization – including families, schools, peer groups, the media, and workplace – influence us in   what we need to know in order to participate in society.

Social class, gender, and race are all determining factors in the life long socialization process.

We learn knowledge and skills for future roles through anticipatory socialization.  Resocialization – the process of learning new attitudes, values, and behaviors, voluntarily or involuntarily – sometimes takes place in total institutions.

As we approach the twenty first century, we must note that the family is likely to remain the most important agent of socialization.  Experts predict that those with access to information technology will not only better learn about the past but would also acquire the knowledge and skills to think about the future in a practical manner.

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