There are three different agencies of socialisation. The family, the education system and the media. These all have different roles in socialisation. The family effects people in their younger years, before they attend school. It teaches children the appropriate behaviour for their gender. A child’s behaviour is also influenced by how they observe their parents. Parents are influential in shaping basic values such as manners. Margnet Meed (1934) said parents are significant others who receive respect on their opinions and values from the children. Norms differ between families but the family teach children how to address family members, how and where to eat and sleep and the difference between good and bad behaviour. The roles in the family are quite limited and adults have more roles. There are also positive and negative sanctions in the family. These sanctions are informal in the family. Some positive sanctions include facial expressions, verbal approval and physical rewards.
Some negative sanctions include being grounded, smacked or disapproval through language. Bernstein suggested that there are differences in how we learn to use language based on the social class of our family and Haralambos and Holborn (2000) claimed that compared to working-class families, middle-class parents emphasise high achievement at school and reward success. Another agency of socialisation is the education system. This teaches us the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for later life. Jackson (1968) said hidden curriculum is things we learn from the experience of attending school, such as dealing with strangers. It teaches us the historic knowledge of our societies past and the geographic knowledge of our society and other societies. It also teaches us the values of our society. For example, getting good grades and qualifications and that we should work hard for those qualifications. Bowles and Gintis (2002) said there is a correspondent between school norms and work norms.
There are positive sanctions in the education system such as gaining grades and qualifications, prizes, praise and encouragement. Parsons (1961) (functionalist) claims that in families children are taught slightly different norms and values meaning some children may be allowed to do things others are not. Bowles and Gintis (1976) (Marxist) claims that schools teach children that the most intelligent get the best results. There are negative sanctions as well such as detention, exclusions, failure to achieve qualifications and having a bad reputation. The media is the third agency of socialisation. This agency is an unusual agency of socialisation and the relationship is impersonal. The media can expose their values onto us but it is uncertain as to what extent. The media is also very powerful in supporting or marginalising certain values. The norms of the media has a boundary. They can publicise acceptable and unacceptable forms of behaviour and they can also reinforce perceptions of expected behaviours.
Some positive sanctions of the media include celebrities such as Kate Middleton and Cheryl Cole, who are always shown at their best. Whereas the negative sanctions are very criticizing and show unflattering pictures. Potter (2003) suggested there’s short term effects of the media, such as learning about new ideas and places, imitation of things that we’ve seen on TV, such as styles of hair and clothes and desensitisation, where our emotional reaction to things such as violence and poverty is lowered because of the constant and repeated exposure. Potter (2003) also suggested there’s long term effects such as consumerism, where the repeated exposure of lifestyles and desirable consumer goods, suggests that happiness is something that can be bought.
Fear when the media show negative and violent events which may also lead to people overestimating things, and agenda-setting where the media can determine how things will be debated, for example, immigration. This all shows that the agencies of socialisation are very important in forming and shaping young people and that if these agencies are misused or used in a certain way, there will be consequences in how young people may act in their adult life. Not only does each agency effect the values, norms, roles, behaviour, knowledge and sanctions of people, but they also effect each other, for example, the media, if viewed too much or too seriously, may effect someone’s education as they may learn less or pay less attention, or the family as they may be rude to other family members, more disrespectful or they may be less social.