Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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The process by which values, norms, attitudes, and behavior, shared by the subjects who belong to a particular group, are transmitted to a new member. It is the process whereby people learn to conform to social norms, a process that makes possible an enduring society and the transmission of its culture and religion between generations.

Socialization therefore is the action by which a person becomes the member of a society, through a mechanism of interaction. It is a learning process whose purpose is to prepare individuals for the range of roles that they will interpret in the future. The primary stage involves the socialization of the young child in the family, the secondary stage involves the school, and the third stage is adult socialization. In the process of socialization, the attitudes and values of adult roles are acquired. Correct socialization is a normal operation by the social system designed to prevent any deviant behavior.

See also Religious Education

Luigi Tomasi


D. A. Goslin (ed.), Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1969)

A. Kerckhoff, Socialization and Social Class (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1972).

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