1932

Abstract

Socialization is a key mechanism of social reproduction. Yet, like the functionalists who introduced the concept, socialization has fallen out of favor, critiqued for ignoring power and agency, for its teleology and incoherence, and for a misguided link to “culture of poverty” arguments. In this review, we argue for a renewed, postfunctionalist use of socialization. We review the concept's history, its high point under Parsons, the reasons for its demise, its continued use in some subfields (e.g., gender, race and ethnicity, education), and alternative concepts used to explain social reproduction. We then suggest that something is lost when socialization is avoided or isolated in particular subfields. Without socialization, conceptions of social reproduction face problems of history, power, and transferability. We close by outlining a postfunctionalist agenda for socialization research, providing a framework for a new theory of socialization, one that builds off of cognitive science, pragmatism, the study of language, the reinterrogation of values, and the development of ideology in political socialization.

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2021-07-31
2024-04-15
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