Introduction

Socialization is the general process by which the members of a cultural community or society pass on their language, rules, roles, and customary ways of thinking and behaving to the next generation. Sex role socialization is one important aspect of this general process. In common language, socialization means something like "learning to function in a social setting," as in "socialization of children in child care." This usage implies that the young children acquire social competence through the concerted efforts of adults, who carefully train and mold them to behave appropriately (thus we also speak of "puppy socialization"). In the social sciences, however, the meaning of "socialization" is more complex and does not carry the implication that children are simply the passive recipients or objects of the socialization process.

Rather, in recent years, concepts of socialization in general, and sex role socialization in particular, have been transformed along both theoretical and empirical dimensions. The theoretical aspect includes efforts to integrate social learning and cognitivist perspectives through a focus on self-socialization. Self-socialization can be defined as the process whereby children influence the direction and outcomes of their own development through selective attention, imitation, and participation in particular activities and modalities of interaction that function as key contexts of socialization. For example, many children prefer to observe and imitate same-gender models rather than the opposite gender, and to interact and participate in gender-typical activities. The empirical aspect of the reconceptualization of socialization thus involves a renewed focus on context. Whereas earlier studies of behavioral sex differences typically involved appraising individual behavioral dispositions across contexts, the new approach seeks ways to understand behavior within specific relational interactions and activity settings (e.g., the conversation of boys and girls in small or large groups) or in settings with children of mixed-age (e.g., in neighborhood games) versus the same age group (e.g., classmates at school).

Thus the goals of earlier work were to understand how, why, and at what age girls and boys begin to vary behaviorally along such dimensions as "nurturance," "aggression," and "dependency," including determination of how sex-typical dispositions are influenced by cultural factors. In contrast, the new approach seeks to answer such questions as the following. How are different kinds of gender-specific social behaviors called out or elicited by different contexts of socialization? How are gender differences influenced by children's relationship to their social companions—for example, their gender, age, status, and kinship relationship? How are gender differences influenced by different activity contexts (e.g., school, work, play) that we know are differentially distributed across cultural communities, depending on such factors as adult subsistence strategies, leisure patterns, family structures, household organizations, and forms of social networks? Finally, how are gender differences affected by where children are found, their location in space (e.g., distance from home)?

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

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