Socialization: What is it?

Socialization has several definitions and meanings given by various scholars and practitioners.

  1. Tylor (1871:32) one of the first scholars in this area gave a classical definition of socialization defining it as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief art, morals, law custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”.
  2. Yinger (1977), viewed socialization as an adaptive process. In this sense he saw it as a unique human attribute which people interpose in order to ensure their security and survival.
  3. More recently, Okpeh (2000:56) saw socialization as “a specific and concrete mechanism employed by a particular animal organization in adjusting to its environment”. He also saw it as essentially an adaptive mechanism which makes possible the satisfaction of human needs from both biological and social perspectives.


In considering these definitions, Dr. Schultz concludes that the creations of individuals and groups into what they now are, is the socialization of the society. In its broadest sense, socialization refers to the whole range of human activities which are created and learned and are transmitted from generation to generation through various learning processes. These learning processes may be experiences that are planned, unplanned, formal and informal.

Copyright 2019 Dr Carol Schultz

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