(noun) The process of an individual or group learning the expected norms and customs of a group or society through social interaction.

Example: Children are socialized by their parents who teach them acceptable behaviors in certain social situations such as not talking in movies and respecting their elders.

Audio Pronunciation: (so·cial·i·za·tion)

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: socializations
  • Socialization typically relates to children, but socialization is continual as an individual or group adapts to other individuals or groups, roles, and situations.
  • Socialization can be intentional (anticipatory socialization) or unintentional and formal or informal.
  • Agents of socialization include family, mass media, peer groups, and schools.
  • Socialization is similar to enculturalization. The distinction between the two is socialization is learning societal norms, and enculturalization is learning cultural norms; however, neither process occurs independent of the other.  Socialization typically refers to children and is formal or deliberate, enculturalization typically refers to “people” in general and is informal.
  • Some sources list acculturation, enculturation, and socialization as synonyms, while these terms are similar and easily confused, they are not synonyms in an academic context.
  • Variant form: socialisation
  • People (verb) socialize themselves and others by (verb) socializing with other (noun) socializers in order to become (noun) socialized.
  • Socialization used in a sentence: Children begin the process of socialization the day they are born.

Related Quotations:

  • “The kind of person we become depends greatly on what we learn during our formative years from our surrounding social groups and social environment” (Kendall 2006:105).

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 



Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.