Difference Between Primary and Secondary Socialization

Key Difference – Primary vs Secondary Socialization
 

Let us first  gain a general idea of socialization, before looking at the difference between Primary and Secondary Socialization. Socialization refers to the process whereby an individual, mostly a child becomes socialized. This includes getting to know of one’s society and culture. It is through this that the child learns the attitudes, values, norms, mores, taboos and various social and cultural elements. When a child is born, he is unaware of the social and cultural elements. This is why it is necessary to socialize the child so that he becomes a member of the society. Socialization is mainly twofold. They are primary socialization and secondary socialization. Primary socialization refers to the process where the child becomes socialized through the family in the early childhood years. Secondary socialization begins where primary socialization ended. This includes the role played by other social agents such as education, peer groups, etc. This is the key difference between the two. Through this article let us examine the difference further.

What is Primary Socialization?

Primary socialization refers to the process where the child becomes socialized through the family in the early childhood years. This highlights that the key agent in the process of primary socialization is the family. Let us comprehend this through a simple example. A very young child in a family has little knowledge of his culture. He is unaware of the values, social norms, practices, etc. It is through the family that the child gets to know what is accepted and what is not in a particular society.

According to Talcott Parsons,two specific processes are conducted by the family when speaking of primary socialization . They are,

  1. Internalization of the society’s culture
  2. Structuring of the personality

Parsons states that the mere learning of one’s culture is insufficient as it can lead to the ceasing of the society. Instead, he proposes internalization of culture, which will assist in the continuity of one’s culture. Secondly, he explains that the personality of the child is molded in accordance to his culture and setting. In this sense, the family operates as a factory that produces the necessary type of personality. Now let us move on to secondary socialization.

Difference Between Primary and Secondary Socialization

What is Secondary Socialization?

Secondary socialization refers to the process that begins in the later years through agencies such as education and peer groups. This highlights that the time period in which primary socialization and secondary socialization occur differs from one another. When it comes to secondary socialization, the involvement of the family is less as other social agents or agencies take up the prominent role.

This can clearly be understood through the school. In the school setting the child gains a new experience, as the school works as a bridge between the family and the society. The child learns to be treated equally as others without the special attention that he received at home. He also learns to tolerate others and work with everyone. In this sense, the exposure that the child gains through secondary socialization is of closer proximity to the actual society.  This clearly highlights a difference between primary and secondary socialization. This can be summarized as follows.

Primary vs Secondary Socialization

What is the Difference Between Primary and Secondary Socialization?

Definitions of Primary and Secondary Socialization:

Primary Socialization: Primary socialization refers to the process where the child becomes socialized through the family in the early childhood years.

Secondary Socialization: Secondary socialization refers to the process that begins in the later years through agencies such as education and peer groups.

Characteristics of Primary and Secondary Socialization:

Social Agents

Primary Socialization: Family is the primary social agent.

Secondary Socialization: Education and peer groups are some examples for secondary social agents.

Role

Primary Socialization: The child is first socialized through Primary Socialization.

Secondary Socialization: In secondary socialization, the child is further socialized.

 

Image Courtesy:
1. “Lmspic” by Blackcatuk at en.wikipedia. [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons
2. Family drinking juice (2) By Bill Branson (Photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons