At birth the human child possesses the potentialities of becoming human. The child becomes a man or a person through a variety of experiences. He becomes then what the sociologist calls ‘socialised’.
Socialisation means the process whereby an individual becomes a functioning member of the society. The individual becomes socialised by learning the rules and practices of social groups. By this process the individual develops a personality of his own. Man is man because he shares with others a common culture. Culture includes not only its living members but also members of past generations and those as yet unborn. Sociologists have given more importance to socialisation because man is a cultural being. Socialisation is often referred to as the ‘transmission of culture the process whereby men learn the rules and practices of social groups. Socialisation is an aspect of all activity within all human societies.
Just as we learn a game by playing it, so we learn life by engaging in it. We are socialised in the course of the activities themselves. For example, if we do not know correct manners, we learn them through the mistakes that we make and the disapproval that others exhibit. We may learn the ways of behaviour through imitation and purposeful training. Education – purposeful instruction – is thus only a part of the socialisation process. It is not, and can never be, the whole of that process. Definition: (i) Bogardus: Socialisation is the “process of working together, of developing group responsibility, or being guided by the welfare needs of others”.
(ii) W.F. Ogburn: “Socialisation is the process by which the individual learns to conform to the norms of the group”. (iii) Peter Worsley explains socialisation as the process of “transmission of culture, the process whereby men learn the rules and practices of social groups”. (iv) Harry M. Johnson understands socialisation as “learning that enables the learner to perform social roles”. He further says that it is a “process by which individuals acquire the already existing culture of groups they come into”.
(v) Lundberg says that socialisation consists of the “complex processes of interaction through which the individual learns the habits, beliefs, skills and standards of judgment that are necessary for his effective participation in social groups and communities”.