CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION 63 d CHAPTER 4 CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION h e I T li R b Activity 1 s E u How do you greet another person in I NTRODUCTION C p your ‘culture’? Do you greet different ‘Culture’, like ‘society’, is a term used kinds of persons (friends, older frequently and sometimes vaguely. relatives, the other gender, people N re This chapter is meant to help us define from other groups) differently? it more precisely and to appreciate its different aspects. In everyday Discuss any awkward experience © e conversation, culture is confined to the you may have had when you did not arts, or alludes to the way of life of know how you should greet a certain classes or even countries. person. Is that because you did not b Sociologists and anthropologists study share a common ‘culture’? But next the social contexts within which culture time round you will know what to exists. They take culture apart to try to do. Your cultural knowledge thereby and understand the relations between expands and rearranges itself. its various aspects. Just like you need a map to t navigate over unknown space or constantly being added, deleted, expanded, shrunk and rearranged. o territory, you need culture to conduct or behave yourself in society. Culture This makes cultures dynamic as functioning units. n is the common understanding, which is learnt and developed through social The capacity of individuals to interaction with others in society. A develop a common understanding with common understanding within a group others and to draw the same meanings demarcates it from others and gives it from signs and symbols is what an identity. But cultures are never distinguishes humans from other finished products. They are always animals. Creating meaning is a social changing and evolving. Elements are virtue as we learn it in the company of 64 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY others in families, groups and social set up like in villages, towns and communities. We learn the use of tools cities. In different environments, people and techniques as well as the non- adapt different strategies to cope with material signs and symbols through the natural and social conditions. This interaction with family members, leads to the emergence of diverse ways friends and colleagues in different of life or cultures. d social settings. Much of this knowledge Disparities in coping mechanisms e is systematically described and were evident during the devastating conveyed either orally or through tsunami of 26 December 2004, which h books. affected some parts of the Tamil Nadu For example, notice the interaction and Kerala coast as well as the Andaman T li s below. Notice how words and facial and Nicobar Islands in India. People on expressions convey meaning in a the mainland and islands are integrated R b conversation. into a relatively modern way of life. The E u Commuter asks autodriver: “Indiranagar?” The verb that conveys the question — “Bartheera?” or “Will you come?” — is implied in the arch of the eyebrow. Driver C p jerks his head in the direction of the back seat if the answer is “Yes”. If it is “No” (which is more likely the case as every true blue Bangalorean knows) he might N re just drive away or grimace as if he has heard a bad word or shake his head with a smile that seems to suggest a “Sorry”, all depending on the mood of the moment. © e This learning prepares us for fisherfolk and the service personnel in the carrying out our roles and islands were caught unaware and responsibilities in society. You have suffered large scale devastation and b already dealt with status and roles. much loss of life. On the other hand, the What we learn in the family is primary ‘primitive’ tribal communities in the to socialisation, while that which happens islands like the Onges, Jarawas, Great in school and other institutions are Andamanese or Shompens who had no secondary socialisation. We shall access to modern science and technology, t discuss this in greater detail later in this foresaw the calamity based on their chapter. experiential knowledge and saved o themselves by moving on to higher II ground. This shows that having access n to modern science and technology does DIVERSE SETTINGS, DIFFERENT CULTURES not make modern cultures superior to Humans live in a variety of natural the tribal cultures of the islands. Hence, settings like in the mountains and cultures cannot be ranked but can be plains, in forests and clear lands, in judged adequate or inadequate in deserts and river valleys, in islands and terms of their ability to cope with the main lands. They also inhabit different strains imposed by nature. CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION 65 e d T li s h R b E u C p N re © e b t to no Discuss how natural settings affect culture 66 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY habits acquired by man as a member Activity 2 of society” (Tylor 1871). Find out from at least one region other than your own how natural environment affects food habits, d patterns of dwelling, clothing and e the ways in which God or gods are worshipped. Defining Culture T li Often the term ‘culture’ is used to refer s h R b to the acquiring of refined taste in classical music, dance forms, painting. E u This refined taste was thought to distinguish people from the ‘uncul- C p tured’ masses, even concerning Discuss how the visual captures a way of life something we would today see as N re individual, like the preference for coffee Two generations later, the founder over tea! of the “functional school” of anthro- By contrast, the sociologist looks at pology, Bronislaw Malinowski of © e culture not as something that Poland (1884-1942) wrote: “Culture distinguishes individuals, but as a way comprises inherited artifacts, goods, of life in which all members of society technical process, ideas, habits and b values” (Malinowski 1931:621-46). Activity 3 Clifford Geertz suggested that we to look at human actions in the same way Identify equivalents in Indian as we look at words in a book, and see languages for the word culture. them as conveying a message. “… Man What associations do these carry? t is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun. I take o participate. Every social organisation culture to be those webs…”.The search develops a culture of its own. One early is not for a causal explanation, but for n anthropological definition of culture an interpretative one, that is in search comes from the British scholar Edward for meaning (Geertz 1973:5). Likewise Tylor: “Culture or civilisation taken in Leslie White had placed a comparable its wide ethnographic sense, is that emphasis on culture as a means of complex whole which includes adding meaning to objective reality, knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, using the example of people regarding custom and any other capabilities and water from a particular source as holy. CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION 67 ´ Do you notice anything in The multiple definitions of culture Malinowski’s definition that is in anthropological studies led Alfred missing in Tylor’s? Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn (anthropologists from the United Apart from his mention of art, all the States) to publish a comprehensive things listed by Tylor are non-material. survey entitled Culture: A Critical d This is not because Tylor himself never Review of Concepts and Definitions in looked at material culture. He was in e 1952. A sample of the various fact a museum curator, and most of his definitions is presented below. anthropological writing was based on h ´ Try comparing these definitions to the examination of artifacts and tools see which of these or which T li s from societies across the world, which combination of these you find most he had never visited. We can now see satisfactory. R b his definition of culture as an attempt You may first find yourself noticing to take into account its intangible and words which recur–‘way’, ‘learn’ and E u abstract dimensions, so as to acquire a ‘behaviour’. However, if you then look comprehensive understanding of the at how each is used, you may be struck C p societies he was studying. Malinowski by the shifts in emphasis. The first happened to be stranded on an island phrase refers to mental ways but the N re in the Western Pacific during the First second to the total way of life. World War, and discovered thereby the Definitions (d), (e) and (f) lay stress on value of remaining for an extended culture as what is shared and passed period with the society one was © e on among a group and down the studying. This led to the establishment generations. The last two phrases are of the tradition of “field work” you will the first to refer to culture as a means b read about it in Chapter 5. of directing behaviour. to Culture is… (a) a way of thinking, feeling, believing. t (b) the total way of life of a people. o (c) an abstraction from behaviour. (d) learned behaviour. n (e) a storehouse of pooled learning. (f) the social legacy the individual acquires from his group. (g) a set of standardised orientations to recurrent problems. (h) a mechanism for the normative regulation of behaviour. 68 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY Make a list of phrases you have It may have occurred to you that heard containing the word ‘culture’. our understanding of material culture, Ask your friends and family what they especially art, is incomplete without mean by culture? What criteria do they knowledge acquired from the cognitive use to distinguish among cultures? and normative areas. It is true that our developing understanding of social d Activity 4 process would draw upon all these e Compare these definitions to see areas. But we might find that in a community where few have acquired h which of these (or combination of these) you find most satisfactory. the cognitive skill of literacy, it in fact T li s becomes the norm for private letters to You could do this by listing familiar be read out by a third party. But as we uses of the word ‘culture’ (the R b see below, to focus on each of these culture of eighteenth century areas separately provides many Lucknow, the culture of hospitality E u important insights. or the much used term ‘Western culture’...). Which of the definitions Cognitive Aspects of Culture C p best captures the impressions conveyed by each? The cognitive aspects of one’s own N re culture are harder to recognise than its material aspects (which are tangible or Dimensions of Culture visible or audible) and its normative © e Three dimensions of culture have been aspects (which are explicitly stated). distinguished : Cognition refers to understanding, how (i) Cognitive: This refers to how we we make sense of all the information b learn to process what we hear or coming to us from our environment. In see, so as to give it meaning literate societies ideas are transcribed to (identifying the ring of a cell-phone in books and documents and as ours, recognising the cartoon of preserved in libraries, instititutions or a politician). archives. But in non-literate societies legend or lore is committed to memory t (ii) Normative: This refers to rules of conduct (not opening other and transmitted orally. There are o people’s letters, performing rituals specialist practitioners of oral tradition at death). who are trained to remember and n (iii) Material: This includes any activity narrate during ritual or festive occasions. made possible by means of Let us think about how writing materials. Materials also include may affect the production and tools or machines. Examples consumption of art. In his influential include internet ‘chatting’, using book, Orality and Literacy Walter Ong rice-flour paste to design kolam on cites a study of 1971 that states that floors. only 78 of the approximately 3,000 CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION 69 existing languages possess a different contexts. We most often follow literature. Ong suggests that material social norms because we are used to that is not written down has certain doing it, as a result of socialisation. All specific characteristics. There is a lot social norms are accompanied by of repetition of words, to make it sanctions that promote conformity. We simpler to remember. The audience of have already discussed social control d an oral performance is likely to be in Chapter 2 . e more receptive and involved than While norms are implicit rules, would be readers of a written text from laws are explicit rules. Pierre h an unfamiliar culture. Texts become Bourdieu, the French sociologist has more elaborate when they are written. reminded us that when we try to T li s In societies like ours historically understand another culture’s norms, literacy has been made available only we must remember that there are R b to the more privileged. Sociological certain implicit understandings. For studies are often concerned with example, if a person wants to show E u investigating how literacy can be made gratitude for something s/he has been relevant to the lives of people whose given, s/he should not offer a return- C p families have never gone to school. This gift too quickly, or it seems like an can lead to unexpected responses, like attempt to get rid of a debt, not a N re a vegetable-seller who asked why he friendly gesture. needed to know the alphabet when he A law is a formal sanction defined could mentally calculate what his by government as a rule or principle © e customers owed him? that its citizens must follow. Laws are The contemporary world allows us explicit. They are applicable to the to rely far more on written, audio and whole society. And a violation of the b visual records. Yet students of Indian law attracts penalties and punishment. classical music are still discouraged If in your home children are not from writing down what they learn to allowed to stay outdoors after rather than carrying it in their memory. sundown, that is a norm. It is specific We still do not know enough about the to your family and may not be impact of the electronic media, of applicable to all families. However, if t multiple channels, of instant accessing you are caught stealing a gold necklace o and surfing. Do you think these new from someone else’s home, you have forms impact our attention span and violated the universally accepted law n cognitive culture? of private property and can be sent to jail after trial as punishment. Normative Aspects of Culture Laws, which derive from the The normative dimension consists of authority of the State are the most folkways, mores, customs, conven- formal definitions of acceptable tions and laws. These are values or behaviour. While different schools may rules that guide social behaviour in establish different norms for students, 70 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY laws would apply to all those accepting norms. This can give rise to a situation the authority of the State. Unlike laws, of culture lag when the non-material norms can vary according to status. dimensions are unable to match the Dominant sections of society apply advances of technology. dominant norms. Often these norms are discriminating. For example norms that Culture and Identity d did not allow dalits from drinking water Identities are not inherited but e from the same vessel or even source. Or fashioned both by the individual and women from moving freely in the public the group through their relationship h sphere. with others. For the individual the T li s social roles that s/he plays imparts Material Aspects of Culture identity. Every person in modern R b The material aspect refers to tools, society plays multiple roles. For technologies, machines, buildings and instance within the family s/he may be E u modes of transportation, as well as a parent or a child but for each of the instruments of production and specific roles there are particular communication. In urban areas the responsibilities and powers. C p widespread use of mobile phones, It is not sufficient to enact roles. music systems, cars and buses, ATMs They also have to be recognised and N re (automated teller machines), refri- acknowledged. This can often be done gerators and computers in everyday life through the recognition of the indicates the dependence on particular language that is used among © e technology. Even in rural areas the use role players. Students in schools have of transistor radios or electric motor their own way of referring to their pumps for lifting water from below the teachers, other students, class b surface for irrigation demonstrates the performances. By creating this adoption of technological devices for language which also serves as a code, to increasing production. they create their own world of meanings In sum there are two principal and significances. Similarly, women are dimensions of culture: material and also known to create their own t non-material. While the cognitive and language and through it their own normative aspects are non-material, the private space beyond the control of men o material dimension is crucial to especially when they congregate at the increase production and enhance pond to bathe in rural areas or across n the quality of life. For integrated washing lines on rooftops in urban functioning of a culture the material areas. and non-material dimensions must In a culture there can be many sub- work together. But when the material cultures, like that of the elite and or technological dimensions change working class youth. Sub-cultures are rapidly, the non-material aspects can marked by style, taste and association. lag behind in terms of values and Particular sub-cultures are identifiable CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION 71 by their speech, dress codes, preference cultural values projected as the for particular kind of music or the standard or norm are considered manner in which they interact with their superior to that of the beliefs and values group members. of other cultures. We have seen in Sub-cultural groups can also Chapter 1 and in Chapter 3 (particularly function as cohesive units which impart in the discussion on religion) how d an identity to all group members. sociology is an empirical and not a e Within such groups there can be leaders normative discipline. and followers but group members are Underlying ethnocentric compari- h bound by the purpose of the group and sons is a sense of cultural superiority work together to achieve their clearly demonstrated in colonial T li s objectives. For instance young situations. Thomas Babbington members of a neighbourhood can form Macaulay’s famous Minute on R b a club to engage themselves in sports Education (1835) to the East India and other constructive activities. Such Company in India exemplifies E u activities create a positive image of the ethnocentrism when he says, ‘We must members in the locality and this gives at present do our best to form a class C p the members not only a positive self- who may be interpreters between us and image but also inspires them to perform the millions whom we govern, a class of N re better in their activities. The orientation persons Indian in blood and colour but of their identity as a group undergoes English in tastes, in opinions, morals a transformation. The group is able to and intellect’ (quoted in Mukherji 1948/ © e differentiate itself from other groups 1979:87), (emphasis added). and thereby create its own identity Ethnocentrism is the opposite of through the acceptance and cosmopolitanism, which values other b recognition of the neighbourhood. cultures for their difference. A cosmopolitan outlook does not seek to to Activity 5 evaluate the values and beliefs of other people according to one’s own. It Are you aware of any sub-cultural celebrates and accommodates different group in your locality? How are you cultural propensities within its fold and t able to identify them? promotes cultural exchange and o borrowings to enrich one’s own culture. Ethnocentrism The English language has emerged as n It is only when cultures come into a leading vehicle of international contact with one another that the communication through its constant question of ethnocentrism arises. inclusion of foreign words into its Ethnocentrism is the application of vocabulary. Again the popularity of one’s own cultural values in evaluating Hindi film music can be attributed to the behaviour and beliefs of people from its borrowings from western pop music other cultures. This means that the as well as from different traditions of 72 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY Indian folk and semi-classical forms Cultural Change like the bhangra and ghazal. Cultural change is the way in which A modern society is appreciative of societies change their patterns of cultural difference and does not close culture. The impetus for change can be its doors to cultural influences from internal or external. In regard to d abroad. But such influences are internal causes, for instance, new always incorporated in a distinctive methods of farming or agriculture can e way, which can combine with elements boost agricultural production, which of indigenous culture. The English can transform the nature of food h language despite its foreign inclusions consumption and quality of life of an T li s does not become a separate language, agrarian community. On the other nor does Hindi film music lose its hand external intervention in the form R b character through borrowings. The of conquest or colonisation can also absorption of diverse styles, forms, affect deep seated changes in the E u sounds and artifacts provides an cultural practices and behaviour of a identity to a cosmopolitan culture. In society. C p a global world where modern means of Cultural change can occur through communication are shrinking changes in the natural environment, N re distances between cultures, a contact with other cultures or cosmopolitan outlook allows diverse processes of adaptation. Changes in influences to enrich one’s own culture. the natural environment or ecology can © e Notice the words in the box. Have you heard or used these words in your conversations? b ‘Hinglish’ may soon conquer the world to Some of the Hinglish words in vogue include airdash (travel by air), chaddis (underpants), chai (Indian tea), crore (10 million), dacoit (thief), t desi (local), dicky (boot), gora (white person), jungli (uncouth), lakh (100,000), lampat (thug), optical (spectacles), prepone (bring forward), o stepney (spare tyre) and would-be (fiancé or fiancée). Hinglish contains many words and phrases that Britons or Americans may not easily n understand, according to a report... Some are archaic, relics of the Raj, such as ‘pukka’. Others are newly coined, such as ‘time-pass’, meaning an activity that helps kill time. India’s success in attracting business has recently produced a new verb. Those whose jobs are outsourced to India are said to have been ‘Bangalored’. CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION 73 drastically alter the way of life of a III people. When forest dwelling communities are deprived of access to SOCIALISATION the forest and its produce either I believe that a complete life is because of legal restrictions or due to inclusive of everything around us : plants, cattle, guests, feasts, d its decimation, it can have disastrous effects on the dwellers and their way of festivals, quarrels, friendship, e companionship, discrimination, life. Tribal communities in North East scorn. All these and more were India as well as in middle India have h present in one single place, my been the worst affected by the loss of home. Although life sometimes T li s forest resources. appeared complicated then, I now Along with evolutionary change understand how consummate it R b there can also be revolutionary change. was. It is thanks to such a childhood, perhaps, that if I get just When a culture is transformed rapidly a glimpse of someone’s suffering, I E u and its values and meaning systems feel I can comprehend the whole of undergo a radical change then it (Vaidehi 1945). C p revolutionary change takes place. Revolutionary change can be initiated At the time of birth, the human infant N re through political intervention, knows nothing about what we call technological innovation or ecological society or social behaviour. Yet as the transformation. The French Revolution child grows up, s/he keeps learning not © e (1789) transformed French society by just about the physical world, but about destroying the estate system of ranking, what it means to be a good or bad abolishing the monarchy, and girl/boy. S/he knows what kind of b inculcating the values of liberty, behaviour will be applauded and, what equality and fraternity among its kind will be disapproved. Socialisation can be defined as the process whereby to citizens. When a different under- standing comes to prevail, culture the helpless infant gradually becomes a change occurs. Recent years have seen self-aware, knowledgeable person, skilled in the ways of the culture into t an amazing expansion of the media, which s/he is born. Indeed without both electronic and print. Do you think o socialisation an individual would not the media has brought about an behave like a human being. Many of you evolutionary or revolutionary change? n will be familiar with the story of the We are familiar with the various ‘Wolf-children of Midnapore’. Two dimensions of culture now. To return small girls were reportedly found in a to the point we started with in Chapter wolf den in Bengal in 1920. They walked 1 about the interplay between the on all four like animals, preferred a diet individual and society, we now move on of raw meat, howled like wolves and to the concept of socialisation. lacked any form of speech. Interestingly 74 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY such incidents have been reported from how the process of socialisation takes other parts of the world too. place. A child, in the first instance, is a We have so far been talking about member of a family. But s/he is also a socialisation and the new-born infant. member of a larger kin-group (biradari, But the birth of a child also alters the khaandaan, a clan etc.) consisting of lives of those who are responsible for brothers, sisters and other relatives of d its upbringing. They too undergo new the parents. The family into which e learning experiences. Becoming s/he is born may be a nuclear or grandparents and parenting involves a extended family. It is also a member of h whole set of activities and experiences. a larger society such as a tribe or sub- Older people still remain parents when caste, a clan or a biradari, a religious T li s they become grandparents, of course, and linguistic group. Membership of thus forging another set of relationships these groups and institutions imposes R b connecting different generations with certain behavioural norms and values each other. Likewise the life of a young on each member. Corresponding to E u these memberships there are roles that child changes with the birth of a sibling. Socialisation is a life-long process even are performed, e.g. that of a son, a C p daughter, a grandchild or a student. though the most critical process These are multiple roles, which are happens in the early years, the stage of performed simultaneously. The process N re primary socialisation. Secondary of learning the norms, attitudes, values socialisation as we saw extends over the or behavioural patterns of these groups entire life of a person. begins early in life and continues © e While socialisation has an throughout one’s life. important impact on individuals it is The norms and values may differ not a kind of ‘cultural programming’, within a society in different families b in which the child absorbs passively the belonging to different castes, regions or influences with which he or she comes social classes or religious groups to into contact. Even the most recent new- according to whether one lives in a born can assert her/his will. S/he will village or a city or one belongs to a tribe cry when hungry. And keep crying until and if to a tribe, to which tribe. Indeed t those responsible for the infant’s care the very language that one speaks respond. You may have seen how depends on the region one comes from. o normal, everyday schedules of the Whether the language is closer to a family get completely reorganised with spoken dialect or to a standardised n the birth of a child. written form depends on the family and You have already been introduced the socio-economic and cultural profile to the concepts of status/role, social of the family. control, groups and social strati- fication. You are also acquainted with Agencies of Socialisation what culture, norms and values are. All The child is socialised by several these concepts will help us understand agencies and institutions in which CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION 75 s/he participates, viz. family, school, peer Families have varying ‘locations’ group, neighbourhood, occupational within the overall institutions of a group and by social class/caste, society. In most traditional societies, the region, religion. family into which a person is born largely determines the individual’s Family social position for the rest of his/her life. d Since family systems vary widely, the Even when social position is not e infants’ experiences are by no means inherited at birth in this way the region standard across cultures. While many and social class of the family into h of you may be living in what is termed which an individual is born affect T li s a nuclear family with your parents and patterns of socialisation quite sharply. siblings, others may be living with Children pick up ways of behaviour characteristic of their parents or others R b extended family members. In the first case, parents may be key socialising in their neighbourhood or community. Of course, few children simply E u agents but in the others grandparents, an uncle or a cousin may be more take over in an unquestioning way significant. the outlook of their parents. This C p N re Activity 6 Suggest ways in which the child of a domestic worker would feel herself different from the child whose family her mother works for. Also, what are the things they © e might share or exchange? To start with the obvious, one would have more money spent on clothes, the b other might wear more bangles… They might have watched the same serials, heard the same film songs… they might pick up different kinds of slang from each other… to Now you are left to follow up the difficult areas, like the sense of security within the family, the neighbourhood and on the street... o t Activity 7 The presence or absence of which of the items below do you think would affect n you most as an individual? (possessions) television set/music system … (space) a room of your own… (time) having to balance school with household or other work… (opportunities) travel, music classes… (people around you) 76 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY is especially true in the contemporary world, in which change is so pervasive. Activity 8 Moreover, the very existence of a Reflect on your own experience. diversity of socialising agencies leads to Compare your interaction with many differences between the outlooks of children, adolescents and the friends to that of your parents and d parental generation. Can you identify other elders. What is different? Does e any instance where you felt that what the earlier discussion on roles and you learnt from the family was at status help you understand the h variance from your peer group or maybe difference? media or even school? T li s ages at work, and in other contexts, are Peer Groups R b usually of enduring importance in Another socialising agency is the peer shaping individuals’ attitudes and E u group. Peer groups are friendship behaviour. groups of children of a similar age. In some cultures, particularly small Schools C p traditional societies, peer groups are Schooling is a formal process: there is formalised as age-grades. Even without N re a definite curriculum of subjects formal age-grades, children over four studied. Yet schools are agencies of or five usually spend a great deal of socialisation in more subtle respects time in the company of friends of the © e too. Alongside the formal curriculum same age. The word ‘peer’ means ‘equal’, there is what some sociologists and friendly relations established have called a hidden curriculum between young children do tend to be b conditioning children’s learning. There reasonably egalitarian. A forceful or are schools in both India and South physically strong child may to some Africa where girls, but rarely boys, are to extent try to dominate others. Yet there expected to sweep their classroom. In is a greater amount of give and take some schools efforts are made to compared to the dependence inherent counter this by making boys and girls t in the family situation. Because of their do those tasks that are normally not power, parents are able (in varying o expected of them. Can you think of degrees) to enforce codes of conduct examples that reflect both trends? upon their children. In peer groups, by n contrast, a child discovers a different Mass Media kind of interaction, within which rules of behaviour can be tested out and Mass media has increasingly become explored. an essential part of our everyday life. Peer relationships often remain While today the electronic media like important throughout a person’s life. the television is expanding, the print Informal groups of people of similar media continues to be of great CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION 77 importance. Even in the early print media in nineteenth century India, Activity 9 ‘conduct-books’ instructing women on You might want to explore how how to be better house-keepers and people relate to serials set in more attentive wives were popular in surroundings unlike their own. Or many languages. The media can make d if children are watching television the access to information more e democratic. Electronic communication with their grandparents, are is something that can reach a village there disagreements about which h not connected by road and where no programmes are worth watching, literacy centres have been set up. and if so, what differences in T li s There has been much research on viewpoint emerge? Are these the influence of television upon children differences gradually modified? R b and adults. A study in Britain showed that the time spent by children E u watching television is the equivalent of Tashkent, but even without dubbing almost a hundred school days a year, was watched in London by children who C p and that adults are not far behind them. spoke only English! Apart from such quantitative aspects, N re what emerges from such research is not Other Socialising Agencies always conclusive in its implications. The link between on-screen violence Besides the socialising agencies © e and aggressive behaviour among mentioned, there are other groups, or children is still debated. social contexts, in which individuals If one cannot predict how media spend large parts of their lives. Work b influences people, what is certain is the is, in all cultures, an important setting extent of the influence, in terms of both within which socialisation processes operate, although it is only in to information and exposure to areas of experience distant from one’s own. industrial societies that large numbers There is a sizeable audience for Indian of people “go out to work” — that is, television serials and films in countries go each day to places of work quite t like Nigeria, Afghanistan and among separate from the home. In traditional o émigrés from Tibet. The televised communities many people tilled the Mahabharat was aired after dubbing in land close to where they lived or had n Look at the report and discuss how mass media influences children The Shaktimaan serial telecast a few years ago had children trying to dive down buildings resulting in fatal accidents. “Learning by imitation is a method followed frequently by people and children are no different,” says clinical psycholog ist. 78 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY workshops in their dwellings (see and come to maturity so influence our visuals on page 43). behaviour, it might appear that we are robbed of any individuality or free will. Socialisation and Individual Such a view is fundamentally Freedom mistaken. The fact that from birth to death we are involved in interaction d It is perhaps evident that socialisation with others certainly conditions our in normal circumstances can personalities, the values we hold, and e never completely reduce people to the behaviour in which we engage. Yet conformity. Many factors encourage socialisation is also at the origin of h conflict. There may be conflicts our very individuality and freedom. T li s between socialising agencies, between In the course of socialisation each of school and home, between home and us develops a sense of self-identity, R b peer groups. However, since the and the capacity for independent cultural settings in which we are born thought and action. E u How Gendered is Socialisation? C p We boys used the streets for so many different things — as a place to stand around watching, to run around and play, try out the manoeuvrability of our N re bikes. Not so for girls. As we noticed all the time, for girls the street was simply a means to get straight home from school. And even for this limited use of the street they always went in clusters, perhaps because behind their purposeful © e demeanour they carried the worst fears of being assaulted (Kumar 1986). b Activity 11 We have completed four chapters. Read the text of the next page carefully and to discuss the following themes : ´ The relation between individual and society in the girl’s rebellion against t grown-ups. ´ How the normative dimensions of culture are different in town and village? o ´ The question of ascribed status in that the priest’s daughter is permitted n to touch. ´ Conflict between socialising agencies for example in the text note: “thankful none of her school friends could see her like this”. Can you find any other sentence that illustrates this? ´ Gendered = combing hair + escort + not playing football ´ Punishment = “tight-lipped silence” + conspicuous absence of pappadams CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION 79 An unusual sense of excitement pervaded her visit to the temple this evening. There had been an argument over lunch, between her and the grown-ups, when she had announced her decision to ring the bell in front of the sanctuary. ‘If Thangam can ring it, so can I,’ she debated hotly. They protested in shocked voices. ‘Thangam is the daughter of the temple d priest, she is permitted to touch the bell.’ e She responded angrily that Thangam came over to play hide-and-seek every afternoon and behaved no differently from any of them. ‘Besides,’ she added, h goading them deliberately, ‘we are equal in the eyes of god.’ She was not quite sure whether they had heard this bit, for they had already turned away in T li s disgust. But, after lunch, she caught them whispering about ‘that horrid English school she goes to,’ which meant that they had heard… R b She was sure they had not taken her seriously. That was the trouble with grown-ups: they always presumed that if they told her that she would understand E u everything when she was older, she would accept their wisdom and authority unquestioningly and not dream of going against them. Oh well, she would show C p them, this time... Back again at the house, she had to endure the intensely uncomfortable ritual of hairdressing. Her grandmother soothed her hair with N re what felt like a whole jar of oil, separated each shining strand till it hung limp and straight and lifeless down her back, then tied it up in a tight, skin stretching knot on the top of her head. She was thankful none of her school friends could © e see her like this.… Why wouldn’t they understand how ridiculous she felt, being escorted…She had reminded her mother many times that she walked alone to school everyday b when they were back in town… [S]he noticed that the football game had already begun on the courtyard beside the temple of Krishna. She enjoyed watching the to players, particularly since her obvious delight in the vigour of the game, and in the raucously voiced comments irritated Kelu Nair profoundly.… She came hurriedly upon the crowded main sanctuary... Before she could t regret her decision or go back upon it, she elbowed herself quickly through the circle of women, nearly floundering on the slippery steps. The sight of the big o bell above her touched her with a heady excitement. She could distinguish Kelu Nair’s frantically whispered threats, but she reached up, rang the bell with one n resounding clang and was down the steps before he realised what was happening. Dimly she was aware of dark looks and subdued murmurs pursuing her as she permitted Kelu Nair to drag her away... She was in dire disgrace. Their tight-lipped silence was infinitely more eloquent than speech, as was the conspicuous absence of her favourite tiny pappadams at dinner... (From The Bell, by Gita Krishnakutty) 80 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY GLOSSARY Cultural Evolutionism : It is a theory of culture, which argues that just like natural species, culture also evolves through variation and natural selection. Estates System : This was a system in feudal Europe of ranking according d to occupation. The three estates were the nobility, clergy and the ‘third estate’. The last were chiefly professional and middle class people. Each e estate elected its own representatives. Peasants and labourers did not have the vote. h Great Tradition : It comprises of the cultural traits or traditions which are T li s written and widely accepted by the elites of a society who are educated and learned. R b Little Tradition : It comprises of the cultural traits or traditions which are oral and operates at the village level. E u Self Image : An image of a person as reflected in the eyes of others. Social Roles : These are rights and responsibilities associated with a person’s C p social position or status. Socialisation : This is the process by which we learn to become members of N re society. Subculture : It marks a group of people within a larger culture who borrow © e from and often distort, exaggerate or invert the symbols, values and beliefs of the larger culture to distinguish themselves. b E XERCISES to 1. How does the understanding of culture in social science differ from the everyday use of the word ‘culture’? t 2. How can we demonstrate that the different dimensions of culture comprise a whole? o 3. Compare two cultures with which you are familiar. Is it difficult not to n be ethnocentric? 4. Discuss two different approaches to studying cultural change. 5. Is cosmopolitanism something you associate with modernity? Observe and give examples of ethnocentrism. 6. What in your mind is the most effective agent of socialisation for your generation? How do you think it was different before? CULTURE AND SOCIALISATION 81 READINGS A RMILLAS, PEDRO. 1968. ‘The concept of civilisation’, in SILLS, D AVID. ed. The International Encyclopedia of Social Science . Free Press-Macmillan, New York. d BERGER, P.L. 1963. Invitation to Sociology : A Humanistic Perspective. Penguin, Harmondsworth. e G EERTZ, C LIFFORD. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. Basic Books, New York. h G IDDENS, ANTHONY. 2001. Sociology. Polity Press, Cambridge. T li s Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Unit 9, Agencies of Socialisation. R b Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Unit 8, Nature of Socialisation. E u KOTTAK, CONRAD P. 1994. Anthropology : The Exploration of Human Diversity. Sixth Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York. C p KUMAR, KRISHNA. 1986. ‘Growing up Male’, in Seminar. No. 318, February. N re L ARKIN, BRIAN . 2002. ‘Indian Films and Nigeria Lovers, Media and the Creation of Parallel Modernities’, in ed. XAVIER, JONATHAN. and ROSALDO, RENATO. The Anthropology of Globalisation : A Reader. Blackwell, Malden. © e MALINOWSKI , BRONISLAW . 1931. ‘Culture’, in SELIGMAN . ed. Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Macmillan, New York. MUKHERJI, D.P. 1948/1979. Sociology of Indian Culture. Rawat Publications, b Jaipur. T YLOR, E DWARD B. 1871/1958. Primitive Culture : Researches onto the to Development of Mythology, Philosophy Religion, Art and Custom. 2 volumes. Volume 1: Origins of Culture. Volume 2. Religion in Primitive Culture. Gloucester, Mass, Smith. t V OGT, EVON Z. 1968. ‘Culture Change’, in S ILLS, D AVID. ed. The International Encyclopedia of Social Science. Free Press-Macmillan, New York. o WILLIAMS , RAYMOND. 1976. Keywords : A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. n Fontana/Croom Helm, London.