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The Sociologist's EyeReflections on Social Life$
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Kai Erikson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106671

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106671.001.0001

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Becoming a Person

Becoming a Person

Chapter:
(p.267) Becoming a Person
Source:
The Sociologist's Eye
Author(s):

Kai Erikson

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300106671.003.0014

This chapter examines the process of socialization, of becoming a person—the way we become aware of the social world we are a part of and learn to participate in it. It first considers the lessons of early childhood and how a child learns a particular language before discussing George Herbert Mead's views on childhood learning. It then analyzes the processes that occur when people are removed from the larger social order and confined to total institutions and “becoming a person once again,” also known as “secondary socialization” or “resocialization.” It suggests that, whether one is speaking of “becoming a person” in the early years or repeating some part of that process later, members of a society live by an informal grammar.

Keywords:   socialization, social world, early childhood, language, George Herbert Mead, childhood learning, total institutions, secondary socialization, resocialization

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