Is socialization a one-way process?
No, according to Mead. Socialization is a two-way process between society and the individual Just as the society in which we live helps determine what kind of individuals we become, we have the ability to shape certain aspects of our social environment and perhaps even the larger society, How useful are symbolic interactionist perspectives such as Cooley's and Mead's in enhancing our understanding of the socialization process? Certainly, this approach contributes to our understanding of how the self develops, Cooley's idea of the looking-glass self makes us aware that our perception of how we think others see us is not always correct Mead extended Cooley's ideas by emphasizing the cognitive skills acquired through role-taking. His concept of the generalized other helps us see that the self is a social creation. According to Mead (1934: 196), "Selves can only exist in definite relations to other selves. No hard-and-fast line can be drawn between our own selves and the selves of others," As shown in "Sociology Works!:' some of Mead's ideas have important current applications. .
However, the viewpoints of symbolic interactionists such as Cooley and Mead have certain limitations. Sociologist Anne Kaspar (1986) suggests that Mead's ideas about the social self may be more applicable to men than to women because women are more likely to experience inherent conflicts between the meanings they derive from their personal experiences and those they take from the culture. particularly in regard to balancing the responsibilities of famILy life and paid employment (This chapter's Concept Quick Review on page 117 summarizes the major theories of human development)