Key term Definition
Achieved status Gained by the individual through talent, effort and hard work.
Agents of socialisation Social groups and institutions which have a role to teach us norms, values, customs, traditions etc.
Ascribed status Status which is fixed and determined at birth.
Culture The way of life of a social group, made up of norms and values. It is how a person understands how to behave and make sense of the world around them.
Cultural diversity Different cultures living alongside each other in one society.
Femininity Socially acceptable behaviour and characteristics appropriate to being female in our society.
Feral children Children who have grown up with limited human contact.
Formal curriculum What we learn from subjects on the school curriculum such as history, maths etc.
Formal social control Ways of controlling behaviour with written rules, laws or codes of conduct. If these are broken, punishments include fines, ASBOs, imprisonment etc.
Gender roles Cultural expectations attached to how males and females are expected to behave in our society.
Imitation Copying the behaviour of others.
Informal curriculum Also known as the Hidden Curriculum. How we learn social norms & values through how the school is organised.
Informal social control Unwritten, more informal ways of controlling how people behave. Carried out by agents of social control which are also the agents of socialisation.
Masculinity Socially acceptable behaviour and characteristics appropriate to how males are expected to behave in our society.
Nature/nurture debate Debate about whether human behaviour is biological (inherited) or learnt from environmental influences around us.
Norms Social rules of behaviour that relate to specific social situations and govern how we are supposed to behave.
Peer group People of a similar age and status, usually friends or colleagues.
Peer group pressure Influence peer groups have on their members to imitate group behaviour. It can be positive or negative.
Primary socialisation Early stages of socialisation usually between birth and 4/5 years of age.
Roles How a person is expected to behave in relation to their social position in society.
Role conflict When the demands of one role conflict with those of another role.
Role models People who are seen as setting a good example, in their behaviour and beliefs, for others to follow (especially young people)
Sanctions The rewards and punishments used to socialise individuals.  They can be positive or negative.
Secondary socialisation Socialisation which takes place after we start full-time education. We begin to be influenced by those around us such as peer groups, teachers, media etc.
Socially constructed Created by society and the people within it and passed from one generation to the next.
Social identity How a person sees themselves as part of a group.
Status A person’s social position or standing in society.
Sub-cultures Different social groups who have their own norms and values – sometimes at odds with the larger culture that they live in.
Values Beliefs that underpin rules of behaviour.


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