Key termDefinition
Achieved statusGained by the individual through talent, effort and hard work.
Agents of socialisationSocial groups and institutions which have a role to teach us norms, values, customs, traditions etc.
Ascribed statusStatus which is fixed and determined at birth.
CultureThe 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 diversityDifferent cultures living alongside each other in one society.
FemininitySocially acceptable behaviour and characteristics appropriate to being female in our society.
Feral childrenChildren who have grown up with limited human contact.
Formal curriculumWhat we learn from subjects on the school curriculum such as history, maths etc.
Formal social controlWays of controlling behaviour with written rules, laws or codes of conduct. If these are broken, punishments include fines, ASBOs, imprisonment etc.
Gender rolesCultural expectations attached to how males and females are expected to behave in our society.
ImitationCopying the behaviour of others.
Informal curriculumAlso known as the Hidden Curriculum. How we learn social norms & values through how the school is organised.
Informal social controlUnwritten, more informal ways of controlling how people behave. Carried out by agents of social control which are also the agents of socialisation.
MasculinitySocially acceptable behaviour and characteristics appropriate to how males are expected to behave in our society.
Nature/nurture debateDebate about whether human behaviour is biological (inherited) or learnt from environmental influences around us.
NormsSocial rules of behaviour that relate to specific social situations and govern how we are supposed to behave.
Peer groupPeople of a similar age and status, usually friends or colleagues.
Peer group pressureInfluence peer groups have on their members to imitate group behaviour. It can be positive or negative.
Primary socialisationEarly stages of socialisation usually between birth and 4/5 years of age.
RolesHow a person is expected to behave in relation to their social position in society.
Role conflictWhen the demands of one role conflict with those of another role.
Role modelsPeople who are seen as setting a good example, in their behaviour and beliefs, for others to follow (especially young people)
SanctionsThe rewards and punishments used to socialise individuals. They can be positive or negative.
Secondary socialisationSocialisation 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 constructedCreated by society and the people within it and passed from one generation to the next.
Social identityHow a person sees themselves as part of a group.
StatusA person’s social position or standing in society.
Sub-culturesDifferent social groups who have their own norms and values – sometimes at odds with the larger culture that they live in.
ValuesBeliefs that underpin rules of behaviour.

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Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Gender & Development: Key Terms," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019,
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