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Primary Socialization with street children in Rio de Janeiro

Essay 2005 12 Seiten

Kulturwissenschaften - Allgemeines und Begriffe


Index / Contents

1. Introduction

2. Resume / Abstract of “The Social Construction of Reality”

3. Primary Socialization

4. Secondary Socialization

5. Brazil in the past or Development of current situation of street children

6. Rio de Janeiro today

7. Street Children in Rio de Janeiro

8. Reasons for an unsuccessful primary socialization of potential street children

9. Conclusion

10. Bibliography

1. Introduction

“An upper-class child may learn the “facts of life” at an age when a lower-class child has mastered the rudiments of abortion technique. Or, an upper-class child may experience his first stirrings of patriotic emotion about the time his lower-class contemporary first experiences hatred of the police and everything they stand for.”[1]

This quotation symbolizes the subject of my essay: I will delve into the term of Berger/Luckmann’s Primary Socialization in “The social construction of reality”. I want to compare their idea/perception of the ideal primary socialization of a child within the society with the current situation of street children in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is important to know a little bit about the historical background of Brazil to understand why the social levels differ so greatly. I will also try to explain possible consequences and perspectives of these children.

I chose this subject because I grew up in Rio de Janeiro. I learned to love this country, but I could also recognize the immense injustice rampant in this country. Especially in my situation, as a person who comes from a “good" and safe family, I asked myself since I was a little child: Why do I have so much and those children nothing?

2. Resume / Abstract of “The Social Construction of Reality”

Berger and Luckmann say that reality is socially constructed. The sociology of knowledge is concerned with the relationship between human thought and the social context in which it arises. The human being is conscious of the world as consisting of multiple realities, but the only reality all humans share is the reality of everyday life as an ordered reality. The consciousness of the other’s subjectivity and my own is especially aroused in face-to-face interactions.

Language is the most important sign system of human society. Signs are objectivations in the sense of being capable to communicate meanings that are not directly expressions of subjectivity. The social reality of everyday life is apprehended in a continuum of typifications which are progressively anonymous as they are removed from the “here and now” of the face-to-face situation.

Institutionalization occurs whenever there is a reciprocal typification of habitualized actions by type of actors. The institutionalized world requires legitimation (which demands the establishment of sanctions), which is learned by the new generation during socialization. Legitimation not only tells the individual why he should perform one action and not the other; it also tells him why things are the way they are.

Inter subjective sedimentation occurs when several individuals share a common knowledge- the social construction of reality is succeeded. (It is Important to note that the individuals will turn into actors who become interchangeable as soon as they are not unique but types.)

3. Primary Socialization

The individual is not born a member of the society, but becomes a member through a temporal sequence- the first socialization and then later, the second. The individual has to internalize the outside world. These individuals mutually identify with each other and participate in each other’s lives. The self is a reflected identity. The primary socialization involves understanding and translating the roles and attitudes of “specific others” (in normal case the parents) to roles and attitudes in those of “generalized other” (the rest of his environment). The new-born has to learn sequences that are socially defined. When he has internalized this information in his conscience, then he will be able to go to the next step, the secondary socialization.

4. Secondary Socialization

Whatever new contents are to be internalized in secondary socialization must be attached to the already present reality, the primary socialization. The relationships from hence are, as opposed to the primary socialization, not associated with emotions because they are more anonymous, i.e. teachers in school are interchangeable, parents not. But socialization is never complete; every society must develop procedures of continuous legitimations in order to assure the symmetry between objective and subjective reality (re-socialization). Consequently this symmetry is necessary for a complete socialization. Unsuccessful socialization in comparison might be a society with acutely discrepant worlds by significant others during primary socialization.


[1] Berger/Luckmann (1966), p.75


ISBN (eBook)
387 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen
Primary Socialization Janeiro Cultural Studies




Titel: Primary Socialization with street children in Rio de Janeiro