Structural turmoil and consensus in Socialization

Explain the relevance of socialization from both structural issue and the structural consensus perspectives. Discuss the efficiency and the pitfalls of each approach with regards to children work.

Both structural discord and structural consensus ideas approach the analysis of social life from a macro perspective, that is, both are concerned with the analysis of large-scale interpersonal buildings, such as ideas and belief systems, and companies, including the family and education, in their attempts to examine and explain public life (Bilton et al. 1994: p. 10). From this perspective, a much better understanding of confirmed world, and the human relationships within it, can be gained through examining the function of sociable companies and organizations in terms of the part they play in maintaining social buildings within society. A good example of this is the study of establishments which are firms of socialization - for example the family and the press - to explore the part they play in the creation and reproduction of social roles and worth (Bilton et al. 1994: p. 12).

Socialization, then, is the procedure through which individuals 'learn the ways of thought and behaviour considered appropriate in [their] population' (Bilton et al. 1994: p. 12), and companies of socialization function in both formal and casual ways to spread to another era such norms of thought and behavior. Much early socialization within the family is informal; children learn through observation and interactive experiences with siblings and people around them the behavior expected of themselves and more (Ibid). Since there is also a degree of formal education within the family, it is at organizations such as universities that children gain much of their formal instructions of the functions and types of behavior expected of teenagers in society.

The concept of socialization is a good one and relevant to those working in a range of professional areas, and in particular to those working with young people. This can be more noticeable as we now look in greater detail at the distinctions between the structural consensus and the structural conflict approaches.

The key difference between structural consensus and structural discord theories is the fact, generally speaking, for consensus theories the principles and norms of modern culture that individuals learn through the procedure of socialization are 'distributed' by all associates of modern culture; that is, there can be an agreement, or a consensus about, and determination to, the ideas and values prevalent in contemporary society among individuals (Fulcher and Scott 1999: p. 49). Discord theories, however, argue that, alternatively than there being truly a consensus about ideas and beliefs in population, social life is fraught with turmoil among different associates and groupings in population as they have a problem with one another to achieve or maintain power and control (Ibid: p. 61).

This is actually a simplistic format of the center tenets of both approaches; however, it may start to be apparent from this that both perspectives' ideas of socialization have potential relevance to individuals dealing with teenagers. A comparative evaluation of both perspectives even at this stage reveals some of the issues encountered by formal and informal educators in this area. In relation to young ones work, for example, an integral issue for personnel, maybe it's argued, is that of goal. Is the proper reason for youngsters work, as Draw Smith (1988: p. 106) has questioned, to 'promote the welfare of people, serve to secure the duplication of the means of creation and existing vitality relationships, promote community or what?' Discord theorists would dispute that socialization of teenagers in areas such as children work functions to secure existing power relations; consensus theorists would claim that it acts to market the welfare of individuals and society as a whole.

Smith later concludes that 'informal educators should be dedicated [in their work practice] compared to that which is right somewhat than whatever is 'right''. However, without a good understanding of turmoil and consensus theories, it would be difficult to make judgements about the difference used between that which is 'right' or 'right'. It'll be argued later that there are, of course, limits to the degree to which such knowledge is useful in practice, however, this article will argue a good understanding of the ideas of socialization from the consensus and issue perspectives will not only give us perception into issues experienced by workers in this field, but also help our knowledge of our own and our clients' feelings and motivations, as well as the agendas and motivations of formal institutions and businesses.

The questions of purpose and motivation are, it can be argued, very important ones, and are questions into which a study of socialization from consensus and discord perspectives can give us good understanding. In the region of young ones work, knowledge and knowledge of the above mentioned perspectives can result in healthy questioning of federal government purpose and determination when, for example, critiquing official documents like the DfEE 2001 consultative paper on English children work. This newspaper details the government's key goal to help 'keep teenagers in good shape' (DfEE: 2001: p. 13). A lot of what's written in terms of this priority appears to make common sense; for example ensuring young people have access to 'a wealthy variety of personal growth encounters' and supporting these to make 'enlightened choices [and] develop their potential' (Ibid: pp. 13-14). However, as we will see, closer research of elements of this, and indeed other, official documents and administration policies show, when examined with understanding of issue and consensus theories, underlying official issues and agendas.

According to consensus ideas, socialization in to the cultural ideals and social norms of culture is vital to the balance and cohesion of sociable constructions (Fulcher and Scott 1999: p. 48). Out of this perspective, all individuals in society share a committed action to society's principles, ideas and values. In general most of us want the same things and agree that they will be the right what to want, for example to secure good occupation, achieve our potential, and also to contribute to the city. While we may be socialized into such norms and beliefs through formal and casual means, we nevertheless agree that they are simply right and. The priorities set out in the DfEE consultative document fit meticulously with such 'generally agreed' dreams. The document's authors assert the need to develop 'preventative strategies and activities which permit [young people] to make informed choices in regards to a selection of issues' such as 'avoiding crime, safety from drug or liquor related dangers, avoiding teenage pregnancies' while others (DfEE 2001: p. 14). In order to make informed selections about such issues, young people can discuss them with youth workers who have an integral role in 'keeping teenagers in good shape' (Ibid) From a consensus point of view, the socialization of teenagers regarding these issues is unproblematic; modern culture as a whole can only just function effectively if all individuals are properly socialized into the arranged norms and prices of modern culture. From a discord point of view, however, such strategies are not as unproblematic as they may initially appear.

While consensus theory recognizes society as being 'held together informally by norms, ideals and one common morality' (Ritzer 1996: p. 266) discord theories argue that order in modern culture stems from 'the coercion of some members by those at the top' (Ibid). As mentioned earlier, examination of perspectives such as issue theories may lead us to question the motivations behind established agenda environment, as well as those behind our own actions and those of others, and here, examining documents such as the DfEE paper, we may begin to question the motivation behind such obviously worthwhile intervention strategies. The question we might commence to ask, when browsing the earth from a discord point of view, is, in whose hobbies are the implementation of such policies and strategies? Young ones workers among others working with young people do of course want to help young people to reside in happy and gratifying lives, and help them to remain safe and well, however, questions can be raised concerning whose primary interests some intervention strategies provide.

While the majority may well agree that a state of disorder in contemporary society is in no one's particular interest, it is clear that it is certainly in the pursuits of these in positions of ability and advantage to keep order through effective socialization of people into the worth and norms of contemporary society, in particular the ideals and norms of population that best suit their own interests. It is, to adopt what may certainly be a more extreme view from the conflict perspective, much better to obtain good, hard-working, genuine citizens paying taxes and refraining from criminal offense, in particular property crime from individuals with abundant wealth, than to obtain gangs of disaffected young people stealing money for drugs and falling pregnant in order to secure valuable administration housing.

It may now be clear, then, that comparative analyses of ideas of socialization from the turmoil and consensus perspective help give us information and understanding when getting close issues affecting work with teenagers. The good examples above ideally show the efficiency of this analysis in relation to official agenda setting up and plan, however, as mentioned before, knowledge and understanding of theories of socialization can also help staff in this field better understand issues facing themselves and their clients. An awareness of whose passions are being offered with regards to practice performed by personnel with the clients can only work to ensure prolonged practice evaluation. An understanding of the conflicts in prices and norms which many teenagers may face can help employees when coming up with judgements of their own practice with regards to what's 'right' as opposed to 'perfect'.

One example of the above could be the possible turmoil experienced by young people between the ideals and goals seen by individuals around them, as well as perhaps by the young people themselves, as fair and simply, and the means available to them to adopt such ideals or achieve such goals. Sociologist R. K. Merton's (1938) theory of anomie addresses this experience of conflict, and shows that if a world places great focus on achieving goals, and less on the appropriate methods to obtain them, then a person's 'commitment to approved means - and thereforeconformity to sociable norms - may be eroded' (Fulcher and Scott 1999: p. 49). Merton argues that the rift between culturally approved ends, and the means of attaining them, which he refers to as a predicament of anomie, can bring about individuals resorting to inappropriate means to achieve goals which they, along with the rest of modern culture, agree are worthwhile. Here people have been effectively socialised into the norms and worth of appropriate goal attainment, however, not so successfully into the appropriate means by which to obtain them. From a conflict perspective, however, maybe it's argued that the interpersonal values placed on goal attainment, and passed on through socialization, do not necessarily serve the best interests of all participants of society in the first place. The goal, for example, of shopping for a big house in an expensive neighbourhood will simply put more income the government's way in conditions of council tax than will a smaller property, as well as more revenue to mortgage companies, ability suppliers and so on.

This essay has hopefully shown the relevance, and in the areas talked about, the efficiency of structural turmoil and structural consensus perspectives with regards to young ones work, however, as mentioned before there are clear constraints to the amount to which such ideas are useful used, not least because ideas, while helpful, are usually more usefully conceptualised as tools to energize thought and debate relating to insurance policy and good practice. Finally, all theory is bound because the number of variables present in any given situation means that no theory can merely be taken as a model and then applied.


Bilton, T. et al. , 1994. Introductory Sociology. 2nd edn. London: Macmillan.

DfEE, 2001. Changing Youth Work. London: Section for Education and Job/Connexions. Also available from: Smith, M. K. (2001) Good Goal [online] Benefits. Available from: http://www. infed. org/archives/developing_youth_work/dyw6. htm

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