Discussion Questions

  1. Read this article--http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/05/23/465997013/opinion-how-policing-black-boys-leads-to-the-conditioning-of-black-men--and respond to the following questions: (1) how do the authors suggest policing of black boys influences their socialization; (2) how might the experience of being targeted by police as a youth influence how these young men experience similar interactions as an adult; (3) after enduring such an experience, what might these individuals transmit to future generations in similar situations about how to define police?
  2. At what age is it appropriate to talk about the following issues: sex, drugs, death, poverty, and crime? Why do you believe this age is appropriate? Which agent of socialization should be responsible for informing someone about these issues? Which agent of socialization do you believe would provide someone with the least reliable information about these issues? What might the effects of misinformation on these issues have on one’s socialization process?
  3. Erving Goffman defines the core components of “dramaturgy” in his book The Presentation of Self in 1959. The basic idea of this perspective is that our entire social world is a stage, where performances take place. These front and back stage performances are either convincing, or not, and influence how we are perceived by others, and also how we perceive ourselves. What are some of your “front” and “back” stage behaviors? Whom do you feel most comfortable revealing your back stage behaviors to? How do you use your front stage performances? How do you control your behaviors around your family, friends, and in public to reflect an identity you want them to believe?
  4. Social interaction is critical to the socialization process. Document your observations of ALL interactions you have for a period of time (ideally at least a 24-hr period). Organize your data into the following categories: (1) purpose of interaction; (2) social setting in which it occurred; and (3) outcome of the interaction. How did these interactions inform your sense of self in these situations? How might the interaction have been misinterpreted? What norms guided your performances? Why is it important to be aware of the intent and outcome of interactions from a sociological perspective?