A person’s behavior is determined by a biological make up (nature – primary) or by the environment (nurture – secondary). After birth nurture take effect through a process called socialization which begin from birth and ends in death.

Socialization is the process of instilling societal value, norms, knowledge, symbols of the society to its members through out life course.

It means therefore a human is product heredity of bits or her environment which end up into personality – the sum total of the behavior, attitude, believe and values that are characteristics of an individual.

Functions of socialization

  • Helps one know about his/her culture.
  • Helps develop a person’s personality
  • Helps one understand roles and functions
  • Helps us understand our stages in development process
  • Helps in bringing about our relationship
  • Helps us to interpret environment process
  • Helps us to know our societal expectation of its members
  • Helps us to appropriate the role of nurture and nature.
  • Helps in developing social life (social interaction).

Stages of socialization

  • Childhood
  • Adolescent
  • Early adulthood
  • Late adulthood


  • Age begin from 0 to 13 years
  • They are dependant.
  • They don’t know to differentiate good and bad things
  • Autonomy people – may doubt their ability and tool share about self.


  • Age begin 13 to 25 years.
  • At this stage there are physical, psychological and social changes that take place in both boys and girls.
  • Sexual experience is also moving upwards as young people leave childhood behind them earlier than the past.

Young adult

  • Begin from 25 to 40 years.
  • Must partially use their own identities with those of the other people, turning deep friendship, falling in love and marrying.
  • Danger is that if they fail to commit themselves to others because they fear a loss of self and thus they will feel isolated and lonely.

Late adult

  • Begin from 80 years and above years.
  • He/she thinks and moves slowly.
  • He/she is bound to himself and to his past and can no longer change or grow.
  • He/she dislikes innovation and is not disposed to new idea.
  • He/she become irritable and their minds yet shallow and feeble.
  • He/she lives in his past, is behind all the time.
  • Aimless and wondering of mind, reminiscing;

Agents of socialization

  • Families
  • Peers
  • School
  • Church professional association
  • Mass media


The family

The family is the basic and the first agent of socialization.

The society and nature places a fundamental responsibility on the parents to raise up their children.

The parents are responsible for:-

  1. Nurturing and attachment especially the mother during pregnancy, breast feeding and nursing.
  2. Sex typing – help the child in defining the sex and attaining expectation and responsibility on the same line.
  3. Moral and ethical values
  4. Gender and sexuality.


Education is the systematic process of obtaining knowledge and skills for individuals and societal change. Education has with it syllabi, discipline, role modeling, expectation or grading; education also inspires and builds people’s aspiration.

The school is also a point of social interaction and relationship where ideas/ideologies, symbols and behaviors are learnt.

Peer group

It comprises people with whom we share some qualities and interest i.e.

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Profession

The peer factors bring with it the peer influence i.e. looking at things or listening to a thing from a common perspective.

Some of the common influences are:-

  • Movies
  • Music
  • Walking style 


Mass media

It constitutes the print media, audio and audio visuals. It is one of the most effective means of giving out information, communication, and education and receiving information.



The socialization process brings about i.e. internationalization of the societal norms and expectations. Through internalization we learn to conform; to conform is to become obedient to the expectation to the society. However, the society also brings with it sanctions that is rewarded and punishment that are used to enforce conformity to the societal norms.

Sanctions can be negative e.g. rejection of fines, it can also be formal or informal.

Social control is the enforcing of norms through either internalization or sanctions with intent to regulate behavior. All the societies’ which social control is focused on self control and internalization of norms to defeat social disorder, examples of social disorders are stealing, fighting in the street e.t.c. Social disorders is the break down of conformity or social stability.

Forms of Social control

  1. Taboos

In every society there are aspects of culture that has ruled over a period of time to an extent that they have held a principle or fundamental in regulating the behavior, the society subsequently expect their members not to break those fundamentals e.g.

  • Incest
  • Beating of an old man
  1. Values; are rights or bad behavior.
  2. Regulations; are formal prescription allowing or inhibiting character, rules and status.
  3. Laws; are rules governing a citizen of a country.



This refers to the various ways within which members of the society meet or exist/intercept. There are many forms of interaction, some help to promote change and others to bring about stability.


A group of people bound together by blood, marriage or adoption usually living together and sharing some common aspect of life e.g. economic activities, some discipline, responsibilities.

Functions of the family

  1. Companionship; the family provide a sense of belonging and security; they also provide love and affection.
  2. Reproduction; the family is the only formal institution within the responsibility of continuity i.e. making shares that new generations come about through child bearing and child rearing.
  3. Socialization; it is through the family that most children learn about the values and the norms of the society. The family works as the agent of socialization.
  4. Regulation of sexual activities; it is through the family teachings about which sex, when sex, with whom sex and why sex. The family prescribes incest (not allowing the children to have sexual intercourse with their close relatives e.g. child and parents)
  5. Provision of different things

Provision of economic well being

Ascription of status and property

Emotional security etc

Types of Families

  1. Nuclear family

Comprising of either one of the parents, both the parents and the children or just the father and mother. They usually share a common residence through may be separated temporarily.

  1. Extended family

This comprises the cousins, nephews, grannies and the in – laws.


There are two forms of social relationship and interaction which are found within the society.

Kinship – is a relationship/interaction that is necessitated by blood contact; it is also an interaction necessitated by marriage e.g. cousins, nephew child, sibling and in law.

Ethnicity – it is a form of social interaction or relationship between people of the same ethnic group e.g. Luo. Kalenjin, Kikuyu etc.

Ethnic group are groups that subscribe to a similar set of culture, clans, historical background, economic activities, geographical boundary, common values, goals etc.

In other area, ethnicity has been understood as tribe.

Ethnicity and kinship are important to an individual behavior, group dynamic and social interaction.

Ethnicity and kinship determine how people interact and how people marry whereby marriage is difficult to define however we can agree that marriage is coming together of one partner with another usually relating and living together.

Traditionally, marriage was understood as the mutual coming together of two or more partners who have submitted their consent to live as wife (ves) and husband. The traditional African Society accepted different types of marriages.

In the modern world, marriage has become complex in definition and reality. This is because:-

  1. Life style
  2. Modernization
  3. Urbanization
  4. Economic factors
  5. Political factors
  6. Technologies

Types of Marriages

  1. Monogamy; marriage of one partner
  2. Polygamy; marriage to more than one woman
  3. Polyandry; marriage to more than one husband

Marital roles (Roles in marriage)

  • Companionship
  • Protection/Security
  • Intimacy
  • Caring
  • Housing

Forms of Descent

  • Part lineal; this is a descent or background blood relationship from the perspective of the father.
  • Matrilineal; is a background blood relationship perspective of the mother.
  • Bilateral; from both the perspective of the father and the mother.

NOTE; Descent is the family tree on an individual e.g. Barrack Obama, Obama’s family tree can be looked up from the father side (pat lineal) which relates into Kogelo or from the mother side which relates into America.



Group dynamic and groups is a wide concept in sociology; however, we limit our study of groups in respect to the syllabus.

Primary groups

This is a small group of people who interact relatively over a long period of time on a direct and a personal basis.

Characteristics of primary groups

  1. Relationship is personal, intimate and often face to face.
  2. Communication is developed and intense.
  3. The structure is informal
  4. Personal satisfaction is fundamental (very important) e.g. family, friends

Secondary groups

This is a group in which interaction is experienced and temporary in nature.

Characteristics of secondary groups

  1. It is impersonal (casual and limited)
  2. An individual can be replaced easily by another to carry out a specific task.
  3. The bond may not be strong.
  4. May be small or big.
  5. It is not direct.

NOTE: Sometimes it is not very easy to draw a line on the point at which the primary group ends and the secondary group begins. This is what we call the continuous of graphing.



Sociologists agree that the society comprise of different and distinct social institutions.

The functionalists further believe that the social institutions regulate how the society functions and they are very important in any social change process.

  1. Education

According to sociologists, education is looked at as a form of structured socialization i.e. they look at education as a way of passing on knowledge, skills, values e.t.c. In a formal way from one generation to the other.

Structured because it fails with a system, administration, subjects and teachers or lectures, examination etc. It is formal because it is structured, it is time tabled, it is syllabused, has rules and regulations.

Education is the structured and the formal process of systematically imparting knowledge, skills and values to the individual within the society.

Forms of education vary from one society to the other e.g. 8.4.4 in Kenya, in Uganda. Education can be institutional or non institutional, when institutional is like Yolifa while non institutional is like a church (Catholic).

Functions of Education

  1. Socialization
  2. Importation of knowledge and skills necessary for employment or proper functioning.
  3. Regulates personal behavior or development of personality.
  4. Instilling self discipline.
  5. Empowers the individual and the society through exposure and information.
  6. Transmits and reproduces culture.
  7. Perpetrates the socio-economic power structure i.e. those who are educated get good jobs, earn more money, and take their children get better jobs.
  8. Assists in occupational placement.
  9. Social integration i.e. different types of people meet in schools and they develop friendship.
  10. Can also be used in social control i.e. take away behaviors which are not welcoming.

Problems with education

  1. Cost/expensive
  2. School drop outs
  3. Irrelevant systems
  4. Lack of facilities
  5. Poor government facilities
  6. Understaffing/lack of trained personnel


Politics is very important to any society time immemorial (long time ago) e.g. in the biblical era David and Saul had to jostle to wrestle power over the nation of Israel.

The sons of David (Adonijah) taught over who would take over from David.

History is development with case of how people acquired, used and how people lost power. Consequently this determined the social institutions, social structure and the social changes that resulted.

Politics is the process by which people gain, use and loss power e.g. parents over children, teachers over students, rulers over subjects etc.

Power is the ability to extend control over other people’s behavior or experience even when they resist.

Functions of politics in the society

  1. Determines the power structure of a society.
  2. Determines how the resources are distributed and used.
  3. Determines the social stability and integration.
  4. Determines the economic structure whether the structure is capitalism, communism, and socialism.
  5. Determines international relationships between different countries.
  6. Determines the structure of other social institutions.


Mankind can be said to be a social being and in a sense religious. This is irrespective of the fact that some do not believe on the salvation or deity.

Through out human history (at all times in all places, human beings struggle with what is sacred and what is profile.

Sacred means pertaining to the world or the common place or to the familiar.

Religion is a system of roles and norms organized around the sacred realm that binds people together in social groups.

It is a universal phenomenon.

Sociologists think of religion as a social creation. Karl Marx thought of religion as the opium of the people (an escapist resort).

Functions of Religion in the society

  1. Social control; religion has norms and values that people are forced to follow. They also have beliefs that regulate/control social behavior; advocate for social conformity.
  2. Social cohesion; makes people hold together e.g. love your neighbour as you love yourself; love one another, avoid conflict, help one another, share, have a sense of belonging.
  3. Emotional support; they offer advisory service to those depressed.
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