What are agents of socialization?

What are agents of socialization?

In Relation to Stages of Development

Agents of socialization are the individuals, groups and institutions which form a social context for the process of socialization. The agents of socialization can include any group that impacts one’s values, norms, beliefs, as well as positions in the social structure such as class, race and gender. According to Macionis (2011) there are a variety of theories of development that pertain to socialization. Piaget’s stages of cognitive development are used to show the socialization process and at certain stages certain agents of socialization are very important. For example, at the sensorimotor stage which is birth to two years of age; family is the most important agent of socialization because in this stage development of object performance and motor skills limits the child to the nurturing of parents.

Likewise, Erikson’s Stage six or Young adulthood stage would be most impacted by school since in stage six the individual would be challenged to form and keep intimate relationships with others. Being in school would provide the socialization needed in this stage of development.

While there are numerous theories pertaining to human development all of these theories require the interaction of the agents of socialization. The theories can be used depending upon the context of development. For instance, Piaget’s theory is focused on cognitive development whereas Erikson’s theory is based more on the development of behaviors through learning and accomplishment. But despite the focus of these theories the agents of socialization which seem to stand out the most, in so far as impact is concerned, would be family and close relations.


John J. Macionis Society: The Basics, Eleventh Edition,. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash


Triola Vincent. Tue, Jan 19, 2021. What are agents of socialization? Retrieved from

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