An Outline of Social Psychology

Chapter 9: Culturalization —How We Acquire Our Cultural Behavior

Jacob Robert Kantor

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Every individual acquires his cultural behavior equipment through a definite process. This process we call culturalization. It comprises the means by which we develop those traits of reactional equipment which make us into particular types of social personalities. Thus the study of any individual's culturalization provides us with a record of the entire development of his distinctly human nature. In effect, the culturalization process constitutes the happenings to the individual during his various contacts with the institutions of the groups in which he finds himself. Being stimulated by these institutions he builds up cultural responses to them. Indeed we must regard the person in his cultural aspects as a definite product of the institutions around him. Therefore, if we take a list of traits of a certain individual we can correlate them with the institutional stimuli of the human groups in which he develops and carries on his conduct.

Synonyms for culturalization are domestication or socialization. In other words, the making of a cultural personality consists in stimulating the individual to become in his behavior like the persons of certain groups. Such domestication gives him a definite identity as a member of distinct psychological collectivities. Through contact with all sorts of different institutions the individual acquires behavior traits which in some respects make him resemble certain persons

( 266) and not others. Culturalization then comprises a series of mechanisms by which those qualities called cultural human nature are produced.

For example, as a result of the operation of the culturalization process the individual assumes a definite set of conventional manners, ideals, knowledge, attitudes, and habits. At the same time he takes on traits of social intelligence, artistry, and morality. In detail, the culturalization process accounts for the fact that one talks, thinks, eats, and otherwise behaves in particular ways. Since we cannot escape assuming the kind of equipments forced upon us by surrounding institutions, the domesticating procedure is fairly absolute.

Let us notice that the culturalization process differs from the ordinary manner of behavior acquisition. Compare it with the idiosyncratic situation, for example. In the latter case, the stimulational functions of objects are developed at the same time that the person acquires his personal behavior with respect to such objects. Not so in the case of culturalization. For here the stimuli are institutions which exist prior to the contact of the person with the objects in which they inhere.

What kind of social behavior equipment the individual acquires is practically determined then by his anthropic circumstances. But this fact indicates no inevitability from a strictly psychological standpoint. That is, if it were possible for the person to place himself in the thousands of cultural conditions required to develop his equipment and to choose all the groups of which he becomes a member he could control his socialization and become a person according to his own pattern.

From the psychological standpoint, therefore, our cultural development is quite accidental. it depends wholly upon the particular process of domestication to which we are subjected. Any person might indifferently take on Chinese or Bantu

( 267) traits. This refers to speech, mannerisms, and intellectual attitudes. What is required to bring about such a result is merely to have a person brought up exclusively in contact with Chinese or Bantu institutions. The culturalization process, therefore, must be regarded as resulting in determinate products, depending upon the particular institutions involved.

The character and modes of operation of culturalization processes are strikingly illustrated by pointing out that even our intimate sex behavior, and the traits correlated with our biological male or female sex characters are built up and not born in us. It is perfectly possible, aside from organic structure, of course, to culturalize a girl to be a boy, or vice versa. It is only a convention that little girls must not climb trees nor perform the boisterous pranks that small boys are allowed to do. Similarly, the popularly known "negro-emotion" (superstition, fear, etc.) is all built up, just as the emotionality of women is acquired by our young girls during the early family period. Is it not clear then that culturalization is purely an artificial process, though one that leaves a product that cannot be easily cast off? In sum, whenever we have an individual before us and inquire why he is a Methodist or Catholic, a republican or democrat, masculine or feminine in behavior make-up, we may be entirely certain that the answer lies in the culturalization processes through which he has passed.

Our exposition has already proceeded far enough to suggest that culturalization involves an exceedingly complicated personality development. It would be an error in consequence to think that because one's parents are religious or belong to a particular religious collectivity, for example, one must also be religious. Not at all. Even when one is in contact with certain situations one may react negatively as well as positively. Despite the attempt of parents to culturalize their

( 268) child to be religious, the latter may build up quite opposite traits. He may become an atheist. Quite often the effort of parents to domesticate their children to be conservative, to love and cherish the things they love and cherish, may be entirely frustrated. The children, of course, will inevitably become culturalized, but not necessarily in the mold provided by parents. The question arises then as to the specific ways in which the culturalization process operates.

In every specific case it is important to isolate the actual conditions which make stimuli objects work positively or negatively. We may suggest that if certain objects or actions are forced too strongly upon children, especially when they want to play, they will certainly rebel. We are dealing here with a very dynamic sort of thing, for the particular culturalization results depend upon how the stimuli are presented. Further, the attitude of the parents is significant. Angry persons baulk and subdue the children around them. As a result the offered stimuli do not call out the desired positive reactions. These are conditions which have to do with deliberate attempts at culturalization.

Let us now take the case of positive or negative stimulation when no resistance to the efforts of other persons are present. Individuals may react negatively to institutions because of traits already developed at other points in their domestication. Obviously, whenever any specific culturalization process operates upon an individual he may have already acquired a set of cultural and non-cultural equipments. The already formed behavior then constitutes refractory material from the standpoint of the present domestication mechanisms. In many instances these equipments consist of very resistant materials. These prior products of culturalization as well as the behavior results of the person's previous non-cultural reactional biography influence the individual to respond negatively to certain institutions.

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As a process of behavior acquisition culturalization stands squarely as a factual source of social characteristics. It contrasts decidedly with any conception which proposes that an individual is endowed with powers or forces making him what he is at any particular time. The question here is: do we have our specific human natures because of certain driving forces inherent in us or do we possess our psychological characteristics and traits as a result of contacts with institutions? Are we born with a conscience or is conscience merely a behavioristic reflection of institutions that have surrounded our developing years?

One of the prominent nativistic conceptions opposing the culturalization doctrine is the instinct theory. The forces that are alleged to make human beings what they are, are called instincts. Nor are these instinct forces confined to social psychology. Accordingly, all human nature is regarded by the proponents of this theory to be the working out of a limited number of such powers. Whether instincts are regarded as metaphysical forces or particular kinds of biological conditions it is impossible to ascribe any one of our complex cultural responses to a single impulse or biological characteristic. In no sense can we go beyond actual responses to specific stimuli. On the basis of the best interpretation of an instinct theory one could only explain the similarity of all people. The problem of social psychology, on the contrary, is to discover precisely why groups of people are different. The process of domestication, we submit, is quite capable of accounting for this fact on a definite factual basis.

Culturalization, it should be quite clear, can only account for certain phases of human nature. For the behavior with which it deals constitutes only one form of human conduct. Human nature, of course, involves besides cultural behavior

( 270) a number of other sorts, such as idiosyncratic, universal, and contingential reactions.


As a process of behavior acquisition culturalization takes place wherever institutions are located—to be plain, wherever there are psychological collectivities. Considering that there are thousands upon thousands of such collectivities it is obviously impossible to discuss all of the loci where culturalization occurs. Accordingly, in order to indicate the auspices under which the individual acquires his social behavior equipment we must select several type locations.

But to study the group in which culturalization takes place is in general an objectionable procedure. For it places too great an emphasis upon the traits acquired and the group in which it is built up, and not enough upon the person and his part in the process.

Now in order to study the individual as he develops his cultural traits, we will regard as the loci of his culturalization the different types of situations through which he passes during his ordinary psychological development. In particular we propose to divide the reactional biography of individuals into two distinct phases. We might arbitrarily consider the first period to be that of infancy and childhood and the second phase that of maturation and adulthood. For expository purposes we shall refer to these two periods as the early and later stages of culturalization.

Loci of Early Culturalization.— On the whole it is clear that the earliest culturalization of the individual takes places in the family surroundings. It is here that one probably acquires one's most outstanding cultural behavior qualities. While all the person's traits are from a strictly psychological standpoint equally fundamental, some appear to be more essential than others. For example, the equipments developed

(271) in the earliest loci of culturalization are the most difficult to transform or change. Indeed, these earliest cultural traits are so ingrained that they stimulate the ideas of original nature. To indicate the fundamental character of the early culturalization equipment we need only mention that we are referring here to the simplest and most fundamental reactions, —gait, carriage, ways of using hands, characteristic modulation and tone of voice, mannerisms, manners, etc. These are the equipments that give us knowledge concerning the parentage or intimate nurses of children. In short, they stamp the culturalized person with the socializer's conduct die. That the early culturalization is so typical and deep-seated is owing to the fact that under early family auspices one first begins to develop behavior equipment at all.

Not only does the individual acquire the most elementary reactional equipment under family culturalization auspices, but also many of the more complex responses which characterize him as a member of particular cultural groups. Among these behavior traits are reactions of cleanliness, ways of eating, talking, gesturing, etc. Still more complex cultural traits acquired at this time are responses which may be referred to as ideals, beliefs, and aspirations which are reactions to distinctly family institutions.

Through these early family contacts the individual undergoing culturalization is also put into reactional contact with institutions that are not of a strictly family type, but belong rather to more inclusive collectivities. In other words, even during the very early years of reactional development in the primary family group, one is brought into contact with institutions of national, religious, occupational, ethnic, and other types of psychological collectivities. When girls are made to take on feminine traits through family culturalization and when boys acquire traits of sturdiness, masculinity, etc., we have a process of domestication that reaches out to ethnic groups, though it takes place in the family circle and through

( 272) family circumstances. Under group family influences children undergo such marked ethnic socialization that they take on the traditional stolidity of the Indians, the thriftiness of Germans, the musicianship of the Italians, the gayety of the Austrians, etc. It is also through family culturalization processes that individuals acquire cultural language responses, religious beliefs, moral and conventional attitudes, respect for law, etc.

Family life, therefore, is the locus for both immediate and mediate contacts with general ethnic and national group institutions. The immediate type of contact is made possible by the continuous existence of certain institutions in both the family and more inclusive groups. Simply because the members of a family are at the same time members of more inclusive groups, they harbor in the home, institutions common to larger units, and perform responses stimulating the younger members of the family to take on cultural equipment characteristic of the more inclusive group. Through family socialization, therefore, the individual not only acquires the traits of his family group but of national and ethnic communities also. That is, he adopts the language, manners, beliefs, and customs of the larger collectivities.

On the other hand, the more mediate contacts with the inclusive group are brought about by the reading of books and journals found in the home and by participating in family travels and visits to other groups. In this last instance we observe that the contacts of the younger individuals with non-family institutions are conditioned by members of the immediate family.

Playmate Contacts.—A second prominent locus of early culturalization centers around the contacts of children as playmates. This stepping out of the home immediately enables individuals to interact with a wider range of institutions. On the one hand, the child comes into contact with acts and objects which stimulate the development of reactions to other

(273) and larger groups than that of the family. On the other hand, since each child represents a product of different family culturalization processes the number of stimuli contacts are greatly increased through playmates. While these playmates may be similarly culturalized as members of one ethnic, linguistic or national group, they have each been in contact with different family institutions. Thus through the acquisition of different social conduct they are capable of stimulating each other with different cultural stimuli.

School Contacts.—The school situation marks off a definite stage of psychological development which we call our third locus of culturalization. To a considerable extent the stimuli presented here bring about the development of more formal types of responses than in the two previous cases. Hence, in this culturalization setting the child acquires mainly informational responses. That is, he takes on intellectual attitudes which are common to all of the individuals attending a particular school.

It goes without saying that the family, playmate and school types of culturalization may all transpire at the same time, each influencing the other more or less. We must not draw, therefore, too sharp a line here, by way of regarding these culturalizations as distinctly different processes. What the child learns at home, what behavior he derives from his playmate contacts and his school acquisitions are parallel conditions influencing each other. In other words, culturalization means the building up of a vast conglomeration of cultural reaction systems built up to all kinds of mixed institutional stimuli located in particular psychological group situations. On the whole this mixed type of interaction with things produces a cultural individual that we may call an autonomous psychological personality, in that he is somewhat different from the members of either the parental, family, the school, or playmate group.

Loci of Later Culturalization.—Having already intimated

(274) that the process of culturalization continues throughout the behavior life of the individual we may now differentiate between the childhood acquisition of social equipment and the mature assumption of cultural traits. In the adult loci of culturalization the individual continues the active equipment acquisition through his contacts with the psychological collectivities of which he is a member. He becomes a particular type of cultural personality according to such stimuli as are found in business, professional, church, economic, custom and other situations. An individual entering upon a law training or practice becomes culturalized as a lawyer. Similarly a person becomes socialized as a teacher, physician or other occupational or professional personality type. Thus arise the behavior traits of thinking legally, anatomically, artistically, mechanically, or in terms of dollars and cents. During the adult period of socialization, traits are of course built up in just as stable a manner as are the responses of childhood. We may add, however, that adult culturalization constitutes at once a more thorough and mature contact with institutional stimuli. Among the reactions acquired are various manners of doing things, handling objects, using techniques, judging and evaluating things, persons and circumstances, etc.

Naturally, the later and earlier culturalization processes are different in detail. Not only does one's later culturalization involve one's original acquisition of cultural reactions, but it demands also the transformation or replacement of earlier cultural responses. Very frequently the individual drops or changes in the adult period former behavior traits. It is to be especially noticed that when the later loci of culturalization are exerting their influences upon the individual, he may voluntarily enter social or cultural groups. To a considerable extent then culturalization in the later periods and the resulting behavior acquisition depends upon whether the individual desires to undergo certain domestication.

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The details of the culturalization process vary enormously. Contacts with institutional stimuli are brought about by various means. Each period of the individual's social reactional biography involves a number of specific conditions. We have already indicated that sometimes the person merely finds himself inevitably in the presence of particular institutions, while in other cases he may himself choose to come into relation with certain cultural stimuli objects. Following this lead we may divide off the types of culturalization into two large divisions, namely, the casual and deliberative forms. By considering each type in relation with the earlier and later loci of culturalization we have in all four types of domestication.

Early Casual Culturalization.—Probably in the earliest culturalization period all the individual's contacts with his institutions are casual. The sheer presence of the kind of acts and objects around him induces the acquisition of particular kinds of responses. Hence all of the person's early reactional equipment is unwittingly acquired and without effort. At this stage of development the dynamic organism is extremely active and quick to perform all sorts of responses. Again, the simple behavior circumstances of the individual preclude the existence of competing qualities of cultural objects. Thus the culturalization results are inevitable. There is no other way to refer to things except in the language of the parents or nurse. Nor is there any alternative to acting in the manner observed. The exception here decidedly establishes the rule. When a child is partly in the keeping of a nurse whose culturalization differs from that of the parents there are various inhibiting conditions. Hence, the culturalization of the child may be a cross between that of the two types of responses performed by the parents and the nurse.


When the parents are artistic and the home surroundings include aesthetic materials such as original or reproduced art objects, pictures, statuary, music, etc., the personality undergoing development will inevitably include aesthetic reactional equipments. Original tastes, appreciations, and aesthetic attitudes have their insidious origin in this early developmental situation. An interesting observation here is the infantile development of the child of literary parents. To such a child the handling of books seems to be the most obvious and necessary event in the world. Long before the infant can read, books become definite features of his behavior world, beginning first with the perusal of illustrations. Children of musical parents make playthings of musical instruments. Hence we read in so many musical biographies that the individual undergoing socialization learns to use instruments without formal training. Similarly, the child constantly surrounded by mechanical objects manipulates them, centers his play about them and very early develops a mechanical bent or personality.

Other illustrations in great numbers, exemplifying this casual type of culturalization, may be observed by anyone studying the genetic development of an infant. Quite casually the individual assumes most of his more lasting and identifying behavior traits. In addition to becoming a particular kind of linguistic, artistic, or inventive personality, he may acquire characteristics of politeness, criminality, self-assertiveness, and so on. While no doubt most of the traits that the individual possesses when his personality development is complete are cultural in character, his social equipment develops along with his non-cultural psychological equipment. In fact, these different types of personality acquisition reinforce each other, and as we shall see, also exert modifying influences upon each other.[1]

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Early Deliberate Culturalization.—The deliberate form of early culturalization we may regard as fairly coincident with what is called in every-day language, child training. Essentially, this is a situation in which the older members of cultural groups (in this case the primary parental group), attempt to control the genesis of the personality equipment of the younger members. To a very considerable extent the process is one of prescribing what should or should not be done. Attempts are constantly made to induce children to acquire conventional conduct. They must be clean and neat, obedient, deferent to their elders, speak grammatically, etc. On the other hand, children must not appropriate things belonging to others nor destroy anything, and so on. In all the innumerable training situations parents or nurses function as agents for the induction of their charges into the proper psychological collectivities.

Another variety of the deliberative type of early culturalization consists of the studied attempts of parents and guardians to provide examples of the cultural behavior of the sorts of groups to which they desire the children to belong. It is in this connection that older members of the parental group deliberately alter their own personalities in the presence of children in order to keep before the developing individual the modes of conduct which it is desirable for them to emulate. From our standpoint this activity on their part is a process of putting the children into contact with behavior institutions. It is entirely analogous to the situation in which parents contrive to expose their children to particular kinds of institutional stimulations by putting them into certain schools or sending them abroad.

An extremely interesting situation occurs when the control of culturalization remains on the side of the developing personality. Naturally this form of domestication cannot be found in the very earliest periods of personality growth. Frequently, children deliberately strive to imitate persons they

( 278) admire and thus acquire similar conduct. In this case notice that owing to the ignorance of the child concerning the kind of behavior equipment acquired, the actual acquisitional process may readily be idiosyncratic. It is only in the resulting cultural personality, therefore, that we have here an illustration of the development of cultural behavior equipment. It is important, however, for us to take note of this particular situation since it indicates the close connection between cultural and non-cultural types of psychological phenomena.

Adult Casual Culturalization.—Casual adult culturalization is well observed in migrational situations. In such cases, the culturalization stimulates somewhat the corresponding type in the earlier period. When an individual moves from one group to another he comes into contact with various institutions to which he acquires corresponding social conduct. The general result is a type of conformity to the cultural existence of the new group without question or deliberate effort on the part of the already culturalized individual. To consider first national and ethnic migration, the person is culturalized by acquiring the dress, speech, and manner reactions of the new group. The sheer availability of new stimulational objects brings about new casual culturalization. Unlike the case of early casual domestication, adult individuals are aware of the circumstances they are in and appreciate the development they are undergoing, at least to a certain extent. The difference in the situation, however, must be regarded as the basis for a very different type of psychological phenomenon, but this is not meant to deny that in certain instances adult casual culturalization corresponds very directly to the casual development of equipment in the earlier stages. On the whole, the adult phase is very unimportant in comparison with the total process of early domestication. This is apparent of course from the fact that after all, migration is a restricted circumstance in the psychological life of persons.

The most striking as well as the most important casual

( 279) culturalization of the adult type occurs when the individual enters some of the numerous collectivities within the large national or ethnic groups. Upon becoming a member of a professional or occupational unit, contacts with the institutions of those collectivities induce the building up of cultural personality equipment in an essentially casual manner.

Adult Deliberate Culturalization.—Deliberate adult culturalization may be divided into prescribed and intentional personality development. In entering a political, professional, or occupational group, for instance, we discover a definite attempt on the part of a collectivity, of particular individuals, to force upon the new member responses represented by the etiquette, ethics, professional and occupational techniques, of those groups. One cannot be an acceptable member of these organizations without conforming very definitely to their customs, beliefs, attitudes, and other ways of acting. When we consider all of the associations to which individuals must as a matter of course belong, we observe adults constantly undergoing prescribed culturalization. In other words, whether our societies are simple or complex, persons are constantly building up traits which are forced upon them.

Among the best examples of intentional acquisition of cultural traits are those in which individuals form associations to escape the culturalization they would be compelled to undergo in other groups. To illustrate, during a war, collectivities develop, who under the slogan of conscientious objection, dissociate themselves from those who submit to the institutions of the war group. It is possible that this phenomenon really consists of a solidification of a non-closely knit association of individuals into a more definite collectivity because of the need for resistance to what are regarded as obnoxious institutions.

We may look upon this whole situation in the following manner. Frequently persons are members of certain associations, to the institutions of which they conform more or

( 280) less, as long as the conformity is not made overt. Such persons are loyal when no strict test of cohesion with national or other groups is made. But as in the case of war, when actual loyalty conflicts with another type of culturalization, or with some non-cultural form of behavior, then resistance is shown. It is in this sense that the loose connection with a certain type of institution and group is completely broken or solidified in the manner indicated.

Comparable situations are found in many different forms of human activities. Religious groups are frequently formed, merely to escape the culturalization that would be forced upon one if one remained in a distasteful religious group. Among such voluntary organizations are also to be listed lodges, fraternities, political parties, clubs, etc.


It is quite plain that culturalization in its details constitutes a series of ubiquitous and unceasing processes. Now it is quite to be expected then that we might discover more or less definite methods of their operation. By methods of culturalization we can properly mean nothing more than that culturalization occurs in a decided and distinctive way. At most we can say that in a certain situation culturalization takes place in a comparatively different manner than in some other.

The process of culturalization may also be said to entail the employment of instruments. Especially in some of the deliberate culturalization situations we may isolate definite instruments which are used to make individuals build up particular types of cultural behavior. At first blush one hesitates to believe that human organisms during their behavior acquisition can be so effectively handled as the use of tools would imply, but this is undoubtedly the case.

Of course, instruments of culturalization are not what we

( 281) ordinarily mean by the word. Institutions are not always things as in other situations. They may be merely the subtle whisperings of approval or disapproval. In this case, the tools of domestication consist of behavior, though most effective in their use. Such tools are distinguished, too, by the lack of necessary intention in their employment. They frequently are manipulated without the express knowledge even of the user.

Because we are dealing with behavior situations it is not surprising that frequently the methods of culturalization cannot be distinguished from instruments. Both merge with the stimulus and response background to constitute the socialization circumstance. In many instances, however, definite things serve as instruments which are manipulated with a succinct method for the production of desired types of cultural personality. As such an instrument we may cite a school curriculum and its employment as a distinct socialization method.

Early Culturalization Methods and Instruments.—Because in early infancy domestication is practically identical with the individual's psychological development we may hardly speak of methods at this period. Certainly there is no more intentional handling of the infant beyond providing him with particular cultural objects and situations in the way of an ordinary human environment. However, since the individual's traits and attitudes are none the less determined, we may regard the use of methods as having its beginnings here. As instruments we may consider the particular objects about the home, such as toys, dress, food, pictures, etc. The contacts of infants with these objects must, of course, be entirely casual.

Somewhat beyond the very earliest of these culturalization months more definite socialization methods are discernible. For example, in inducing infants to assume certain manners such as not interrupting conversation, greeting people properly, not being shy, being quiet and reserved, more concrete

( 282) instruments are employed. Corporal punishment plays its part here, as well as frightening children in various ways. An especially effective method is the invocation of rivalry and achievement motives. These different forms of inducing cultural development are supplemented by various types of bargaining and cajolery. It is evident that all these culturalization methods are the same as are employed in the general parental supervision of behavior acquisition.

Upon reaching the distinctly childhood period, culturalization tools take on a decidedly definite form. Here the schools constitute the principal and most effective instruments. From a psychological standpoint the school in complex collectivities is almost exclusively an instrument designed on a grand scale to induce individuals to build up behavior of conformity with the group. It is through the school that individuals become like others in their intellectual capacities (whether high or low), in their group pride and loyalty, conventional tastes, etc. An observation of the school curriculum in various groups, either the democratic sameness of public schools or the privileged exclusion of private establishments, indicates what schools are designed to accomplish. In the insistence of Catholic collectivities upon their own schools, in which individuals are made to supplement their book learning or skills with the acquisition of moral and religious traits, we have a definite example of the instrumental character of the school.

Close competitors to the school as instruments of socialization are various ceremonials and rituals which function in all societies and operate throughout the development and behavior life of individuals. Probably the best instances are observed in simpler societies in which such ritualistic practices really preempt a place occupied by schools in more complex communities. In much simpler civilizations we find that ceremonials are deliberately made use of by the group in order to force upon younger members very distinct and valued traits of conduct. By such means the individual is

( 283) made to take on the essential characteristics of bravery, courage, wisdom, dignity, and responsibility which mark him as a worthy member of the collectivity in question.

Notice, however, that in complex societies, ceremonials function just as effectively in the process of culturalization. Intricate societies of every variety have their full complement . of initiations, confirmations, graduations, and other rituals and ceremonials, which keep members of specific communities alert to the necessities of their personal requirements and mark the successes with which they achieve the desired domestication.

Statues and monuments correlate very closely with ceremonials and rituals as instruments of socialization. For such objects serve to induce in individuals love and reverence for persons who as members of certain groups have performed feats of valor, justice, etc. These objects as well as other commemorative and celebrative symbols are set up primarily to achieve unity and loyalty in a group. They operate, however, as definite implements of behavior development.

Late Culturalization Methods and Instruments.—Among the instruments for adult culturalization we find both general and specific varieties. The former serve to induce general responses of conformity to the collectivities in which the individual finds himself. For instance, through the use of various culturalization tools it is designed to form the character, ideals, tastes, aesthetic attitudes and moral habits of individuals. The existence of these instruments is made especially evident when one fails to heed their function. However, they are none the less definite means of inducing individuals to achieve certain types of behavior traits regarded as necessary or desirable in a particular collectivity.

Although one is never overtly told what one must do in the way of developing personality equipment, there is no mistaking the reward of approval or the lash of disapproval on the part of certain members of the group. On the basis

( 284) of one's amenability to culturalization one is ostracized or socially accepted by other individuals. All of those subtle factors referred to by sociologists as intangible forces of social control constitute the machinery for adult culturalization. They not only induce the acquisition of general social attitudes but they determine that the individual must develop specific forms of behavior. The power of public opinion as a socialization instrument requires no special descriptive elaboration. Its effect is no whit minimized even if it is true that what is regarded as public opinion is something set up as such by the individuals concerned.

Supreme among the tools of adult culturalization is the printing press and its products. While the products include books and journals the newspaper properly stands at the head of the list of social instruments. It is quite unnecessary to point out how the ideals, beliefs, loyalties and other traits of a distinctly cultural type are forced upon individuals through the reading of newspapers. Let us notice that their powerful effect is derived from the fact that without them there would be no stimuli for a great many actions at all. It is only through the printed page that the majority of individuals have any contact with political, social, economic, and other types of objects. It is quite readily seen, then, that the newspaper can function as a definite instrument to induce the acquisition of attitudes, beliefs, habits, and thought with respect to all phases of human circumstances.

Various sociological organizations such as trade unions, churches, lodges, and fraternities likewise assume a prominent place in our list of socialization instruments. These organizations are not only objects in which cultural stimuli inhere for certain psychological collectivities but they are also tools for inducing ideas, ideals, and other modes of conduct. The culturalizing character of these anthropic objects is an independent property, though interrelated with their unique sociological qualities as well as with their functions in stimulating

( 285) behavior. No one can overlook the striking effect they have in inducing conventional conduct, such as the acquisition of loyalty, reverence, protection, etc., with respect to religious traditions, workers' ideals, or to the general human values of military, scholastic or other collectivities.

Families and clans employ symbols and traditions as definite means of moulding cultural personalities. Through such tools persons are made to acquire behavior centering around a web of traditions and values calling for loyalties, conformities, and other activities designed for the preservation and continuity of the family or clan.

It is impossible to overlook the powerful instrumental nature of economic advantage or control for the achievement of specific culturalization effects. These tools are employed by the men who own or control industries in such a way that they have power to train and educate the people along specified lines. Such training, however, goes beyond the acquisition of capacities or techniques for the purposes of industry. It forces individuals to think and act along political lines both with respect to government (democrats or republicans) and industrial control (unionists or anti-unionists).

In recent years it has become a common observation that propaganda of various types constitutes a formidable element of social life. It is inescapable therefore that propaganda in the sense of a deliberate attempt to spread information and induce ideas and beliefs should become one of the most potent of all instruments of culturalization. It is obviously one of the most deliberate forms of developing psychological traits. As a distinctly psychological fact, propaganda consists of the process of forcing stimulating conditions upon persons in an extremely large variety of ways. Advertising in its various forms, the searching out and spreading of information, the establishment of museums and less permanent exhibitions, are all forms of culturalization instruments. It is probably not necessary to specify that propaganda includes all ranges

( 286) of stimulation from the subtle suggestion of veiled insinuations to the most blatant announcements. But we might add that propaganda is equally instrumental in producing rapid and temporary results, as in the case of socializing persons to believe in a military campaign, as well as in achieving durable and even permanent effects.

The treatment of propaganda as a culturalization instrument leads us to consider the great influence of language as a tool of domestication. To be sure, propaganda in many ways is itself a type of linguistic implement. Language as such must also be regarded as a similar instrument. For the spread of ideas and the induction of feelings through information and personal discussion is an important feature of the deliberate culturalization process. Besides we must include here the highly organized forms of linguistic tools as found in teaching, preaching, and lecturing, in which individuals bring about in others desired attitudes as well as the acquisition of custom and social habit responses. In these various fashions are built up tolerances, intolerances, loyalties, disloyalties, socalled spiritual and religious tendencies, etc. On the whole we might consider the linguistic type of instrument as one of the most important of all the culturalization tools, whether we insist upon its autonomy as a direct instrument or whether we think of it as an indirect mechanism having a place in every type of culturalization process.

It will probably appear somewhat far-fetched to think of laws and codes as instruments of culturalization. But we must not ignore the fact that laws and codes can have no existence or viability without the reciprocal acceptance and obedience by individuals. Accordingly, they perform distinctly psychological functions. Whether laws are regarded as the formulation of custom and usages already existing or whether they are prescriptions for new forms of behavior, in either case they stimulate the development and continuation of particular forms of cultural behavior. In consequence, we

( 287) must look upon them as definite culturalization instruments. As compared with laws, which are concerned with more restricted governmental group behavior, codes cover a wider range of specific traits of conduct. Codes prescribing the ethical standards of the professions or dictating the behavior of commercial and industrial organizations definitely lead individuals to enter into a particular social status.

Unintentional but none the less effective instruments of socialization are found in many of the anthropic conditions of sets of persons. Thus for example we have already had occasion to refer to the effect which machine industry and processes have in building up types of cultural mentality. A most effective agency for determining the social mentality of persons is the isolation of groups and their lack of communication with other collectivities. Such segregation definitely conditions the anthropic character of a group. The presence or absence of certain actions or institutional objects, determines in turn the type of temporary or permanent traits the individuals in question will have.


Cultural personality development as an incessant feature of the socialization process is naturally subject to certain general hindering and aiding conditions. It is quite fitting therefore to close our chapter on culturalization with a brief enumeration of some of the more prominent conditions operating to further or retard the development of cultural qualities. We may apportion our discussion on the basis of the stimulus and response circumstances.

On the response side we must mention first that the present personality status of any individual may serve effectively to promote the culturalization process. On the whole, as we have already had occasion to remark, the absence of traits of any kind means a rapid and smooth development of some par-

( 288) -ticular type of cultural equipment. In such a case the individual is prepared for any kind of personality development. The absence of equipment is therefore a sort of negative aid in culturalization. In case the individual has already acquired considerable personality equipment, these traits are possibly similar to those to be taken on. In such an instance the previously possessed equipment constitutes a favorable condition for the assimilation of a given form of social conduct. Culturalization on this basis is a much quicker and more effective process than otherwise would be the case. For instance, it is much easier to acquire ideas and language responses, in short, every type of cultural reaction, when they resemble closely the responses one has already learned. Agreeable equipments, even when non-cultural in character, are quite liable to function as helpful circumstances in culturalization.

On the stimulus or institutional side we find aids for cultural development of a negative type in the absence of disturbing or hostile institutions. If everyone about us accepts some sort of religious creed we cannot be prevented from acquiring belief in such an institution ourselves. More positive conditions are the presence in our cultural milieu of stable and more accepted institutions of many kinds. In such cases we have already seen that the culturalization of the individual along certain lines is practically inevitable. Opportunities to be in contact with certain institutions and knowledge of their existence are, of course, necessary and favorable conditions for the development of particular cultural traits.

A somewhat more extraneous type of culturalization condition we find in the circumstances which make our contacts with certain institutions possible or impossible. If we are socially unable to belong to a particular collectivity we cannot take on the behavior traits of the members of that group since we have no opportunity to be influenced by their special institutions. Economic conditions and circumstances likewise provide or prevent opportunities for coming into contact with institutions. Those who cannot afford to go to college, to

( 289) travel, and purchase books only encounter the institutions in their immediate surroundings. On the whole, if a college is near at hand persons are more likely to attend it than if they are at some distance from it. Thus the fact of accessibility of a certain set of institutions has a tremendous influence upon the type of cultural personality one becomes.

Hindrances of culturalization are of the same general types, but opposite in their effect. On the personality side, an individual who has already acquired opposing responses to certain objects cannot readily if at all take on certain forms of behavior equipment. Already being a Methodist, it is not as easy to acquire the religious traits of a Catholic as it would be without such traits. An atheistical person cannot easily be won over to any particular form of religious group. A scientist confirmed in the beliefs of a certain school cannot be induced to acquire favorable attitudes toward a contrary doctrine. Generally speaking, too, idiosyncratic behavior equipment constitutes a decided obstacle in an individual's socialization.

Furthermore, the person who is in contact with many collectivities and who is therefore subject to many kinds of contrary stimulation is very liable not to be culturalized in any particular way. Not being dominated by any specific kind of socialization process, such individuals find themselves outside the pale of restricting culturalization. As such they are surrounded by the optimum conditions for developing unique idiosyncratic personality equipment rather than conventional behavior traits. It must be added, however, that contacts with several types of institutions, when not too numerous, may result in the development of personality equipment representing crosses between various forms of collectivities.

Patent hindrances of socialization inhere in various conditions and circumstances that in general interfere with a person's psychological development. Here we may cite the biological factors such as maldevelopment and underdevelopment or general ill health.


  1. It is interesting to compare this casual process with a similar development of idiosyncratic reactions. Consider the child whose parents carelessly leave various sums of money lying around. The child takes some, is not observed, develops traits of cunning, and gradually "criminal" responses are built up.

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