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Socialization is a key concept, concerned with the ways in which people of all ages become social beings able to participate as members of particular societies and social groups, large and small. This is understood to be a major feature of experiences in early life in particular. As the term implies, it particularly draws attention to the significance of the social dimensions of human experience, since without human contact, children do not acquire language or become recognizably human. But the way in which this concept is theorized implicates different perspectives concerning social life and society, with significant consequences for childhood studies, and these may be referred to as the socialization paradigm. This entry defines socialization, explores why the concept has at times been critiqued, and ...

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