anticipatory socialization

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Adoption of attitudes and values of a group to which one does not belong, serving the twin functions of facilitating a move into that group and easing the process of adjustment after becoming a member of it. The concept was popularized by the US sociologist Samuel Stouffer (1900–60) and several co-authors of the monumental study of the US Army entitled The American Soldier (1949), in which it was reported that privates in the army who accepted the attitudes and values of the officer ranks were more likely than others to be promoted, and it was subsequently analysed in detail, in relation to reference groups, by the US sociologist Robert K(ing) Merton (1910–2003) in his book Social Theory and Social Structure (1957). Subsequent researchers found evidence that the working-class parents of children who are destined to be upwardly mobile within the class structure tend to hold, and to pass on to their children, the attitudes and values of the class into which the child is destined to move. See also socialization (1).

Subjects: Psychology.

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