Homework help > Compare and contrast formal and informal agents of... > Published by: CPA Guru 3 years ago
By: CPA Guru
Subject: Social Science

Compare and contrast formal and informal agents of socialization. Provide examples. ...[Show More]

3 years ago

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Socialization is how people adopt societal beliefs, norms, and expected behaviours. Adopting such societal beliefs and behaviours is driven by formal and informal agents. Formal agents refer to institutions and organizations that are tasked with socializing people. In contrast, informal agents are those not tasked with socializing people, but they still play the role of socialization, which entails shaping people's behaviour and attitudes (Hernandez,2020).

Formal agents of socialization include institutions such as the media, schools and religious entities. These are the groups given the mandate to socialize individuals. According to Hernandez (2020), formal agents have a laid-out procedure for how socialization is done. They are governed by set rules which guide their activities. For example, in a school set-up, the educational institutions are guided with a curriculum on how knowledge should be dispensed. Also, there are rules to guide students before impacting discipline to students. The mode of discipline is anchored on formal procedures that ensure conformity with norms and values.

Informal agents occur daily, for example, while interacting with friends, peers, and the community. Any formal procedures or rules do not guide informal agents, and they are elusive and less unequivocal, but they equally shape people's values and behaviours (Hernandez,2020). An example of an informal agent of socialization is a young child who learns sharing and cooperation by engaging with his fellow children while playing together. A child may also learn the concept of hard work by observing their parents work hard to provide for them. Music and television can also act as informal agents since they expose individuals to different beliefs and ideas. In summary, formal agents of socialization are guided by procedure and rules, whereas informal agents are not.


Hernández, J. L. (2020). Formal and Informal Agents of Socialization: A Comparison. Journal of Education and Practice, 11(1), 1-9.

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