Nature, Culture, Ruin: Toward an Alternative Conception of Socialization

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Zohreh BAYATRIZI, University of Alberta, Canada, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
This paper argues that a narrow reading of Durkheim’s legacy as well as constraints imposed by the need to institutionalize sociology in the US after WWII led to a narrow and one-sided account of the process of socialization that is still common in sociology, despite decades of theorizing informed by post-structuralism, feminism, and psychoanalysis. This dogma pervades introductory textbooks where we expose students to basic, widely accepted sociological teachings, representing the sociological consensus. In this narrow account individuals are still portrayed as blank slates that submit to socialization with little or no resistance. Tension, conflict, oppression, and resistance are all wiped from these accounts. My paper argues that a re-reading of Durkheim, especially his ‘Dualism of the Human Nature’, enriched in light of insights from Simmel and Freud, reveal that Durkheimian sociology was never meant to produce a conflict-free process of socialization. I will draw on these classical writings to offer an alternative conception of socialization that is more conflictual, more realistic, and inevitably darker.