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Child Dev. 2010 May-Jun;81(3):687-709. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01426.x.

Integrating different perspectives on socialization theory and research: a domain-specific approach.

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  • 1University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3, Canada.


There are several different theoretical and research approaches to the study of socialization, characterized by frequently competing basic tenets and apparently contradictory evidence. As a way of integrating approaches and understanding discrepancies, it is proposed that socialization processes be viewed from a domain perspective, with each domain characterized by a particular form of social interaction between the object and agent of socialization and by specific socialization mechanisms and outcomes. It is argued that this approach requires researchers to identify the domain of social interaction they are investigating, to understand that phenotypically similar behaviors may belong to different domains, and to acknowledge that caregivers who are effective in one type of interaction may not be effective in another.

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