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John West Publications Limited John West House 7, Esther
Osiyemi Street Ilupeju Lagos
P.M.B. 21001, Ikeja, Nigeria

P.O. Olusanya & Lai Olurode and John West Publications Ltd

All rights reserved', No part of this publication may be reproduced stored in a

retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form of by any means, electronics,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or other-wise without the prior permission of
John West Publications Ltd.
First published 1988

Typesetting by: Adebayo Fashakin, Samuel Adepeju, Modinat Odesesan

and RuebenNuatin
Original Cover Design and Graphic by: Kehinde Oshiyemi

Printed in Nigeria by:

John West Printing Division

ISBN 978-163-069-8


Is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Lagos where he has been
teaching since 1969. He specializes in urban sociology and has published
articles in learned journals worldwide. He is a holder of the Commander
of the INiger (CON). He served as a Federal Minister of Works in the
Adebagbo, S.A.
Initiated the Diploma Programme in Social Development and
Administration in the Department of Sociology, Uni lag. He has written

extensively on the subject. He is a Senior Lecturer in Social

Administration. He co-authored the book Family and Social Change.
Together with Dr. Ogbru, he carried a commissioned research on the
Situation and Care of the Elderly in Nigeria for the Federal Government.
Is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Lagos. He
holds a D.Phil from the University of Sussex in Britain. He has worked
extensively in the areas of Sociology of Development Urban Poverty,
Environment and Political Economy. His recent publication include
'What is Political Economy? He is a co-author of a book to be published
soon: A frica's Urban Poor.
Teaches in the Sociology Department, Unilag as well His areas of
specialization are Sociological Perspective on Labour. Relations,
Stratification and Class as well as Theory. He has published In Local and
International journals, one of which appeared recently in the Foreign
Affairs Report.
Oloko O.
Holds the Ph.D from Harvard University and is Head of Sociology
Unilag. He is a major contributor of papers to international and national
journals of management and sociology on such subjects as labour
productivity, work motivation, commitment, incentives etc and on their
relevance to Nigeria's economy and society His most recent work
Employment and the Nigerian Society is being published by
Publications, Nigeria.
Teaches in the Department ot h Sociology of the University of Lagos
He holds the B.Sc and M.Sc degrees of the Universities of Ibadan and
Lagos respectively. His area of specialization is Sociology of Social
Problems, He has contributed articles to textbooks and learned
joumals.He is at The moment writing his doctoral thesis in Sociology,
Taiwo 0.0
Holds an M.Sc degree from the University of Ibadan. His area of
specialization is Values in Social Science and Thought System which he
leaches in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lagos,

Babatunde E.Q,

Teaches Family and Religion m the University of Lagos He holds a

D.Phil degree from the University of Oxford in Britain. He has
contributed articles to learned journals, both locally and internationally.
Holds an M Sc degree in Sociology from the University of Lagos. He
has contributed articles to the Nigerian Magazine. He teaches the
Sociology of Economic Life and Research Methods in the Department of
Sociology. He is a member of many scholarly associations such as the
Nigerian Anthropological and Sociological Association and the Nigerian
Economic Society.


THIS volume is written fora number of reasons. One is the country's
economic situation which bas made the production of the material
requirements of social life difficult. When the civilian administration
imposed a series of austerity measures in April 1982, book importation
into Nigeria was not spared. As in other spheres of Nigerian life, the
simple lesson here, as succeeding administrations have repeatedly
stressed, is that 'Ve must look inwards." This volume is just one attempt
in that direction.
Another reason is the need for relevance. For many years. Nigerian
sociology students relied (and many regrettably, still do) on foreign
books Due serious disadvantage of such books is that they use foreign
and unfamiliar examples which make little sense to African readers.
Although a few sociology textbooks written by Nigerians have in
recent years been published, each has its peculiar objective and serves a
particular interest. Moreover, none of these, needless to say, can he said
to duplicate the oilier in the strict sense of the word. Even when they
treat common topic, the details provided arc bound to he different and
m a way supplement otic another.
Finally and most importantly, the book is aimed at giving the
student a good understanding of, and an ability to look critically and
meaningfully at, his socio-cultural environment It is our belief that this
objective can be achieved through familiarity' with the elements of
sociology, a subject which was taught for many years under the course
title "Elements of Social Relations (popularly called ESR.) in the
Department of Sociology of the University of Lagos.
It is, perhaps, pertinent to quote from the detailed description of this
course to illustrate its scope and importance for the understanding of
This course introduces the student to
the field of social sciences.............. It
prepares him both for other social
sciences and for tho various areas of
specialisation in sociology..... (It in-

eludes) a study of the nature, scope,

methods and relevance of social
.....the value, limitations and problems
.....culture and personality...
The course proceeds to the
demographic and ecological elements of
social structures, and then lo analysis of
social institutions....This introduces the
student to the political economic,
familial, religious and educational
elements of social systems. Society is
studied in its processes of conjunction
and disjunction, in its conformity and
deviancy, and in its pat terns of change,
Finally, the course constantly
exemplifies its scientific concepts from
Nigerian/African life, and students are
to express their understanding of
concepts by applying them to the
analysis of NigerianAfrican social

The spirit of ESR is kept alive in the collection of essays in this

The completion of this book coincides with the departure from
academic life of a senior colleague who was the founding and acting
head of the Department of Sociology- Professor J. B. Schuyler. He
first arrived at the University of Lagos in July 1963. After a brief stay,
he returned to the United Stales of America. On the 28 th of September,
1966, he was back m the University, founded the Department and
remained its acting head until 1975. With neither a secretary nor a
typist, he worked assiduously to put the Department on a sound
foundation. He also acted as the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences
for a while. Professor Schuyler did so much not only for the
Department of Sociology but also for the Faculty and the entire
University in its formative years that no tribute paid to him can be
considered too great. It is for these reasons that the contributors have
decided to dedicate this book to him.
There were, undoubtedly, a number of shortcomings within the
University system which Professor Schuyler had wished and hoped in
vain would be put right in the interest of the students in particular and
the continued search after knowledge in general. In this regard, Karl
Marxs over a century ago remains valid even today:


Men make their own history they do

not make it just as they please; they do
not make it under circumstances

chosen by themselves, but under

circumstances directly encountered,
given and transmitted from the past.
We ate, however, convinced that Professor Schuylet left with the
deep siil is faction that he had contributed his quota
Many people have contributed to the successful completion of this
book, but for space contributed only a few can be mentioned. First our
sincere appreciation goes to the entire secretarial staff of the
Department of Sociology, particularly Mr. Tunji Adelegan, tot typing
some of the preliminary drafts and some of the final chapter*, We must
not forget to mention and thank Mr, S.O. Kehinde for his immense
secretarial assistance. Mr. Kehinde was for several years the secretary
af the I )epartment of Sociology and continues to take interest in the
activities of ihe Department The vital rale of a prop played by
ChiefDele Olaniyi, (ieneral Manager, John West Publications, must
also be acknowledged. Because of our heavy load of academic work,
the completion of the manuscript would probably have taken several
months longer than it did bul for his prodding, and for this we thank
University of
Lagos April, 1987



Chapter 1
Introduction by P.O. Olusanya and 'Lai Olurode

Chapter 2
Social Science as Science by 'Lai Olurode


Chapter 3
Man and Culture by O. Taiwo


Chapter 4
The Individual in Society by O. Taiwo


Chapter 5
The Family in Contemporary Africa by E. D. Babatunde


Chapter 6
Population within the context of Family
Structure and Functions by P O. Olusanya


Chapter 7
Education and Society: The Nigerian Case
by Bayo Ninalowo


Chapter 8
The Economy as a Social Institution by O. Soyombo


Chapter 9
The New Urban Sociology by O. Aribiah


Chapter 10
Politics and Society by 'Lai Olurode


Chapter 11
Religion and the Problem of Order by E.D. Babatunde


Chapter 12
Public Bureaucracy in Post-Independence Nigeria
By O.OJoko
Chapter i3
Social Class/Social Stratification by O.A. Aina



Chapter 14
The Meaning of Social Change by N.Nwabueze


Chapter 15
Social Problem and Social Policy by S.A. Adebagbo



A VOLUME devoted to introductory sociology requires that the word
sociology' itself be clearly understood. Sociology has been variously
defined and, Like other concepts in the social sciences, it has not been
defined in a way that is universally acceptable. In fact, the definition of
sociology is as varied as the number of persons Aho nave attempted to
define it
Harry M. Johnson (1962: 2-4) gives the following definition:
"Sociology is the science that deals with social groups: their internal
forms or modes of organisation, the processes that tend to maintain or
change these forms of organisation, and tho relations between groups,"
He goes further to say that "sociology is concerned with interaction
itself. A social group is a system of social interaction."
T. B. Bottomore (1967:20-22) does not actually define it; he merely
explains and from the explanation one gets an idea of what his
definition would have been. According to him," sociology.,, was the
first science to be concerned with social life as a whole, with the whole
complex system of social institutions and social groups which*
constitutes a society. The fundamental conception, or directing idea, in
sociology is that of social structure.' 1 He also refers to it as the "study
of human society "
Although Nicholas S. Timashetf (1964: 4) defines sociology as "the
;study of society on a highly generalised or abstract level, which does
not convey much meaning to the beginner, he goes further to explain
what society itself means. "So. in a preliminary way, society may be
defined as men (human beings.) in interdependence" To him, sociology
"is interested in what happens when men meets man; when human
beings form masses or groups; when they cooperate, fight, dominate

one another, persuade or imitate others, develop or destroy culture. The

unit of sociological study is never tin individual, but always at least
two in-individuals somewhat related to one another.
Kingsley Davis (1964:4) also sees sociology as the study of

society and, like Timasheff. Explain what society itself means. "The study of human
society involves the study of culture and culture "embraces all modes of thought and
behaviour that are handed down by communicative interaction -i.e by symbolic
transmission -rather than by genetic inheritance. It is what we lean from others through
speech, gesture, and cxample, aa opposed to what we acquire through heredity.
Finally, one of the founding fathers of sociology, Max Weber, defines the subject as "a
science which attempts the interpretative understanding of social action in order thereby
to arrive at a causal explanation of its course and effect (Weber, 1947:88) Action,
according to him, include all human I )chaviour. Action is social in so far as, by virtue
of the subjective meaning attached to it by the acting individual (or individuals), it takes
account of I he behaviour of others and is thereby oriented in its course.
How different are These definitions and explanations? A careful Analysis win show
that there is no fundamental difference between them although many a reader will still be
left wondering as lo what exactly Sociology is. For example, there is probably no
disagreement that Sociology is the study of human society variously referred to as
social life, "social groups, "social institutions, social structure,' "human
interdenpence and "social system." Perhaps nobody will dispute the fact (that the study
of society, social life or social groups involves the study of human interact ion. that is,
interaction of members of groups that constitute society.
The problem Which arises from this point, however, is that other distinct social
science disciplines such as economics, and government deal with human interaction. One
point which is dear from the various definitions that have been put forward (which arc
correct in themselves though not very enlightening as to the exact subjects covered) is
that definitions are often not very helpful and have to be supplemented with explanations
to make them more explicit.
These explanations have been either in terms of drawing distinctions (which arc often
confusing to the beginner) between sociology and related disciplines (Durkheim, 1904;
Martindale, 1970: 6- 15) or by listing and explaining the subjects which arc supposed to
be covered (Otite & Ogionwo, 1979;Oyeneye & Shoremi, 1985). Such subjects usually
include the main institutions of society (such as the family, the economy, government,
religion and education) major social groups (e.g, crowd, class, ethnic, communities),
culture and the nature of man. The basic social processes (e.g. conflict and cooperation,
stratification. Social change and social disorganisation, deviance and social control)
and social policy or some variations of these.
Such distinctions or listings as the above do not give the budding sociologist a rule of
thumb which he might use in determining what subjects are exclusive to sociology out of
the total range of subjects dealing with human society. Economics, for example, deals
with the production and allocation of scarce resources. Government deals with the
allocation and exercise of legitimate power. These and others involve human interaction.
In this, connection, Bottomere (1967: 20) says: "In recent year, the numerous studies of
political parties (organisation, bureaucracy, leaders), of pressure groups, of elections and

electoral behaviour, and of public administration (bureaucracy, elites), have been

conducted or inspired by sociologists. These studies make up a large part of the current
research on political institutions, and it has become increasingly difficult to distil Wlish
between political science and political sociology." This kind of overlap is, of course,
neither unusual nor peculiar to the social sciences. Applied mathematics, for example*
borrows from or overlaps physics in the area of mechanics while physics borrows the
idea of chemical read ion in the area of electricity. However, this fact does not
necessarily make the distinction between sociology and other social science disciplines
The problem becomes even more serious when the beginner in the field of sociology
comes across a subject not covered by the above list. Today, sociology has increasingly
spread its tentacles to non-traditional sociology subjects and it is not uncommon, for
example, to fin subjects such as sociology of work, sociology of ageing, sociology of
sports and sociology of art. This gives the impression that because of the common
subjects sociology shares with other disciplines, what its practitioners do is arab those
subjects which are not the core of other disciplines. As Bottomere (1967: 19) puts its "in
the domain of research, there has been some inclination io concentrate upon residual
subjects, which art; not claimed by any of the social sciences, and which have a 'social
problem' character."
But this should hot necessarily be so. The problem of making the province of
sociology absolutely clear is perhaps (at least partially) resolved by Max Weber in his
definition of the word given above which concentrates on social action' 1, that is,
emphasis is outside the contest of any established discipline, the interpretation of this
action being based on some sort of mutual expectations of the interacting individuals
provided in n general kind of way by the society's normative system.
However, the meaning of sociology need not be divorced from the context of
established disciplines in order to make it dear. The example
uf primitive man before his activities became complex enough lo attract specialised
interests of various agencies will per haps make clear, first the "society" focus of
sociology and secondly, the fact that it has a distinct perspective which gives it a place
among social science disciplines. Primitive man with his clan constituted a virtually selfsufficient unit He led the group in the daily routine of gathering food and hunting for
animal I Ic allocated the clan's resources, settled its quarrels and led the group in sk i
rmishes with hostile neighbours. He also led them in rituals 10 appease Iheirgods.
From the sociologist's point of view, how he and his elan gathered their food
(economic activity) or how he apportioned blame or rewards to members of his group for
their acts or directed the day-to-day activities of the group (government), or the gods
they worship (religion), or how various tasks were taught or some useful knowledge
imparted (education) arc activities which are important only in so far as they influence
and are mil uenced by the social interaction among members of the group In other words,
more important from the sociological perspective is the way in which these activities
(which arc undifferentiated in homogeneous primitive societies) contribute towards the

realisation of the group's objective of maintaining its integrity, that is, preventing or
containing the fuctions or disharmony normally arising from human interaction so that
members of the group may pursue their various interests with minimum disturbance.
Thus sociology does* not merely examine 'residual' subjects but any subjects since
they all arise from human needs and are products to human interaction Jn other words,
they are part of the joint effort order society. In short, sociology is concerned with how
societal order is maximally maintained as a result of the inculcation in man from early
childhood (socialisation) of rules of behaviour (norms) governing the various group
activities whether they are economic, political or religious. It is these rules (hat make it
possible to predict behaviour with a reasonable degree of accurate or the expectation that
these rules will he largely kept. And it is (lie search for such rules, the way they operate
within groups - be they economic, religious, political or familial- that interests the
sociologist. These rules may not (and certainly do not) endure because of societal
dynamism and are even subject to constant infringements by an insignificant proportion
of people while they are useful. But the general rule remains until change has rendered
them so obsolete that they suffer large-scale infringement
These rules or codes are what sociologists refer to as institutions; that is, established
modes of behaviour that guide group interaction. A set of
these rules or institutions make the social system elaborated as follows by Talcott
Parsons (1970.5-6): ",.,a social system consists in a plurality of individual actors
interacting with each other..,actor who are motivated in terms of a tendency to the
'optimization of gratification' and whose relation to their situations, including each other,
is defined and mediated in terms of a system of culturally structured and shared
' Therefore, when we refer lo the economy, government, religion, the family and the
school as institutions of society, we have in mind the established forms of behaviour
within each. For example, the focus of sociological interest in the family is not the fact
that there is a man called father or husband, and a woman called mother or wife with
their children, but the roles they perform or arc expected to perform, by virtue of their
position, within the framework of established family norms which are, in general, aspects
of societal norms. These norms, which can often be inferred by observing the members
(or position holders) interacting, determine in a general son of way the mutual
expectations of the interacting members. These roles are linked in a kind of network
which is referred to-as a system - she family system.
A few illustrations will make the sociological perspective clear. Take the family
again. What food it normally has for breakfast or what its monthly budget amounts to, or
whether the mother of the house sells soft drinks as a result of the sharp rise in the price
of beef and the consequent low demand in a depressed economy is of little interest to the
sociologist although vital pieces of information for the nutritionist or the economist But
when, for, example, there is a serious breach of th& norm of fidelity on the part of the
mother of the house so that she is sent away, the system in which she performs the role of
mother and wife is disrupted and a chain effect is set in motion affecting the smooth
running of the family until the problem generated by the breach is re solved somehow,

then the family becomes a source of interest to the sociologist.

Still on the family, take a situation when: the commercial activities of the mother
take the major part of a day so that she returns home late in the evening everyday This
purely economic activity may lead to inadequate care of the children so ill at they have
unlimited freedom to associate with bad company and imbibe bad habits and delinquent
ways. This may further implications for the well doing of the family as a unit.
Take, as a final example, hoarding, an economic phenomenon arises from scarcity
and high demand and the desire to price and so make maximum profit. The question
which is of interest to an economist might include its effect in further restricting supply
and consequently raising price, A sociologist on the other h Aid is likely to be interested in
how the difficulty imposed on the family (e g, insufficient income to ecu er basic
household needs) is likely to affect its functioning (e g in terms of discord between the
head of household and the others, the possibility of finding alternative means, legal or
illegal, to supplement the family income, etc). These problems may in turn rebound on
the economy. The economy-society interrelationship is thus exemplified.
The foregoing explanation applies at higher and more inclusive levels 11 uin the
family. It applies wherever people hold positions (status) whether ma political,
educational or industrial system.
A few salient facts can be distilled from the foregoing discussion:
(1) society as a whole constitutes the field of sociology.
In other words, any human activity, he it economic, political,
religious or educational, can be analyzed from the sociological
( 1 ) This perspective is one which regards as the focus of sociology the
issue of order in society, that is, the way in which the various
human activities are ordered or patterned on the b A&is of societal
values and norms. Put in other words, the articulation of the
diverse human activities which societal or group nouns provide (in
spite of inevitable dislocations here and there resulting from
clashes of interests) yields patterns of regularities which are the
basis of interpretation and expectation or prediction of social


The concept of roles attached to positions i s crucial

because it determines expected behaviour within the general
framework of societal nouns.

In the collection of articles is this volume, the authors attempt to introduce sociology
in a way in which it is easy to comprehend From a simplified presentation of the
philosophical foundations of the social sciences in general and sociology in particular,
the authors take the reader through the subject of culture, the main institutions of society

social d ifferentiation and change and finally to social problems and social policy.
In Chapter 2. 'Lai Olurode discusses a highly controversial subject which is at the
same time central to the social sciences -social science as a science, or the claim it has to
being regarded as a science. The author highlights: some of the problems encountered in
attempting to apply the methods of the natural sciences, to the study of human behaviour,
that is, that human beings can be influenced by the social researcher and that they can
lake a brand and change their minds at will regardless of any societal norms. This is in
contrast to the natural science.
A natural scientist, the author reminds us, is neither interested in, nor can he
influence unconsciously, the behaviour of his object of study. And the author gives the
example of the thermometer which reads under different climatic conditions in a
determinate son of way regardless of how the investigator feds. On the other hand, "the
object of study of the social scientist may give responses that are regarded as
conventional even when these do not reflect his actual behaviour."
While it is true that human behaviour is complex and difficult lo predict, it is
possible to overstretch this shortcoming of the social sciences. Human behaviour is nol
altogether irrational; it is, in fact, not largely irrational. As already stressed above, some
consistency or pattern can often be discerned, otherwise anarchy would re suit in the dayto-day interaction of human being.
An example will make this clear Studies of the factors influencing attitudes to family
planning in, Nigeria have invariably shown a consistent pattern of relation ship between
attitude and educational status with persons who have had secondary education or more
being the most favourably disposed to the idea of family limitation (Olusanya. 1971:
646-7; 1981: 86-100; Okediji, 1967: 76; Caldwell, 1968. 123) This pattern has been
repeated so often that it is clear that although some of the respondents in each case might
have given false responses, the responses of the vast majority can be relied upon. This is
a pattern of verbal behaviour that is expected on the basis of the reasonable assumption
that education not only enlightens but increases its beneficiary's readiness to adopt new
Another example is taken from data analysis. It also concerns shared attitudes among
a group of related individuals which facilitate "data processing in addition to making
generalisations^ possible. An inexperienced investigator may probably think that the
numerous responses expressed differently by hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of
respondents are all actually different. One fortunate fact which reduces the bewilderment
arising from these various responses is that usually many person share the same opinions
on the same issues, .ilthough when expressing these opinions use different words.
Therefore, lather than have fifteen to twenty or more categories of responses to a given
question, we normally have a few where most of the respondents answers arc
concentrated (Olusanya. 1985:95).
Take a third and final example. The behaviour of Lagos City drivers ai the wheels
can be interpreted on the basis of the chaotic traffic (which is itself the result of bad town
planning, lack or inadequacy of telephone facilities, the concentration of offices in ono or
two areas, etc) and the concomitant effect on their behaviour. Their nerves are always on

edge and they arc always so tensed up that they curse and shout at one another at the
slightest excuse and arc ready to take advantage of one another. Their tenseness has
various additional causes ranging from the fear of letting late to work, or for a vital
appointment which may involve the loss of millions of naira in terms of contract missed,
to mere exhaustion from long driving, all of which have been mistakenly summed up by
the mi litary regime in the single word, indiscipline,
Even the moat cultured gentleman (or lady) is hard put it to control his temper - and
his tongue. Any person familiar with Lagos traffic will agree that although isolated
individuals may be able to weather any of such occasions without losing their beads, it is
possible to predict what the behaviour of the majority of drivers would be - shouting at
the agent(s) of the chaos, taking unauthorised sidewalks, driving against oncoming t
raffic, converting a two-lane road into a five-Sane one and thus blocking the movement
of on-cumingvchicbs etc, arid thus causing more chaos which only the timely arrival of a
traffic warden or a good Samaritan on the scene will el ear.
The fact still remains, however (as indeed the above examples suggest), that the
danger is ever present that the subjects of a social research may deliberately or
unwillingly mislead the social scientist, or behave in away that is unexpected on the basis
of the rules governing that action, Rut most do not mislead or act "irrationally most of
the time; when they begin to do this, it mean the rules governing that action arc due for
overhaul and replacement, This, in short is why social scientists persevere in spite of all
Perhaps a more important consideration is that social science sets the scientific
method ai an ideal which its practitioners strive to attain. By scientific method is meant
the systematic application of the Principles of observation (science is empirical) and
generalisation (it is theoretical) with the aim of extending previous knowledge. Social
science strives to do these It also strives lo make unbiased observations as well as check,
and reduce bias through various, statistical techn iques and non-statistical
Methods as Lai Olurode stressed ill several points in his article, however, the severe
shortcomings of social science (e.g, lack of universal applicability of its laws, the issue
of behavioural irrationality, subjectivity in the choice from contending plausible
explanations of phenomena) cannot be over-emphasized and should constantly remind us
about the need to strive at all times to reduce the problems of observation, interpretation
and predict ion.
The related subjects - man and culture and the individual in society -arc examined in
Chapters 3 and 4 by 0. Taiwo. In the former, he explains in a very lucid manner the
meaning of culture both in its ordinary sense and from the sociological perspective, and
al various points stresses the inseparability of man, and culture. In concluding the paper,
he defines some of those sociological concepts which students do not easily under stand.
The latter focuses on the individual and the process by which he becomes a social
being, that is, through socialization, a very important concept in sociology which the
author e-xplains carefully. Two very important subjects which tie up with the concept of

"socialization' are the relationship between the individual and society (that is, the extent
to which a person's behaviour and activities are constrained by his social environment?
and what has come to be known as the "nature - nurture"controvery, that is, the debate as
to which exerts more influence on man's behaviour - his heredity (innate nature) or his
environment (nurture or socialization) This rather out-mooed controversy ii carefully
presented and illustrated by the author.
The thrust of the article, "The family in contemporary Africa" (Chapter5) by E .D.
Babatunde is the changes which African families are undergoing as a result of
industrialisation. This is a subject which"is very interesting and at the same time topical.
The authors prescription for the problems generated by these changes reflects the
current thinking on the subject in Nigeria: "Unless the African sense of commitment to
the community is reinforced with his conviction that success in life is not measure
merely in terms of success in one's profession but more particularly in terms of one's
success in one's role as parents, then the price for industrialization will be high on the
African family, and by extension the African society. "In pursuing this issue, however,
the author, mindful oi the purpose which his article is expected lo serve, has skillfully
woven into the presentation a detailed explanation of some of the terms commonly
employed in family sociology. In Africa in general and Nigeria in particular, population
as an academic discipline is relatively unknown. In Chapter 6, P. O. Olusanya takes up

this issue and explains the nature of the link between population and the social structure.
The article sees population in terms of family structure and functions and its growth in
terms of changes within the family
Specifically, it deals with how growth occurs in the human population, the main
sources of population statistics, population composition and issues relating to population
growth and characteristics, particularly population and development interrelationships,
the role of f amily planning in the attempt by the family to adjust to the changes being
progressively imposed on it by the forces of urbanization and industrialization, and the
sensitive nature of this topic in the African context deriving from the fact that it touches
on the very existence of the traditional family. All these issues are presented in such a
way That they at e meaningful to the non-specialist
'Bayo Ninalowos article on education (Chapter 7) is largely a critique of the
functionalist view of education (e.g. the absence of a consideration of the "inherently
conflict-generating potential of structural inequalities" and its assertion that the
educational system ultimately promotes equality) and cursorily it discussion of the
system in Nigeria: against the background of this critique.
In presenting this approach and its radical alternative, however, the author refers to a
number of questions which sociology usually asks and issues which it discusses: the
relationship between social background pf children and school selection and

performance, attempt lo educational opportunities through, free education and similar

measures; inequalities in educational "opportunities as a factor in the reproduction and
perpetuation of;structure class relations, how such structural inequalities constitute
breeding grounds for social conflict and instability in society, (he societal impact of the
dislocation between outputs of educational institutions and job opportunities, now an
educational system maybe used lo reproduce and consolidate structures of domination as
in the case of the colonial system of education and finally, the role of formal education in
helping society to reproduce itself by inculcating dominant social norms and values in
students from primary to tertiary institutions.

It will be clear from the above questions and issues that while there is no doubt that a
detailed knowledge of the system as well as content of education in a country would
enroll die sociologists ability to explain and predict the consequences of actions and
decisions in the education sphere, this knowledge is not the focus of his attention.
"The economy as a social institution" which is the title of the article contributed by
Omololu Soyombo (Chapter 8) defines the economic
institution as the institution concerned with the production and distribution of goods and
services which arc essential for the survival of man. In addition to enumerating the
functions of the institution bu(h for the individual and the society in general, the article
emphasizes the relationship between the economy and other social institutions such as
the family, the polity, education and legal institutions.
In order to facilitate the study and understanding of the economy and to appreciate the
variations that exist in the structure and organization of economic systems in different
societies, the article provides a detailed analysis of various modes of classifying
economic systems, highlighting and explaining the basic differences between them.
AH the other articles in this volume with the exception of chapters 2 and 7 deal
mainly with substantive issues Chapter 9, "The new urban sociology" by Oberu Aribiah,
therefore seems to stand out among the others because it is mainly concerned with the
issue of approach to urban sociology lather than with the issue of what urban sociology is
However, in its present form it serves a useful purpose. Tt initiates the student into
the kind of "storm in a tea-cup" which goes on all the time in the field of sociology and
indeed in the social sciences in general. And it is just as well that students get used to it
from the outset; that is. get used to the fact mat although the ultimate objective of
sociologists is to understand social phenomena, they pursue this in different ways
because of the complex nature of social interact! on and the subjective decisions of
different investigators.
According to the author, attempts at explaining the reciprocal influences of urban
ecological structures and social relations that arc peculiar to the city are at the centre of
urban sociology. The orthodox approach,, rooted in the research activities of the Chicago
School between the two World Wars, is concerned with the correlation between

ecological factors and social disorganization. Therefore, the most important urban space
is the neighbourhood or 'natural area' because it constitutes the most important location
within which individuals live their lives as members of a social group. The forces of
culture conflict and social disorganisation are also most clearly visible in the
neighbourhood. In this regard, the concern of orthodox urban sociology with social
disorganization arises out of the search for ways to sustain a moral consensus as the
foundation of social stability m situations of rapid population growth, high density and
By the 1950s, the focus of urban sociology had narrowed down to paid descriptive
studies of little communities with hardly any attention being paid to the wider issues of

The 'New Urban Sociology arose to question (he theoretical adequacy and empirical validity of
the orthodox approach- The ensuring debate has been earned on from the perspective of Marxist
political economy (minded on the basic Assumption that the modem city and urban way of life is the
product of modem industrial capitalism. It is argued that a sociology of the modem city is valid only if
it places conflict rather than consensus at the centre of urban analysis. The important issues arc I hose
of class, ideology, and the conditioning effect of the economic- substructure on the organization of
urban space and allocation of urban icsources between social classes. In short, the most fundamental
difference between the too perspectives is that while the orthodox researchers perceive the urban
system as resting on consensus, neo- Marxists see class conflict to be endemic to urban process in
capitalist societies.
The author thinks that although Marxist urban sociology has reminded combative without achieving
the level of coherence attained by the orthodox approach', aspects of class analysis could throw useful
light on (he study of social relations in the Nigerian city. What this suggestion amounts to id that both
approaches have something lo gain from each other As a my tier of fact, the ^Masses do not deny the
fact that there is consensus, while the orthodox sociologists do not assume that all is wen all the time.
The last two sections of the article provide a very useful summary for readers who arc interested more
in the substantive difference between orthodox and neo-MarxistpositionS.
Chapter lOby 'Lai Olurode tackles directly the issue of the perspective of sociology and employs it
in conjunction with theories of the state as an organising principle in this examination of polities. These
ideas about the state he illustrate with a discussion of the political evolution of Nigeria, particularly the
emergence of political parties, the reasons advanced to explain their regional or ethnic character and
scope, the main factors which account for political instability and the role of the military in post i
ndependence Nigerian politic.
In Chapter 11, E. D. Babatunde examines religion in terms of its dysfunction in society. Religion
he defines as beliefs and practices concerned with the sacred and activated by a moral community. This
definition introduces a paradox: the fact that religions concern themselves with instilling morality and
attitudes which are expected 10 promote orderliness and harmonious co-existence. Some studies which
illustrate these functions of religion are identified. Yet a lesson of history is that religion has been the
cause of many conflicts and sufferings to
institution as the institution concerned with the production and distribution of goods and services
which arc essential for the survival of man. In addition to enumerating the functions of the institution
bu(h for the individual and the society in general, the article emphasizes the relationship between the
economy and other social institutions such as the family, the polity, education and legal institutions.
In order to facilitate the study and understanding of the economy and to appreciate the variations that
exist in the structure and organization of economic systems in different societies, the article provides a
detailed analysis of various modes of classifying economic systems, highlighting and explaining the
basic differences between them.
All the other articles in this volume with the exception of chapters 2 and 7 deal mainly with
substantive issues Chapter 9, The new urban sociology by Oberu Aribiah, therefore seems to stand
out among the others because it is mainly concerned with the issue of approach to urban sociology

lather than with the issue of what urban sociology is

However, in its present form it serves a useful purpose. Tt initiates the student into the kind of
"storm in a tea-cup which goes on all the time in the field of sociology and indeed in the social
sciences in general. And it is just as well that students get used to it from the outset; that is. get used to
the fact mat although the ultimate objective of sociologists is to understand social phenomena, they
pursue this in different ways because of the complex nature of social interact! on and the subjective
decisions of different investigators.
According to the author, attempts at explaining the reciprocal influences of urban ecological
structures and social relations'that arc peculiar to the city are at the centre of urban sociology. The
orthodox approach,, rooted in the research activities of the Chicago School between the two World
Wars, is concerned with the correlation between ecological factors and social disorganization.
Therefore, the most important urban space is the neighbourhood or natural area because it constitutes
the most important location within which individuals live their lives as members of a social group. The
forces of culture conflict and social disorganisation are also most clearly visible in the neighbourhood.
In this regard, the concern of orthodox urban sociology with social disorganization arises out of the
search for ways to sustain a moral consensus as the foundation of social stability m situations of rapid
population growth, high density and heterogeneity.
By the 1950s, the focus of urban sociology had narrowed down to paid descriptive studies of little
communities with hardly any attention being paid to the wider issues of theory.
The New Urban Sociology' arose to question (he theoretical adequacy ;md empirical validity of
the orthodox approach- The ensuring debate has been carried on from the perspective of Marxist
political economy founded on the basic Assumption that the modem city and urban way of life is the
product of modem industrial capitalism. It is argued that a sociology of the modem city is valid only if
it places confl ict rather than consensus at the centre of urban analysis. The important issues arc I hose
of class, ideology, and the conditioning effect of the economic- substructure on the organization of
urban space and allocation of urban icsources between social classes. In short, the most fundamental
difference between the too perspectives is that while the orthodox researchers perceive the urban
system as resting on consensus, neo- Marxists see class conflict to be endemic to urban process in
capitalist societies.
The author thinks that although Marxist urban sociology has reminded 'combative without achieving
the level of coherence attained by the orthodox approach', aspects of class analysis could throw useful
light on (lie study of social relations in the Nigerian city. What this suggestion amounts to id that both
approaches have something lo gain from each other As a my tier of fact, the JMasses do not deny the
fact that there is consensus, while the orthodox sociologists do not assume that all is wen all the time.
The last two sections of the article provide a very useful summary for readers who arc interested more
in the substantive difference between orthodox and neo-Marxistpositionl
Chapter lOby 'Lai Olurode tackles directly the issue of the perspective of sociology and employs it
in conjunction with theories of the state as an organising principle in this examination of polities. These
ideas about the state he illustrate with a discussion of the political evolution of Nigeria, particularly the
emergence of political parties, the reasons advanced to explain their regional or ethnic character and
scope, the main factors which account for political instability and the role of the military in post

independence Nigerian politic.

In Chapter 11, E. D. Babatunde examines: religion in terms of its dysfunction in society. Religion
he defines as beliefs and practices concerned with the sacred and activated by a moral community. This
definition introduces a paradox: the fact that religions concern themselves with instilling morality and
attitudes which are expected 10 promote orderliness and harmonious co-existence. Some studies which
illustrate these functions of religion are identified. Yet a lesson of history is that religion has been the
cause of many conflicts and sufferings to

An attempt is made in this article: to highlight the basis of the difference between
the pattern of expectation and the behavioural pattern (i.e. conflict) occasioned by
religion. It is suggested that material concerns rather than deep spiritual drives often
introduce the Conflict di mention of religion,
Olatunde Oloko in Chapter 11 discusses the extra-organizational social systems
which exert co-service influence on bureaucrats - an influence which affects adversely
their efficiency and effectiveness in the discharge of their bureaucratic role obligations.
Thy author makes only a passing reference to the bureaucratic phenomenon in Nigeria,
but from his discussion of the socia-cultural context of Max Weber's theory of
bureaucracy and of the influence of social systems on bureaucratic behaviour, a good
deal can be deduced about the operation of bureaucracy here. The author finally
suggests some techniques of motivation which can lead to u transfer of allegiance from
extra-organisational social system to bureaucratic ones in order to make bureaucracies
"homes away from homes" and thereby enhance their efficiency and effectiveness.
Regardless of the way in which particular sociologists see the formation of strata or
positions in society, these strata or positions are there and the effects this arrangement of
persons in them has on social relation? can be analysed and interpreted. This hierachical
placement of individuals in the social structure is the concern of Chapter 13.
In discussing this subject, Tade Aina examines the different perspectives in the
sociological analysis of social sir&tificabon. As he puts it, "Some emphasize the
element of evaluation by the actors in the situation of inequality. Others emphasize the
functions of the system of inequality, while for others still, social stratification simply
involves a continuum of social ranks based on the consensus of all involved and
generating little or no conflict. This last position is vehemently opposed by another
perspective, for whom the phenomenon of social stratification "involves...polar and
opposed conditions of conflict possibly leading to t Mange." The meaning of social
stratification comes out clearly in the author's explanations of the concepts that are
essential to its understanding.
Finally, in terms of relevance, the author considers social stratification in Africa and
concludes that although the past on the continent was characterised by the "mere
existence of an educated elite juxtaposed against the undifferentiated masses "the
situation is changing. However, as he cautions. The issue of consciousness and
Oiganization is a different matter. But what cannot be denied now is that c lew-cut
divisions along class lines exist bold in the ownership of property in market-situation
and in life-chances in Africa.
The message of the article by N. Nwabueze- titled ."The meaning of social change"
is clear: society is subject to constant change. What change itself means is obvious from
his definition: "...social change means the modifications or alterations which the social
structure or aspects of it undergo m toe process of human interaction with one another

and with the non-social environment." The nature of this change is underlined by the
words "social structure or aspects of it" In other words, we gather from the article that
the change does not involve total transformation of society and that "a certain amount of
persistence in some of its features" is necessary "for if to,., project itself into the future
to ipake for continuity. As the author puts it, "social change occurs within a context of
relative social stability and persistence.
The various kinds and theories of social change are examined by the author in
considerable detail.
It is increasingly being felt that in order to absolve themselves from the charge of being
downright doctrinaire as y result of devoting much of their effort to what is and why and
what will probably be which the nature of Social science as a science implies social
scientists should also concern themselves more and more with what ought to be or
policy issues if their discipline is to be of any use to mankind. In fact, although Auguste
( omte, the founding father of sociology was for a long time left in the lurch, he bad
hoped to employ its laws in reorganizing society. Hence tho importance and relevance
of Chapter f, "Social problems and social policy" by S. A. Adebagbo
The article begins with definitions of the concepts employed and then proceeds to
an examination of three broad background factors in the emergence of social problems personality, the physical environment and the social environment. According to the
author, some specific factors such as technological development and urbanization have
drastically affected African traditions and customs through which the less fortunate
members of the community were protected and cared for by the family, clan or ethnic
group. The growing numbers of maladjusted persons, the physically and mentally
handicapped and old people in need of support compelled action rust by private
organizations and subsequently by public agencies.
The article also highlights the major social problems in Africa (e.g. rapid population
growth and urbanization, unemployment, poverty, poor health and nutrition, youth
problems and juvenile delinquency) and
the social policies and programmes designed to cope with them (e,g. family
planning and other programmes designed to slow down the rate of population
growth, social security schemes, rural development, health schemes, education).
However, emphasis in Africa is being shifted from the curative or remedial
approach to social welfare borrowed from the West to the preventive and
developmental approach. In this way, social policies and programmes might be
able to cope successfully with the impact of unprecedented rates of change,
In concluding this introductory chapter, it is pertinent to mention that
sociology is perhaps still the most abstruse and unfamiliar of the social sciences.
The uncertainty about the subject-matter of sociology on the part of the
enlightened public and the highly educated in Nigeria stenls partly from the
lateness in*, introducing tSe discipline to Nigerian Universities and partly because,
unlike disciplines such as economics arid political science which deal with two

major activities of government that impinge on the lives of people, it is to the

uninitiated a diffused sort of subject the real content of which is lost in a haze of
words. In other words, it is seen as a collection of high-sounding words devoid of
substance - full of sound and fury signifying nothing.As a matter of feet up to the
early 1960s and perhaps beyond, educated persons charged with recruiting senior
staff for the civil service would insist that sociology graduates were suitable tq
work only in social welfare.
The foregoing is therefore* an attempt to distill the contributions in this
volume and provide a link which, ori the one hand, is expected-lo further facilitate
an understanding of their content, and. on the other, hiring oqt more overall those
aspects of human society that are of particular interest to the sociologist. In doing
ibis, we hope that we have succeeded also in making clear the fact that sociology,
rather than*being a discipline which has Jo do with 'left-overs', has its own
distinct subject matter This point will be further demonstrated in the detailed
articles whichfollow.


hottomore, T. B.(1967)Sociology: A Guide to Problems and Literature.
I ondon: Unwin University Books.
C sddwell, J. C. (1968) Population Growth and Family Change ill Africa t nnberra; The
Australian National University Press,

Davis, Kingsley (1966) Human Society. New York: Macmillan.

Durkheim Emile (1904) "On the relation of Sociology' to the Social Sciences and to
philosophy. Sociological Papers (London), I (Cited in T. B. .Bottomore, op. cit. page
Johnson, Harry M (1961) Sociology: A Systematic Introduction London: Routeledge &
kegan Paul
Martindale, Don (1970) The Nature and Types ofSociological Theory. London:
Routledge & Regan Paul.
Okediji, F. o. (1967) "Some social psychological aspects of fertility among married
women, in an African city," Nigerian Journal of Economic and Social Studies. Vol9. No.
Olusanya P. 0. (1971) "Status differentials in the fertility attitudes of married women
in two communities in Western Nigeria" Economic Development and Cultural Change
Vol. 19, No. 4.
Olusanya, P. O. (1981) Nursemaids and the Pill, University of Ghana, Population
Studies, No,9, Population Dynamics Programme, Legion.
Olusanya, P.O.( 19R5) Handbook of Demographic Research Methods for African
Students, Lagos: Olu-Nla Publications.
Otite, O and Ogionwo, W (1979) An introduction to Sociological; Studies Ibadan:
Heinemann Educational Books.
Oyeneye, O. Y and Shoremi, M O. (1985) Nigerian Life and Culture: A Boot of
Readings, Department of Sociology Ogun State University.
Parsons, Talcott (1970) The Social System, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Timasheff, Nicholas S (1964) Sociological Theory: Its Nature and Growth (Revised
edition) New York: Randon House.
Weber, Max (1941) The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. CollierMacmillan: London and The Free Pres of Glencoe.
As a branch of the social sciences, sociology was coined by Auguste Comte in 1838.
Comte, a French philosopher, lived between 1798 and 1857. He was preoccupied with
how to find solutions to the problem of social order of his lime. He \fras a collaborator of
Saint-Simon. Using a framework he required from him, Comte synthesised the disparate
strands of positivist thought into a vast systematic whole. This diligence won him greatest
reputation than did the originality of Saint-Simon.

The influence of both Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte on the science of society is so
great that their contributions deserve to be elaborated upon. Both agreed that the natural
and immutable laws of progress were as necessary 35 the laws of gravity. The work of
Auguste Comte and Saint-Simon could be correctly said To be responsible for the now
widespread belief that the field of human behaviour could be brought within the
jurisdiction of science. Saint-Simon held the view that it was possible to achieve a total
comprehension of the phenomenal world v
Though tho two expressed a disregard for metaphysical knowledge as opposed lo
positive knowledge, they did not totally abandon metaphysics. In identifying three stages
that intellectual development, which corresponds to specific social development, must
follow, Saint-Simon actually related the structure and movement df mis process Lo the
interests and activities of specific social classes. He insisted, more than anyone before him
that human behaviour must be studied by applying the substantive concepts of physical
science. Throughout his work, Saint- Simon maintained that a unified theory of natural
and human behaviour was indeed possible. "He strongly believed in the a prior method
and that a general law had already been found for both human and physical phenomena.
Comic on his part regarded society as an organic whole. The whole of hiN formulation
could be Said to real on his law of progress which was described as follows:
From the study of me development of human
intelligence, in all directions, and through ail times the
discovery arises of a great fundamental law to which u
is necessarily subject, and which as a solid foundation
of proof, both in the facts of our organisation and in our
historical experience. The law w this: that each of our
leading conceptions - each branch of our - knowledge passes successively though different theoretical
conditions: the theoretical or fictitious, the
metaphysical, or abstract, and die scientific, or
positive(Rossides, 1978:
I le stressed that it was only in the sphere of social phenomena that positive science
remains to exert itself. He equally held the view there cx ists a natural law that man must
In his discussion of the three stages of social development, Comic displayed a great
preference tor the historical method. He recognised the fact that social .phenomena are
much more complex than physical phenomena. He made a distinction between what he
called social strides and social dynamics. His analysis of social statics was based on his
assumption* that society, government, and the individual are natural structure containing
inherent and spontaneous attributes and functions. Social statics thus involved the study of
the existence of the society - the main fact of static is order. Social statics becomes il
study of the relation ship between the parts of the sociaj phenomena. Harmony is the
main concern of social statics. Social dynamics on the other hand deals with the study of
the laws of succession. The main focus is on social change rather than stability and order.
Social dynamics employ the historical method as opposed to the methods of observation
and experimentation employed in the study of social static Social dynamics is thus the
study of the continuing movement of society or Study of the laws of the succession of
individual stales. The main fact do of dynamics is progress.
Whether looked at m terms of their formulation of the different stages which every

knowledge and society must pass through or with regard to the discussions on social
statics and dynamics, it can he said that much of sociological theorising on methodology
has not shifted much. Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer arid even Rostow owe a lot to the
Simonian-Comtian formulation of. stages of development of society and of knowledge.
Sociology has since been described as The science of society. Thus according to
Chinoy (1967) 'Sociology seeks to apply to the study of man and society the methods of
science. The application of the scientific method has been one issue with which not only
sociology but all the disciplines under the label Social Sciences" have concerned
themselves But we may ask the question: What is science?
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica the word "Science 1 is a Latin word which
means knowledge. Science is defined as a body of tested facts and concepts that
satisfactorily interpret natural phenomena and disclose causa! relationships and ... a means
for discovering such facts and principle and for applying them in the solution of problems
(p. 17), Chinoy (1967) stresses, that science in modem times has been defined as anybody
of knowledge based upon reliable observations and organised into the knowledge of
general proposition or laws. Thin is opposed to the knowledge gamed through speculation
or intuition. Chinoy however recognises the fact that scientific knowledge itself may
begin as lunch es that agitate the mind.
Max Weber in a speech delivered at Munich University in 1918 also recognised this
fact that the occurrence of idea may sometimes be predicated on hard work but not usually
so. The idea may not even occur to us when we most want them but during unexpected
occasions-such as w hen relaxing, when smoking or when drinking. Weber stressed the
fact that the occurrence of an idea is one risk ,of scientific pursuit. (From Max Weber,
1982, ppl29-156).
Once an idea occurs to us, for it lo have scientific claim it must consist of classes or
types of phenomena as opposed to individual events. To quote Chinoy apin Science is
concerned with the repetitive pattern, the shared attribute or characteristic, those things
that events or elements or trees or persons have in common (p.5) Science thus reals on the
philosophical assumption that nature is ordered and science consists of propositions that
are logically related and which can be subjected to empirical proofs.
Science thus involves systematic and "unbiased 1 observations According to the
Encyclopedia Britannica, "The examination of records if observations by trained minds
leads to classification; from glassifications general rules or law are deducted, these laws
may be ipplied to further observations; failure in correspondence between new
Observations and accepted laws may result in alterations of the laws; and Ihese alterations
lead to yet further observations, and so on: This is usually held to constitute the method of
science" (p. 7)
One question that has persistently bothered the minds of scholars is how scientific
social science is. In answering this question we must state that one big difference between
the physical scientist and the social ^scientist revolves around the object of study of the
two. The social scientist deals with human beings-living beings-on whom he can exert
some influence during the course of investigation. Some people have, however, argued
that this is not enough to explain the low degree of success in the application of the
scientific method so far attained in the social sciences since natural scientists have
argued that the same difficulty exists in quantum mechanics where the investigator has an
unavoidable effect upon the object of study.. (Sayer, 1984, p. 213).
It must be accepted, nevertheless, that the difference in the object of si udy really

Constitutes a big problem for the social scientist. This is more so because people are selfinterpreting beings who can learn and change their interpretations so that they can act and
respond in novel ways, thereby producing novel stimuli for subsequent actions... their
actions do not stand infixed relations lo them, precisely because they are mediated by the
ways of seeing available to them, and these can vary enormously The development of
knowledge itself can therefore change its own object in social science 1 (Sayer, 1984 p.
Thus seriously speaking, the natural scientist is uninterested in the behaviour of his
object of study-say, for example, how the thermometer reacts under different climatic
conditions or the moment of the fish under water or how an acid react with a base.. The
social scientist on the other hand influences his object of study and vice versa For

example, the outcome of a study of women at work may he influenced by the. researcher's
involvement with one of the ladies under study. The responses that the researcher gathers
for analysis may be similarly affected. This implies that the object of study of the social
scientist may give responses that are regarded as conventional even when these do not
reflect his actual behaviour. The mere presence of the social scientist
may tremendously affect the behaviour of the respondent. There are related problems of
what the respondent thinks we want to make out of the research. In a recent survey of the
Political Economy of Armed Robberies by the present writer, most of the condemned
armed robbers interviewed stated that they had never smoked or taken alcohol, a statement
which seems incredible, A respondent may exaggerate his financial responsibilities it he
assumes that the purpose of an inquiry is to reduce his tax burden
The social scientist is thus in a very difficult position lo ascertain the truth' if ever it
existed. The best he can do is probably to balance responses by his own observations of
the conditions of the respondent. This characteristic of the social sciences has earned it a
lot of comments as to whether objectivity is ever possible in its study. Before we go into
this difficult topic lei us deal more with some of the characteristics of science
Max Weber did compare a work of art to a scientific work. The latter according to
him is campaigned to the course of progress. A work of art on the other hand is a genuine
fulfillment and is hardly antiquated. In science, what is fur example accomplished today
will be antiquated in ten, twenty or fifty years time. Thus every scientific discovery
raises new question to which answers must be found Science, as Weber argued, never
comes to an end; it is constantly revolutionized. The same applies in the social sciences,
unsatisfactory as they are.
As important characteristic of science is its universal application. The curlier social
scientists had thought that their theories should have universal application if such theories
did not apply, the reason could not be in any faulty conception of such theories but in
those to whom the theories have been applied, the most representative of this position is
Talcott Parsons The general Theory of Action.' (Parsons, 1951). This position informed
(and till informs) some of th racial thinking about the colonised world.
All these have worked to impose serious limitations on the science of society and take
us back to the vexed issue of objectivity to which we hope to return soon. These
limitations mean in part that the social scientist cannot predict accurately as he has no
access to all the information that may help to guide his pre Aietions. Even it he docs. IT
may not be the 'best' information required.
But granted that there are difficulties, science is still useful in respects. Science can be
pursued for practical purposes. Thus embark on a scientific inquiry tor the sake of
knowledge and nothing more even though ones scientific discoveries may lead to


8nd icchnical successes. It must, however, be recognised that increasing Intel Actualization and
rationalization do not necessarily indicate an Increased and general knowledge of the conditions under
which we live. Icience is also useful because it brings about the disenchantment of the Universe. It
makes it possible to understand the world in a rational 1 way. It disabuses our mind of established
explanations which rnay not necessarily possess any cause-effect analysis. For example, through the
Application of the scientific method, we have been able to knoy/ that the cause of high matemal/child
death in Africa may not be necessarily due to an angry god but to the age or socia- economic status of
the mother. In demography, it is now an established fad that the age of a woman may mean a Iqt to
whether she would have a derive influence on mortality and fertility Abo the application of rigorous
social scientific methods has. clearly demonstrated that western technology does not necessarily imply
development or a happier society. The scientific method itself is not 11 rived at by intuition but by data
gathering, observation experiment and comparison.
As we have already mentioned, one area of concern for the social scientist is the degree of objects
attainable in the discipline under the social sciences. The reason for the low level of objectivity, as
already discussed, is the object of study itself- human beings who are capable of entering into
meaningful interact ions with others including the investigator. Some of the other problems relate to the
issue of conceptualization; that is, concepts employed in social investigation do not always have
specific meanings across societies.
I )efinitely, the level of objectivity attained in the pure sciences is by far higher than what has been
attained in the social sciences. The reasons are now clear. Max Weber was one of the few scholars to
raise the issue of objectivity Weber m his Science as a Vocation (Weber, 1 982) referred to the practice
in Western German universities where lecturers' pay Depended on the number of people that enrolled
Tor their course Then it was not enough to be a good scholar: one must be a good teacher as well i ,e be
able to draw large crowds.
But whether One is able to draw large crowds or hot was a measure of what Weber called external
things - temperament and even the inflection of the lecturers voice - he then went on to express a
dislike for courses that draw large crowds since the lecturer might have resorted to teaching what was
popular as opposed to what was'scientific.' And in The German Universities of Weber's time whether
one' is a good or a poor teaches answered by the enrolment with which the students condescendingly
honour him (Weber. 1982. P.133)

In their own ways Emile Durkheim (1964) and Talcott Parsons had tried to demonstrate how
possible it was to attain objectivity by applying the scientific method. Durkeim's (1964) work in
this regard is noteworthy, particularly where lie mentioned that the rules of sociological method
include an understanding of what is a social fact. Talcott Parsons had also thought that the
application of the pattern variables settles once and for all times the question of objectivity in the
social sciences. He asserted that the pattern variables constituted the highest explanatory tool
that can be used to study social phenomena in all societies no matter the sociocultural and
historical setting. This informed the modernization theory of development on which severe
scholar have launched severe attacks (see Oxaol et al. 1975 Mabogunje, 1980andAke 1979).
Ake was particularly forthcoming in his attack on social science method, as presented by

western scholars The title of his book is in fact Social Science at Imperialism. He was strongly
opposed to the notion that social science is value-free. He regarded western social science as
Eurocentric and ideological because of the underlying assumption that Western societies are the
real and ideal societies to which the third world must aim at (see Ake. 7979. Pp 16-121). Western
social science's claim to objectivity is false as it is, patently in most cases committed to the
development of capitalist ethics all over the world. Ake, in fact, had reached a conclusion mat
oesplte- its scientific paraphernalia, the theory of political development is really propaganda,
not science.
In present-day Nigeria, the issue of objectivity in the social sciences continues to generate
discussions. Of recent, Jubril Aminu, the Minister of Education, said that some teachers, under
the notion of academic freedom, engaged in indoctrination rather than leaching their students
and mat such teachers would be flushed out of Nigerian universities.
In reacting to the minister's utterances, some lecturers of the Humanities and Social Sciences
of the University of Port Harcourt bared their minds on academic freedom. 'An important
clement of the principle of academic freedom that academics should be free lo research into, and
teach, any branch of knowledge in which they are specialists, that they should be free within
those fields of specialization to hold any of the contending views and opinions which given the
facts available to them and in their own best judgement, are most useful in understanding human
existence and action' (See The Guardian, 10-08-86, P 6). The authors did not see any difference
between teaching and indoctrination as both were argued to be inseparable. Another lecturer in
History from the University of Lagos evidently took a different position (See The

ffutinlian 07-09-86 P.D) He argued that teaching must be separated

from ^doctrination. II is not for the teacher to try to arouse the
consciousness of Hi students. His main task LS to teach He should
not draw conclusions |him hist teaching. The students should be left
to. draw their own ^Bfercnces. One can only contribute to this
controversy by saying that Inching must he informed by practical
realities. The relationship between theory and reality or practice
should be dialectical and whatever is taught ffiUst bear some
relation ship with realities of the outside world. It is Important that
knowledge be made to serve the cause of human progress, however
one defines the latter
It must be mentioned that the issue of what should or should not
be (tight in the universities was ftnt raised during the Obasanjo
regime when ht directed that University lecturers were not to
discuss politics even if they were political science teachers. Those
who might want to do so were Id vised to leave the University, That
was in 1978. The issue was raised Iguin during the Buhari- Idiagbon
regime when the Government asked Vlcc-Chancellots not to permit
the use of campus buildings for anti-social activities. The
information which came to the notice of the Universities via the
Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) was titled Use of public
Institutions and facilities for lectures and symposia1 (The Guardian 15-06- 15). It is interesting to
note that the directive came when some University lecturers started to sound discordant notes
about what they regarded as the atrocities of that regime. Some lecturers joined some retired
Major- ticnerals to call for a confederation as a solution to Nigeria as problem.
It is important to mention that the minister's statement which led lo the above controversy in
1986 was sparked offby the May 1986 student-police clash at the Ahmadu Bello University. The
minister was of the view that a major cause of the violent clash during which many students were
shot dead by the police was the fact that some lecturers in the social sciences of the said
university as well as other Universities caught Marxism winch in turn encouraged student
radicalism. Students, in other words, must cooperate with rather than oppose the government of
the day.
One can contribute to this discussion by saying that even if you teach tadical ideas, and the
objective conditions prevailing have no relevance to your teaching, it may still be difficult to elicit
radical responses. We, however subscribe to the position of those University of Port I larcourt
lecturers since as Marx had argued The mode of production of material life conditions the social,
political and intellectual life process in general'(Marx, 1968, P. 182). What is more, "knowledge whether true
or false - never develops in a vacuum bu l is always embedded in soci practices and we can more
fully understand the former if. we know th latter (Sayer, 1984, P, 45). The same conclusion was
reached by Ak (1979:134) when he said that science in any society is apt in be geared 1 the interest
and impregnated with the values of the ruling class, whic ultimately controls the Conditions under
which science is produced an consumed, by financing research, .setting national priorities an
controlling the educational system, etc,

The vexed issue of objectivity or neutrality of the social sciences will continue for a long timp.
This is so because the men and women that engage in social scientific inquiries arc pan of the society
and they also have their own preferences and prejudices as well which do intrude, even unconsciously
into their analysis. The best that can be done is to state our own positions as different from the likely
outcome of our investigations. The concern for objectivity in (he social sciences has warranted the use
of sophisticated statistical techniques - test of significance, partial correlation, sampling procedures.
The primary motive is to, as much as possible, narrow the subjective eon lent of social investigation.
Of recent, the use of computer for sociological analysis has become widespread in the developed
\yorld. No matter how one looks at it, told objectivity is nqt attainable in the social sciences. The
information that is reduced to mathematical terms or that is fed into the computer may themselves be
biased. And inany base, such information will still have to be interpreted.

4 he, C. Social Science as Imperialism (Ibadan University Press, 1979) Chinoy, E. Society: An
Introduction to Sociology (New York, Random,

Purkheim, E. The Rules of Sociological Method (New York, The Free Press 1964,
Mabogunje, A.L. The Development Process (Hutchinson University Library, 1980)
Marx, K. and Engels, F. Selected Works (Lawrence and Wishart Ltd. 1968
Oxaal, 1 et at Beyond the Sociology of Development (London, Routledge and
R ossides, D. W. The History and Nature of Sociological Theory (Houghton M ifflin
Company, Botson, 1978).
Sayer, A. Method in Social Science (London, Hutchinson and Col. Ltd., 1984).
Parsons,T. The Social System (Free Press, 1964).
Weber, M.'Science as a vocation In Gerth, H.H. And mills, C. W.


A PROPER definition of culture can only be got when a distinction is m:.idc between
the scientific meaning and the popular meaning The popular meaning is the day to day
usage of the word culture, while the scientific meaning is the sociological analysis of the
word. In everyday conversation, "culture" has a variety of meanings, none precisely
synonymous with (1 ie sociological definition.
The popular meaning of culture is what the general public bas in mind when they
say that a person is cultured or not cultured. A cultured person is usually one whose
manners arc polite or polished, who dresses and is up -to-date or fashion able in many
other ways. Good formal education h also part of culture in its' popular meaning just
as illiteracy or little formal education depicts lack of culture.
We cannot rule out ethnocentrism and racial discrimination from the views held by
the early white settlers on [he coast of Africa, tor many years after while colonisation of
most of Africa, the view of blacks as having no culture persisted, both among the whites
and even among die early of Western educated Africans. One British scholar put it in
writing that Africans had no art* no writing, no history and therefore no culture. A
French scholar Went even "farther to contend that blacks had what he called "prelogieal mentality" and could therefore not reason scientifically or formulate art and
music; in other words his view was that Africans had no culture. Ironically, museums
and achievers throughout the white world have highly-priced collections of great
African antiquities and contemporary works of an. In the Americas the blackmail's
contribution in such areas as jazz, calypso, reggae and contemporary literature and
painting are accepted content of Western civilization arid culture.
The scientific sociological meanings of culture is more precise and mo
re logical than the popular meaning. The scientific/sociological meaning
fluxes on observable events, artifacts and behaviour which exist in jlUtnun societies
across the globe whether such societies are black or White, industrialized or nonindustrialUed. Marriage and family or any of i oilier social institutions for that matter
exist in all societies, though in Various forms; so do music, dance, kitchen utensils,
medicine and Italthcare, language, legal and penal codes, child-rearing and mother 9,
to name a few. The scientific definition of culture highlights the fact #f existence of

these in all Societies and the-fact that they have been Mteblished by man (for they do
not exist in the same way amongst the lower creatures) and sustained by man. The
scientific meaning of culture, Unlike the popular meaning accords culture to all human
beings once they live in human societies. It does not accord culture to only a few
individuals' 01 a few groups of human beings; the scientific meaning of culture says
Oiat all human being are cultured, because every human society has ttlture.
From the above analysis and from the sociological point of view ulture consists of
the sum total of skills, beliefs, knowledge, and products Mat are commonly shared by a
number of people and transmitted to their children. Through a culture we ieam to
communicate with each other, to behave and think in certain ways Culture is a social
heritage, transmitted by one generation to another. It is shared. The individual receives
and hares it as a member of a group. Language is an example, a person completely out
of touch with people and their culture could not learn language. It is transmitted only
in the process of social interaction.
A society consists of all the people who share a distinct and continuing Way of life
(that is a culture) and think of themselves as one united people. A society maybe j small
rural community or a great city, a region or an entire nation. The determining factor is
that the individuals concerned hare a common culture and think of themselves as
united by common Interests.
lociety is the breeding ground of culture Here we learn the skills and gain the
knowledge of a given way of life. It is in society, for example, that we learn to safeguard
children against health hazards and to marry according to specified rules-Human
societies are also systems of social relationships (Dressier & Cams. 1973), In the main,
these relationships are determined by the culture. Human beings achieve unity and
integration through that for its members team and acquire the cultural heritage, what
expected of them under given conditions,

As a system of social relatipnships, society serves to fashion those relationship into

a functioning whole. The outcome is that we engage in human interaction in
characteristic ways that are approved by the: consensus of die members of the society
and are calculated to promote group solidarity and mutual welfare We educate our
children, prepare them for parenthood ajid teach them ethical codes. We do hot steal
from others, not do we kill deliberately except in the conduct of a war.
Ralph Liptpn, (Ih36) an Anthropologist listed the universal characteristics of
society as follows;
(i) Society, rather than the individual, is "the significant upit
in our species'struggle for survival" Except by accident, as
in the case of the fictional Robinson Crusoe, all human


beings "live as members of organised groups and have

their fate inextricably bound up with that of the group of'
which they belong."
They cannot survive the hazards of infancy, nor can they
satisfy their adult needs, without the aid and cooperation
of others.
(ii) Societies ordinarily persist far beyond the life Span of
anyone of their members.
Iii) Societies arc functional, operative units.
Although made up 'of individuals, societies function as
entities in themselves "The interests of each of their
component members are subordinated to those of the
entire group'1.
(iv) In every society "the activities necessary to the survival of the
whole are divided and apportioned to the various
Having gone through preliminary definitions of culture and society, we shall now try
and see now some anthropologists and sociologists have defined it.


Funk and Wagnalls new Encyclopedia defined culture as the "sum total #f til I
contributions of a group of people in a designated area, within a given time It represents,
more specifically, the aesthetic or intellectual lohicvcment or appreciation of an
individual or a society, and also the life Style of a society as passed on from generation to
( lyde Kluckhon (1961:156) another well-known social scientist, says that "culture is
that pan of the environment that is made by man", We can xtend his definition by
adding that part of the environment that is made by mini and shared by human beings as
members of the society
A classical and popular definition of culture is that given by the Ki 1111topologist
Edward Tylor( 1924) that culture is "that complex whole Winch includes knowledge,
belief, art. morals, law. custom, and any other Capabilities and habits acquired by man as
a member of the society". This definition gives a good view of the scope of the concept
Culture covers all iccts of a man's life. From this definition of culture, some important
facts emerge.
The first is that culture ii learned. It is something one learns as a member of society.
Culture is one of the things that distinguish man from animals Only human beings have
culture. This derives from the simple fact that culture is something learnt as opposed to
instinctive or unlearned beha viour such as blinking of the eye or sex drives Most of the
things animals do are instinctive or innate, but this is not so with man. Man is tiulow ed
with little instincts, and most other things he has to learn as a member of society Standing
up tore-cm e visitors,, or removing our caps on entering the church are learned and
therefore part of culture.
This learned aspect of culture is very important. Compared with other annuals, man
possesses very little innate-characteri.stics. He must learn ni< >st of his behaviour
patterns in order to survive. Compared with the lion oi elephant for instance, man is
more fragile. While these animals are physiologically equipped to protect themselves,
man is not. To defend himself, he has to invent his method-weapons. When it comes to
eating, he gels food by learning to farm and to hunt in ways that arc suitable for him. If
lie is left to his innate abilities, he will probably starve to death. His speed ennnot be
compared with that of most animals; neither can his strength. The techniques of doing
these things must be learnt from other men. We me bom into the society, and we observe
the ways elders cope with the intricacies of life. The child of a hunter follows his father to
the bush itnd learns how to set traps and pursue animals if he probably goes alone, be
would be killed because he does not have the culture -knowledge of behaviour to catch
animals. We learn to do things

because those things are done in the society in which we live and wP e bn late other people.

Culture, in other words is transmitted by learning and learning redec*u'res social

interaction. This is why we say man is a social animal. He d carht live in isolation. Take
the example of language, which is an aspJPe^* f culture. It is learned. If it were innate/inbom, then probably everj'JJ would speak the same language. An Hausa boy brought up
among Y yor'^a will speak Yoruba and not Hausa. because that is what be learnt to
spe3ea*!- A child put in isolation from birth can speak no language No one can aPcP're
without associating with other human beings. Anything not learned 1S ^ part of culture.
The second is that Culture is share. It is something that one persoP n ^ possess, it is
something used, practised or possessed by more thaP n Cne prison It must be shared by
other people. If a man discovers a techniq'^^of doing something but tells nobody about it
does nut become part of cif, Plre because only he possesses the knowledge. When he dies,
the knowfle<&e dies with him, but anything that is cultural often outlives individuals.'
Culture is human because that; lower creatures do not create or ! s vre culture If we go
back to our biological analogy, whatever characternst'cs that are common amongst definite
species of birds and beast?s arc biological and instinctive not social or rational. Thus one
species couij a be predatory and carnivorous; others could be crawlers or fliers or
runndr8 or barkers or grass eating. But the point is that these behaviour are part o. ^ at
biology of such species and not acquisition from their social life And 01 ^r way of making
the same point is to say that the lower creatures* acquire all their trails and behaviours
no matter how they are reare<rn* maturity but that man cannot acquire his cultural
habits if isolated r*j0fn society during his growing up. He creates culture living with his fer
^ human beings in society and loams and culture as a member of the soc:ietX The third is
that Culture is socially transmitted from one generaticp * another. Culture often outlives
individuals who possess and share is something which has been transmitted down from
preva?Us generations. While all animals are capable of learning to var^^M? degrees, it
seems that only man transmits to a considerable extend learned ways and habits to his
offspring. Without learned ant^ transmission most cultures and cultural institutions would
be extP. >
there would be nothing like traditions, custom of heritage
ideas and practices of
each generation would

pass away with it and e^er^ new generation will begin afresh so formulate its own ideas
and in^60^

inifiicts and practices.

Learning and Iran emission of culture take place through socialisation, >8t is l he
continuous and often complicated processes through which the ft ways of a group are
inculcated into its members. Socialisation takes lice throughout one's life; (here is no stage
of our lives in which we are I having new experiences and adjusting our earlier beliefs
about human Ings and the society. Take for instance the four major stages-infancy,
jolesccnce, adulthood and old age which every human being passes rough in lift, every
one of those stages is full of experiences, problems, jiyi, sorrows and challenges which the
individual is exposed lo only when f p8 arrives at that stage. Youth hardly worries about
old age, nor does it Worry about marriage, parenthood and family until it comes face to
face ^Wlth these stages.
Having gone through the various definitions of culture, it is still the Impression of
the writer that a clearer explanation and understanding of fUlture could still be got
through its characteristics, which we shall now H i t e.
Only man has culture, Kingsley Davis (1949: 3) a well known lOCtologist writes. "If
there is any single factor explaining mans Uniqueness, il is this. He and he alone, has
culture. Culture is therefore a profound possession that ramifies throughout human life
and accounts for 8(1 of man's truly unique qualities. It adds an extra dimension to
existence |hd makes humane what would otherwise be merely animal.' r 'Culture exists in
the minds of individual, human beings who have learned (| in their past association with
other human beings and who use it to guide (heir own continuing interaction with others
(Landis, 1974). Are we thus jiying that culture has only a mental dimension, that there is
no material Culture, such as bridges, buildings and motorcars? Certainly culture Ipnsists
or both ideas and things, nonmaterial and material phenomena, .(he ideas yielding the
things. Take a game of football for instance. Such Ihings as ball, the jersey soccer boot de
arc parts of material culture because they are material things which can be held or seen.
Other Parts of (he game such as the rules which govern it, the skills of the player etc. are
non-material culture Human cultures vary considerably. For ixample, in a predominantly
Christian culture, a man is not permitted to have more than one wife at a time whereas,
the Moslem way of life does not see anything wrong m marrying more than one wife at a
time. Although Nigeria is a secular society where no one ffligion, according to the
constitution, is given more prominence at the

expense of the other, yet when We compare a country like Great Britain an Saudi
Arabia, the difference we are trying to bring out becomes clearer.
Although different in some respects, cultures resemble one another to i
considerable extent. In Saudi Arabia, the United States, Great Britain China and
Nigeria, people marry, raise children, protect themselvei against the elements,
maintain religious beliefs, and use speech t< communicate with out another. And the
culture of these nations are simila in many other respects.
All Cultures are generally and continously being changed, even thougl human
beings tend to resist these changes. Nigeria's culture has Undergone a lot of changes in
nearly every sphere of human endeavour. Take, fo instance, the use of canned or
bottled drinks taking the place of fresh pain wine or water in entertaining visitors.
In the process of changing a culture, members of a society often borrow from other
cultures, In medicine, drugs are fait replacing the use of herbs ir curing ailments;
jackets, shirts, ties and trousers are also taking the place o: agbada, buba andsokoto.
We shall examine all these cultural variations and persistence at greatet length
later in that chapter.
Another way of coming to grips with the concept of culture is to think o: it in terms
of its functions What does culture do for us? It enables us to communicate with others
through a language that we have learned and that we share in common. If we did not
all understand the language, it would be impossible for a physicist to explain a formula
to student and fora church minister to preach his faith to the congregation.
It makes it possible to anticipate how others in our society are likely to respond to
our actions. We art aware that they Learned, as we did, to accept] and expert certain
standards of behaviour. We can be confident that if we wear a raincoat in a
thunderstorm members of oar society will not be shocked, but that if we allow a fiveyear-old to smoke cigarette, they will be. As we shall sec, the predictability of others'
responses to us and our responses to them is fundamental to what we mean by social
structure. Thus culture and social structure are closely interrelated.
Culture gives us standards for distinguishing between what is considered right and
wrong, beautiful and ugly reasonable and; unreasonable, tragic and humorous, safe
and dangerous. When a thief steals, he knows that members of his society view his
behaviour as wrong. A boy raised among the Yoruba in Nigeria knows that he would

SOnsidcrcd mannerless and uncultured if he does not prostrate to greet fs in the society. In a
civilised society, when a man accidentally steps Kilneonc's fool, il is unlikely that he will get a
blow on the held in return, bus learned that tins would be deemed an unreasonable reaction.
Culture provides methods for training children to. behave in ways, frally considered
appropriate in the society We teach our children what Were taught We instruct them,
formally and by example, to respect nls, obey laws, get an education, and support
dependents -We teach m to show compassion for the sick. Thus we perpetuate culture by
Culture provides the knowledge and skills necessary tor sustenance is I rom The cultural
accumulation we gain knowledge and skills led in order to provide for ourselves and our
families. We learn to be tilers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, aviators, plumbers, and actors.
Any society's culture, is the result of that society's experience in Some inlhropologist say that
there is little evidence, if any, to that certain social ipmis prevail in every society, Certain
behavioural attitudes considered fltmil, desirable, justifiable, and appropriate in one society
can be HMUodered the opposite in another society. Sociologist have, however, put I UR this
way, that standards of right and wrong, good and bad, are relative to the ml lure in which they
appear. What is "right in the society may be Vmmg 1" in another
Cultural relativism suggests that each culture be judged from its own iewpoint without
imposing outside standards of judgement Behaviours, blues, and beliefs arc relative to the
culture in which they appear. The tlltural relativist believes that what is right in one society
may be wrong in bother and what is considered civilized in one maybe seen as barbaric in
bother, but basically judgements should not be made about the goodness" or "badness" of
traits in cultures other than one's own.
A - Multitude of anthropological studies comparing societies in various iiges of development
have substantiated the contention that when looked I from the viewpoint of a given culture,
there are probably no isolute, no, universal rights and wrongs. All aspects of culture are rml i
vc only to the particular society in which they appear. For imple, infanticide, approved under
specified conditions in some groups, Itcriminal in others. Premarital chastity demanded in one
Prohibited in a second, of no consequence one way or another in a thii Novelist Samuel Butler
spoke sound sociology when lie declare "Morality is the custom of one's country and the
current feeling of on? peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibal countiy.
Somehow related to the above discussed concept is ethnocentrisr Simply put, it is that view
of things in which one's own group is the centl of everything and all others arc scaled and rated
with reference to it. It is* form of cultural conceit in which people assume the superiority of
thei way of life. Ethnocentrism involves an intense identification with th familiar and a
devaluation of the foreign. It describe a type of prejudic that says simply, "my culture's ways
arc right and other culture's ways tha are not like mine are wrong". The
3 ethnocentric person

says the familiar i good and the unfamiliar or foreign is bad. To the Yoruba man in Nigeria the
other ethnic groups in Nigeria do not have Culture, simply becausi their young ones do not
prostrate when they salute elders, which thii Yoruba cherish a lot. Ethnocentrism also
manifests itself m religion. Generally Muslims refer to members of other religious sects as
We may even go a step further by asking whether ethnocentrism is good or bad for
individuals and groups. Again, this depends on the way you look at il. On one hand,
ethnocentrism can be seen as being, functional, that is. useful and contributes to the goals and
objectives of a group or society It can promote unity and stability within a group As examples,
patriotism and 1 religious dedication strengthen the morale, faith, and fellowship of human j
groups, For an individual, ethnocentrism allows one to have a certain pride j in the achievements
of one's own group. This can increase the individual's ; self-image. On the other hand
ethnocentrism can be seen as dysfunctional ; that is, harmful and prevent the fulfilment of a
group's or societys objectives and goals. Many conflicts have occurred between groups
representing different religious or nationalities e.g, Maitatsine religious riots in Nigeria. Such
conflicts have resulted in suffering and even j destruction for some groups. Ethnocentrism can
encourage intolerance of I
other groups,


It is the principle that there may be universal circumstances that are ; always good anil
always bad for the human condition. If moral judgements j are to be related to human needs, and
if there are basic needs common \ to all human beings, it seems to follow that there are standards
that j apply to all human beings. That principle negates the views of the
relativists, who do nor believe that there are universal rights and Nevertheless, there arc
philosophers and religious people who i that there are behaviours that are always wrong fur
human beings. r words, there is an absolute good and bad. There is absolute justice tiee. People
who think like this c m be called ethical absolutists. II aware of the universality of certain divine
and hygienic laws, h ill over the world are acceptable. By this, standards of right and j can be
This is a theory propounded by Williams F. Ogbum an American legist, who Mated Hie concept
as follows' "A cultural age occurs One of two parts of culture which are correlated changes
before or ter degree than the other part does, thereby causing less adjustment n the two parts
than existed previously." (Ogbum. 1957:167-174). Nison why lags accumulate is the rapidity and
volume of ^logical change: Ogbum offered as an example is lag in adjusting to t fission. The
atomic bomb was produced in two and half years, but tin years that followed we developed no
defense against it. What we Ing in effect is that, when culture change takes place it may not be 1
that is to say it can go in jumps and spurts,. Moreover, changes that I culture to previous change
do not always come smoothly and Itically. When this happens, there takes place a kind of
Ultment and inconsistency in cultural This it what is called cultural

concept is used where there are failures in adapting culture to logical change. However, it can
also be used to mean social M, for instance, where there are inadequate
3 social amenities such as |

9 of housing, lack of medical facilities in hospitals, corrupt practice public officials. Etc.
1 Change:
il change is the modification or discontinuance of existing "tried I" procedure transmitted to us
from the culture of the past, as well introduction of new procedures. Man is always learning,
yearning, ing, retreating, cooperating, combating. Culture is never How does change come about
Sociologists have advanced ,18 answers to the question, bill in the final analysis it must be lodged
that causes of cultural change have not been satisfactorily find, Culture changes in relation to the
requirements of the inment. Culture changes through cultural contact and the Mis of human
groupings. Culture shock occurs when a person into a culture that is very different from what the
person is
accustomed to. The foreign diplomat, the world travelers, and anthropologist have all
experienced culture shock. For example, cult shock occurs when a British anthropologist on a
study of African rur societies, stumbles on a festival which might involve human sacrifice, 'I the
anthropologist, it is murder being committed by those involved, but | Africans in those societies
human sacrifice is the supreme sacrifice to i god or goddess.
Most societies that have been joined by people of different origins, custor and backgrounds have
experienced culture shock at one point or anothe However, the shock is not necessarily
prolonged, and soon two group begin to observe each other's way of life and try to tolerate it.
Subculture and Contraculture
Most societies, especially large complex ones like Nigeria, have group that, by their traits, beliefs,
or interests, are somewhat separated distinct from the rest of society. Members of such a group
may share manj of the characteristics of the dominant culture, but they have some of their I own
specific customs or ways as well. We generally refer to such groups asl subcultures. In Nigerian
large cities, the Sabongari's are good examples oj subcultures. In these settlements, a Urge
number of people who are nc| indigenes of the area where the city is situated live in harmony and
practitf the culture of their own ethnic group.
Subculture may be based on an occupation especially one tlai procharacteristic of a particular
group within the larger society, it is a lfd style within the total culture that not only shares in the
society's total cultirej bm also has unique patterns that differ in varying degrees from otherlfestyles. However, sociologists generally use the term "subculture" to refe - to; smaller groups that
appear to have some values and customs different fr>m 3 the rest of society.
A subculture may be based on an occupation especially one that provides a total context for
everyday life. Thus military subcultures are supportecby the isolation of military garrison,
intensive training affecting deportnent and outlook as well as skills, long-term career
orientations, and the absorption of families into the military social system. Occupations hat
require special life sty Its, setting the members off from the rest of the community, arc
especially likely to develop into subculture.
More typical, however, is a subculture based on residential, ethnic or s<cial class conditions.
These subcultures tend to be coextensive with bcal communities and thus provide a setting for
the entire round of life.
The central element in a contraculture is the idea of opposition o or conflict with the norms and
values of the dominant culture. Subcuture
IBS lIK- )>mup that has some separate customs, some differing beliefs
ihuvioms, from the

dominant society, whereas cantraculture ifi the group whoso behaviour is disintegrative
and destructive to tihanl society. One example of a contraculture would be a street f png
with a life-style including drug addiction and various agencies (ifilliinal underworld. A
nether example of a contraculture would be Hendry groups whose opposition to Society is
expressed through use Wet (o bring about social change.
Myit Mores, Law and Institutions:
llliain Graham Sumner (1959) introduced the terms folkways and in his book Folkways,
published in 1906. He defined folkways as turn I standards. "Sonic folkways represented
behaviour that was what we should or should not enact. The- second type of Ufoi Sunnier
called mores, But he was not consistent; sometimes he Itttiated between folkway sand mores,
sometimes he employed the [ "folkways" to connote all the commonly accepted ways of
behaving. Ifotf what lie called mores elsewhere. Today sociologists generally IB distinction
between folkways and mores. They use both terms to lilfl all standards and, practices of
behaviour that are either expected |uired within a society as "right," "fitting", and in the
general interest, fog said this much on the differences between folkways and mores, we t
define folkways as social norms that guide us through the ordinary encounters of everyday
life. They are customs that are mildly led because their observance is not considered to be of
great moral ifUNlicc I ilerally speaking, folkways are ways of the folk. They are ply the
customary ways in which people of a particular group behave liys indicate what is proper in
such areas as etiquette, clothes, use of food, and many other routine matters that have become
lllhed customs.
;IA Individual ignores a folkway, no severe punishment will result, f (Members of the
group may be annoyed, but they probably won't react fxtfcmc displeasure. Eating peculiar
combinations of food, using iiU language at the wrong time, or wearing blue jeans to informal |
jpn, like the church could make a person seem a little odd. Gossip || occur. People might
ridicule the person. But these reactions are mild Hied to the reactions of a group when an
individual violates social |BW that have to do with strong moral convictions.
* Folkways and mores are both social norms, but there are two ways can tell them apart(l) by
how much importance people attach to


them, and (2) by how severe the punishment is for violators MOB
social norms invested with strong, feelings of morality. Violati
mores invokes severe punishment because their observance is fell
essential to the welfare of the group or society Mores define rigf wrong, moral and
immoral actions, thoughts and feelings. The mol many societies would not permit
marriage between brother and sis] most African societies, meres require strong
respect for elders.
As said earlier on, sanctions that support mores, have more emot| content than
those supporting folkways. People who observe more respected and praised in public.
This positive recognition contribli their own self-esteem. But those who violate mores
arc subject to foi) negative sanctions such us loss of privileges and prestige, imprison!]
and physical punishment. When it becomes Known that one has violJ mores or when one fears
being found out, personal guilt and anxiety] hurt one's self-esteem.
In addition to folkways there is another major class of social nod law. It may be, and often
is, based on values inherent in the folkways, j il is more than custom Law consists of
legislatively enacted or other formally drafted and proclaimed rules of behaviour, supported
organised government" which establishes sanctions, or negatij penalties, for violations
Although all societies have folkways, not, ha laws. A very small, loosly organized band of
people. like"the normad tribes in parts of Africa, may function without formal law their
behaviol regulated by custom. However, law docs exist in most contemporaij societies.
Although law is often - but not always - based on custom, it diffed from That latter in
"that, as indicated in our definition, it is a code upheli by the state, which is prepared to use its
coercive powers if necessa against violators of that code.
Laws exist to reinforce more. Some people do not accept or observd the mores of society. It
is to protect society from such people that laws are passed in order to enforce the mores
People who refuse to conform to mores reinforced by laws arc subject to formal negative
sanctions Actually threats of legal punishment act as a social control far many] people.
Violations of laws can result in fines, imprisonment, and] execution We all know that certain
acts which we indulge in arc bad,; without even blowing that it is against the law. For example,
the adverse effects of the usage of hard drugs like cocaine etc. But when recently in Nigeria
the mores was backed by a law, and punishment stipulated for violators, persons who would
have disregarded it with a wave of the hand now take it seriously.

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Snck'fy. Ne 'k Ml'C'"'"a1'


v>^Jluma" V

, l o 0 neS,drofHuntan



tawce world Library

c\^^mrmrf0r ^cepts mi Characteristics.

H *,914^paSnt. CaHfonia|rth!>M.stwngC P
, , , ,<)36> The Study of Mat,*

Rft\p'UW3D, i o



l^t'ch Juary'FebWary' W Hew Yorte Dover, ctap<

,f( pilward B (1924) Priw


THE chapter focuses on the individual and the process of his becoming] social being,
establishing his social position and receiving good'; ar services, and as the root of a social
network through which contacts ar made and maintained with the rest of the society. A child
becomes member of a society through socialization. He leams, among other things the rules of
social exchange and how these are manipulated by some fo their own benefit. He moves out
from a small, dense kinship network lo) large, extended network of friends and acquaintances,
though he usualH preservers a small circle of intense contacts with a strong obligation tJ
mutual aid, This network also contributes to his adult socialization bind tq changes in his selfidentity as his life cycle progresses.
At any given moment in life an individual is a self that totals all thi experiences of all his

preceding moments The agents of socializatioi work upon each individual from thelllOment of
birth to the momeni of death. Each of us is a product of our time, place and personal!
Society is a word which describes a group of people who in some way can be considered as
a unit (Chinoy, 1974: Landis, 1974). For example, all people who are part of the same culture
can be called a society. A society may be small enough (for example, a village or an island) for
all members of it to know each other personally, or it may be a whole country. We can Talk
of'Nigerian society' if there are certain things which Nigerians have in common, which make
them different from Kenyans, for example.
A society is made up of individual people when they are together Relationships between
these individuals are controlled by social
Bl such as special behaviour towards elderly people, and the Br other people's property.
Even though the individuals in a Sy be different from each oilier, they are all influenced
by the rtntions and customs, which arc therefore most important to an of society.
IMItion then arisen what is the relationship between the I and (he society. Hobbs and Blank
(1982) in their own analysis gome posers: Does a person control the conditions of society? Or
litions of society control thefperson? Does an individual have i If a person free to become what
he oi she chooses? Or is a person itfollcd hy society - even a rubber stamp of society? These
are the questions that the scholars have debated. Those who ate the M id independent being
who makes decisions and acts freely art Individual detennmists. The views of, people
presented by || detcrminists and by social dcterminists seem to conflict.
Sociologists would say that both are somewhat correct but I entirely correct It makes no sense
to separate the individual and #n@ does not-catinot-exist without the other. The sociological
IN is (hat each person is part of society. Society is made up of who influence one another in
many ways - we know that jurds make ehoices and decisions. But the kinds of choices and t!
they make are limited' by their experiences and involvement in
iider thereat ion ship within a family unit consisting of a husband, I md a coond. J A
husband influence its mother and its father. Add Child (Irandparent. Another grandparent.
Add an aunt. Add an Add cousin. Another cousin. A neighbour. Friends. Co-workers. If l
expand (his list we would end up with an entire society. A society "twork of relationships
among individual. Each will influence ind each will be influenced by others. This is social
social ~||n person.
are not bora human. We become human through the process of Interaction. Each society has a
culture. Culture refers to all those f thinking, feeling, and behaving that arc passed on from
one lion to the next. Cultures contain certain knowledge, beliefs, If, customs, skills, and laws.
In order for an individual to participate !lety's culture, the person must experience the
process of (iCHlion, it, socialization that transforms the organism into a 1 being. It is through
a socialization that one learns the content of
one's culture. Without socialization, human cultures could not he on fro one generation to
another. Although much of This learning takes place' the first two or three years of lift,

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socialization continues throughout hi When we attend schools, move to a new place, or take
a new job < whenever we are called on to make change in estrous, norms, or behavior
additional socialization is necessary. Socialisation integrates a child ini die community by
teaching him the disciplines, aspirations, social roll and skill necessary for group
membership. The young child la taught th obedience and respect for older people are very
important. He leams ; control his temper and wait for the things, he wants Gradually the!
disciplines are internalized (become; pan of him), soil] at such behavior is taken for granted,
Human Nature and Nurture Controversy
For many years a controversy has existed having lo do with hums nature and human
nurture. Human nurture has to do with one environment and socialization. Human nature
has to do with one* Heredity. Which then is more influential iii establishing patterns of
hums behaviour heredity or environment? in the past, one class of thinkers hi insisted that
human beings behave as they do because they were bom to c so, that it is their "nature" so
to behave. A mother protects her child froi danger at the risk of her own life, the argument
runs, because it is h< mammal nature to behave in this way. Another class of thinkers hits
bee equally emphatic in saying that human behaviour is largely the product c external
forces.. People art "nurtured" by their environment, from it the; learn to behave the way
they do. By this reason, a mother protects her chit even at the risk of her own life because
she has learned in her environmer that she should do so. However, .sociologists tend to play
down th significance of heredity (human nature) and to emphasise the significance or
environment and socialization (human nurture). Sociologists stud; human nurture, not
human nature. Nevertheless, biological and hereditary influences also must be considered if
one seeks to understand humar behaviour.
Aims of Socialization:
Through socialization the child leams how to discipline itself in reference to matters
considered important by society For example, tht child is made to eat and to reject certain
kind a of food such as o: reptiles like lizards, toads etc, in certain localities and the rejection
on same in other areas. The child is disciplined as to when and where bodyn waste are to be
eliminated and, according to the way in which sexuality isl
Society; the child is disciplined, to experience sexuality in that Wiy. Al birth the
infant demands complete and immediate if its desires. Through discipline, the
maturing person , Ifiliis to control physical and emotional behaviour. By doing
ividuttl becomes an accepted member of society. Thus, the process should
encourage one to act in ways that are ptopei by society.
socialization children learn what is thought to be worth Thy learn what must
be done to acquire self-respect and Titheis Depending upon the values of the
society, the children's id behaviours will reflect those values if socialization is
Imagine a society in which the most important values are religious beliefs. Then
one should expect to find a number of ' much involved in religious behaviour.
Some, no doubt, would III; lo hold sonic special position within the religious Bh. On
lhe other hand, imagine a society in which the most Values are based upon progress

In techno logy and science, people would likely seek to become engineers and
scientists, ill encourage their people lo seek certain goals, to have certain j ind to
perform certain tasks.
incouraging certain goals and ambitions in the members, a Mil also provide the means
by which the goals can be reached. J learned through socialization can be realised by
acquiring the Skills In small tribal societies, traditional skills are passed on fencialioii
to another. There is little or no change in the skills.
learn from the old through imitation and continual practice.
. , It automatically follows that majority of the children of a hunter become
farmers and hunters, respectively. However, the ease in large industrial societies,
which are continually Ways of doing things. The concept of progress complicates
'Ipteial skills because the skills change so rapidly. Industrial If ly upon formal and
very specialised education; and important .laii/ation is to teach special skills.
(Mielics require people to play social roles. All human interaction 5# through the
playing of social roles. At various times during I Woman might play the roles of
daughter, sister mother, student,
", customer, and wife. As she moves from one situation to another ! day, she must play
the role appropriate for each situation. Her to play the various social roles were
developed through the process tion
|| unite lour aims of socialization mentioned above could apply
to any type of society Those are the general functions that the process] socialization should
perform. As a result, life should have some patte and meaning for those who participate in
their society's culture. (Broc & Selznick, 1968:26)
Family as a Social Agent
The Chief Agent of socialization is the family or kinship group. Thj perhaps tho most
important socializing agent. It is the first agent th| people come in contact with since people
arc bom into a family and; brought up within the family. We only come into contact with oth^
agents after going through the family learning process because oi earliest and closest ties arc
usually with parents, siblings etc. The famihj is therefore a crucial and particularly important
agent of socializatioj The family lays tho foundation for the later influences of the ollie
socializing agents.
The socialization which occurs within the family is a two-way proces The child is both a
socialize as well as a socializes As the parents socializ the child, so also does the child socialize
the parent. By being unde guidance or care of the parents, the child is socialized. The parents
teac him how to behave in conformity with the societal norms and values., the child grows, his
biological impulses arc directed into culturally patterned ways. Appropriate responses are
reinforced, inappropriate one are extinguished through a system of rewards and punishment.
He lear how he is expected to respond to the actions of others and how to satisf his wants, he
develops habits that conform to the customs of the society.
At the same lime, the child also serves lo assist in the socialization ol the parents. Tho

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Child's demands and responses serve to teach the mothe| and father how to behave as parent.
This is particularly true of newlj married couples or new parents. Of course, they must have
learnt many abstract ideas of what parenthood entails, but they have not bee? opportune to
put such ideas into practice and see how they work Interaction with their first bom leaches
them the actual behaviour involved in the role of parents.
The family is the most significant and universal of social institutions, j IE is the most
important source of primary relationships for most people1 in all societies. It is a key agent
through which the culture of a society is] transmitted from one gene ration to the next.
The prominent role of the family in the development of basic
Hails and other social attitudes and values stems from two factors, first, the family has
considerable and sometimes Influence on the child during some of the most criticl years of
Ing. Whatever the child learns during his formative years lend lout intensely and persistently
he Id of view-points, values and
;nd factor is that the relationships and personalities developed Jly are among the
moat important and emotionally intense the iver develops. Few human relationships match
the strength of those between parcels and child and pone, compete with ng the early years
of childhood. How much a person is affected depends heavily on the depth of the emotional
ties between more intense and emotionally involved the relations hip, tin: Uiiice it is likely
to have on the development of social behaviour, f joint phenomena of extensive access to.
the child and strong it ties, occurring during the formative years that give the family
ifomincnl part in the socialization process, generally acknowledged that the family alonecannot adequately .lldieu for many adult roles in a complex and changing society Igtftic ies
are therefore required to assist the family institution in this flurmng the individual into a
social being.
Qfotip as a Socializing Agent
fhups the peer group is the next most important socialization agent |hf family. Although
children do not consciously set out to socialize Other, their need tor companionship and
approval results in mutual hg of attitudes and values. The peer group teaches its members
to | in approved ways Interaction with friends provide the first major I tkperience outside
the family circle.
fcet sometimes the peer share a relatively equal status that enhances quency of interaction
and facilitates communication ;rd increases of acceptance. Individual learn many things
which cannot be learnt (n the family, and they tend to confide more in peers than in the
family sensitive topics which we nor easily discuss with adults are more iy discussed with
peers - such topics as etiquette of dating or sex rs.
i s are a source of information. They transmit ideas and interprete Jbr one another in their
own ways. They influence one another's lues and attitudes. To go to school or not? Is religion
nonsensical? uld people be judged by the amount of money they have, or the
clothes they wear or how they behave? These and such oilier things1 greatly influenced by the
peers. The importance of the peer group! socialization is further emphasized by the fact that

even parents, realizifl often show concern to protect their children from had influences. 1 So
me writers say that the peer group is anti-family. They suggest that I peer group will
encourage conformity to the wishes of the group rather til pf parents. The term 'youth culture'
has been used in recent years. T1 suggests that there is a style of life that excludes adult values.
Childl coming from unstable homes, in which parents offer little guidance! support turn to the
peer group. Such ..children will use the peer groupl their source of values and behaviours. In
neighbourhoods where juveni delinquency is widespread children from unstable homes will he
ma influenced by peer group than by family. The taking of drugs, marijuana J is learnt
through peers.
Schools as Socializing Agents

The school is the most deliberate of the socialization agents in that mol of the content of
socialization is consciously planned. What does ta school teach people? How docs it socialize
individuals and in what?
Every society must have ways of selecting persons to fill necessal positions, be they doctor,
secretary, lecturer, carpenter etc. In primitrJ societies, the mechanisms of allocating people to
roles were simple. TH Chief Agent of role allocation was the family People leamt their skills 9
the family.. People look after family professions. If a boy's, father was 1 hunter, he took after
him However, with industrialization, families becaml inadequate as a means of socialization
anti allocation of roles. Skill required for functioning in the society became more complex than
the! could teach. A child could no longer learn the skills he would need in hil adult life by
watching his parents, more so since his adult roles may b| different from those of his parents.
The school teaches, students formal knowledge. It equips them witn some of the
information and skills, required to function in society, il teaches them to read and write and
thus prepares them for their roles in the society - to enter the labour force. The school
provides the students with interpersonal skills required to function. They must learn to
interact with other people as they play more diverse roles. They arc taught to obey rules and
regulations and behave in an orderly manner. They come to realize that they are just members
of the society - like others. They are treated not as unique individuals but just like-anybody
else. Therefore*
if Bins to wait for his or her turn or to be on time.
|h we may talk of the school, in general terms, as an agent of Ion, we may also point
to particular sources of influence -within I There is (he leacher who is a powerful
socializing agent within I, He is t lie human point of contact between pupils and the
formal lion. The teacher acts as the major vehicle for transmitting the frktilum and
associated values, tie sets up the rules of expected T Riul I i ictes out punishments
when these are broken to the teacher in importance arc text-books. They also play ;nt
pans in influencing individual's attitudes, values and ideas. We tot from our

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Min ns Socializing Agents

Hpers, radio, television, magazine and other communication Wnnsmit many types
of messages ro children. The mass media are irtBiit socialization agent because they
help lo loach the child values and norms of society. Books, television programmes,
find magazines present the child with role models with whom he Inn identity and
pattern his or her behaviour after, furthermore, Hals can learn from the mass media
about aspects of their culture Ihf y may not otherwise be able ro observe.
fVniualmg mass media as a socializing agency, observations arc I l ii st, more often
than not. the media act as a transmitter of cues, re oiigmated by other agencies. The
media serve mainly as th lent through which other socialization agencies communicate
WNsage. Second, the information earned by mass media goes it two-step flow. Messages
coming through the media, lint small number of "opinion-leaders." By word of mouth
opinion , such as teachers,, ministers, community activities, etc, then pass- messages to
those over whom they are influential Mass media !s thus tend to flow in two steps The
opinion leader is the crucial he usually influences a small group of close friends, illy,
scholars have found that the mass media serve to reinforce ; values. They do not create
patterns of beliefs, nor do they convert. ~ver, m spite of the fact that the mass media
function far more tidy as an agent of reinforcement than as an agent of change, more ,|
researchers on adults and children in America suggest that the mass ji have a significant
effect on socialization. The study suggested both 1 iiul entertainment can have an impact.
Phiklien may absorb role expectation about political and government

figures from television by watching shows about policemen, soldiers spy

organizations, Television has been discovered by scholars lobe tfl most important
source of overall information for children a adolescents. They are more likely to
watch television news than to re news in newspapers and magazines Such extensive
exposure has giv this medium, that is the television, a most influential role to play in
tfl socialization process in many parts of the world.
Other Socialization Agencies
1 have discussed at some length the family, peer groups and schools a
transmitters of cultural values, norms and skills Although, these agenfl are generally
the most important sources, other agents participate in thl socialization process
These include (a) social groupings, such as clasl and race, (b) secondary groups such
as political organization anl occupational associations and religious bodies. ]
The expression "social grouping" refers lo the broad categories in thl population.
Societies are made up of socially significant categories: soci a class, occupation, race,
religious affiliation, national, regional and tribJ origin. The individual's position in
social groups determines, in largl measure, what type of socialization experiences he
will have. Thl tendency for members of common groupings to live, work and socializj
with each other restricts exposure lo diverse socialization experience! Because people
in u particular social category for the most part makd friends with one of "their own
kind" of people, the vice's they hear outsidd the family are usually very much like the
ones they hear at home Members of these groupings socialize one another. These
groupings persist becausq parents pass on their sense of membership to their
Social groupings serve as reference point for the individual's! understanding of
the society, The individual forms attachments and: identifications with social
categories and these identifications affect the; way m which he perceives the world
The ethnic antagonisms between the Yoruba, the Ibo and Hausa in Nigeria is the
result of values perpetuated through socialization by the succeeding generations of
the various groups Secondary groups a el as agents of socialization in much the same
way as peer groups, schools and the family. Most societies contain a variety of
secondary groups which regulate the activities and value of their members. The more
highly developed and complex the society, the greater the number of secondary
groups and the more important They are in socializing their members. Political
parties and youth groups
ffxamples of secondary groups which arc specifically to propagate political
values. These political groups political information and values lo people,
members and dttry type of secondary groups are religious groups, 1 llsociat ions,
and fraternal organizations The various groups if members in accordance with
the valuer and norms of such CX flm pie. religious groups instruct their


members in moral FM) ithical values through formal and informal methods.


1 Importance in personality is the "self that is, the individual's if ind feel i ng
about his own personal and social identity. Since ftltites lo the individual, it is
therefore very essential that we What makes up the individual and the process
through which Uni's self-image develops, Basic in determining how we #Uf
interactions with other people is our conception of ? Who am I? I low am I to the
other person" What does be expect IB OUr answers to these questions that determine
our behaviours 10 Olliers. I fa person sees himself as a boss to another man and
IfOhtrol him. he acts in that way in order to live up to expectation then, is this self?
The self consists of all ideas and feelings the |, associates with the words "1", "me",
"my", and "mine" (if ll HU language). Does everybody have such ideas and feelings'
possibly an individual so mentally unbalanced that he is no *(ff that lie exists. Every
human being has a conception of * Can ten you something about who he is. He
distinguished "me", the one central self that is he, and all other individuals need to
find and define his self. A person becomes confused tal if he -loses this conception, as
in the case of someone from amnesia. I f he cannot define "me" he is unhappy and
upset fly leeks lo rediscover his identity.
ptjon of self is essential so the individual's understanding of Iff in his
environment and of his relation to them. Only when he Udl who and what he is can
he behaves as a social being.
repeatedly emphasized, is not bom as a social being, becomes human through
interaction with others. Through pn, he comes to s ee himself as distinct from others
and relates to


the others variously on the basis of his knowledge of this distinction. Hd does a
person become aware of himself as to distinguish him from othersl The infant does
not have a self image, that is, he does not distingui between himself and ethers,
everything in him is similar Gradual however, through an accumulation of iterative
experience, lie begins distinguish between things and to attach special meaning to
certain thin and people. Before thin knowledge and distinction of things occurs, ti
infant is. not very human and he acts mainly on instinct. He cries when be hungry
and his cry is responded to by feeding him. His wants are satisfU as soon as he
makes Them known. He has considerable control over man things. His behaviour is
completely selfish as he seeks only his ow happiness and has no worry for others
and he is deprived of nothing
As he grows older however, things change. He comes lo be aware ths he is not
alone in the world. He starts to recognise people and to distinguis things. Although ho
can"distinguish things anil he becomes aware of otht people, there ii no sense of
person in the real sense. All things are sti similar in some respects Although he
distinguish human beings, he cal hardly distinguish one person from another. All men
to him. Tor instancei arc Daddy! Eventually he comes to attach names to people and
things, an< distinguish Daddy from other men. He become aware of himself and see
himself as being different from others. He starts to use the word 'I which is i dear
indication of self-consciousness.
Cooleys Theory of the Looking Glass Self
Early in the century, Charles Cooley, an American economist and sociologist,
formulated a theory concerning the emergence of the self. According to him, the
development of the self begins very early in life." After passing the initial stage of
infancy when the individual has nonsense of person, he develops the capacity to
distinguish things and people. He becomes aware of other people. He begins to realize
and accept the presence of other people. He is thus gradually drawn out of his utopian
world of being in control of his environment. He can at this stage distinguish himself
from others. He develops a self-image. He then starts the reality of life. Even within
the secure four walls of his house, he begins to meet with frustrations and
disappointments. He does not have food when lie pleases or at the precise moments
he wants it. He gradually realizes that there are other people whom he must take into

n when acting and to whom he must adjust He realizes that in the

things he wants, he has to request for them in socially lyi - by asking.
He also realizes that the other people whom he )h must be satisfied or
pleased at times too for him to have 11 others must sometime'; be
persuaded or cajoled. An infant iple, wants something from its parent
only his to cry to have it lid through the interactive process must have
realised crying h htm what he wants; he either asks for it politely or
humours |p give him.
toping this way, he at the same time learns the norms of his Millses
that people have certain, expectations of him which he In order to
receive the affection and care which he needs, through this process, he
becomes socialized. He leams to eon 111 norms, values and expectations
gomes to distinguish between the self and others, he gradually I these
others are assessing him and judging all his actions and Igeordiug to
some set standards and rules. As he desires the these others, he leams to
live up to theij expectation. He wishes i to in favourable ways by others.
The opinions of others through the interactive process play significant
part? in formation. Tins self-image is thus a social product- discovered
jj( ft Actions of others.
(1902: 1-3) coined the expression the looking-glass self, rod other
people to a minor. We gaze into it. note how others US, and as a result
of their reactions we develop feelings about That is, we gain a
conception of self-by reflection We use these ffom the "mirror" as a
basis for knowing and evaluating The individual becomes largely what
he understands his ;uaintances, and others with whom he fhteracts
think he is As a evaluate yourself partly m terms of the impressions you
tro making on your instructors and other students. As a son or a )tU
are in part what you think your parents consider you to be If fferots
from them, you set yourself as the kind of son or daughter your parents
judge you to be.
to Charles Cooley the looking-glass self contains three the imagination of
our appearance to the other person, the ion of his judgement of that
appearance and some sort of self- aush ns pride or mortification
Suppose, for example, a person 1 crowded restaurant accidentally
bocksbis plateoffthetable.lt 1 huge cash and the food spills all over him.
According to
Cooley he first steps outside himself and observes himself from tl
viewpoint of others in the room (".........a well dressed fellow wi
spaghetti all over him....'). Next, still examining himself as object, 1
imagines that others are evaluating his behaviour ('. . . must be a rattii
clumsy and awkward person ........ "'). Finally, the individual as subje
develops feelings and reactions to these imaginary evaluations of himse
as object- He gets embarrassed, his face reddens, and he trk

unsuccessfully to pretend it didn't happen. The process is made mot

interesting when we note that probably the same things would ha\
happened if the room had been totally empty. We arc carrying "our
judg< around with us", and they are constantly "evaluating" our
behaviour. A we place ourselves before a mirror and assess our
appearance, "So als individuals in social interaction place themselves
before other people an the image which these other people and the
image which these oth{ people have or which we think they have about
us influences th behaviour, of the particular individuals concerned.
This way the se develops.
Charles Cooley emphasized the childhood years as the most crucial
fd the development of the looking-glass self because it is during this
perio that the most lasting and strongest influences occur At this stage,
the chili is very pliable. As already noted in socialization, the most
importas group in the formation of this self image is the family As the
chili develops and comes into contact with other groups these also play
the parts in the formation of his "Self1,
Sigmund Freud and the Anti-Social Self
Another theory of personality development is the Freudian theory'
(Hall, 1954: 39-46). This is similar to the theory developed by Charles'
Cooley. The main difference is in their terminology. Freud believe that
th< rational portion of human conduct was like the visible portion of at
iceberg, with the larger part of human motivation resting in the
unseen] unconscious forces which powerfully affect human conduct He
dividet the self into three parts: the id, the ego, and the supergo. The id
is the pool of instinctive and un-socialized desires and impulse, selfish
and antisocial;; the superego is the complex of social ideals an values
which one has internalized and which forms the conscience; the ego is
the conscious and rational part of the self which overseas the
restaurant of the id by the superego. Since society restrict the
expression of aggression, sexual; desire, and other impulses, the id is
continually at war with the superego. The id is usually repressed, but at
times it breaks through in, open defiance of the superego, creating a
burden of guilt that
I for the self to carry. At other times the fores of the id find In
disguised forms which enables the ego to be unaware of the
lying reasons for its actions, as when a parent relieves by
beating the child, believing that this is " for his own ! Freud
finds that the self and society are often opponents, and
different expressions of the same phenomena.

f It il the aspect of personality that motivates the toward

seeking desirable things. This is the earliest aspect or stage of

man and it that other aspects develop. The child acts on instincts
and seeks 'gation. The Id operates on pleasure principle - to
please itself.
From about two years of age, the ego is formed This time the
to speak and can differentiate between things. He begins to be
lous. 1 le realize he is not alone in the world. He begins to reason
Into reality with the world, realising that not all his desires will ,
At this stage he starts to develop as a full member of society Utf
rclses restraint over the impulsive urges of the id. Unlike at the s
child is now conscious of his actions, The child realise that if
lOmetliing, he plans to get it. The Ego reconciles the demands of
th those of the society and directs me impulses of the id towards
thut ure socially acceptable.
sR-ECGO - This aspect deals with conscience, the values and
Ihi society, it is the aspect that has acquired the moral norms of
It is more or less a judge of the individual -judging whether docs
or wants to do is right and justified or not. The super-ego the
demands of the society upon the selfish drives of the id and the
individual from doing things in ways that arc not acceptable.
Jvidual at tins stage docs something wrong, he is troubled by
his :s or has guilty feeling. The main function of the super-ego is
to performance of immoral things.
id the (Generalized Other
l Herbert Mead (1934) described the development of the self
this Individual will conceive of himself as he believes significant
ftenceive of him. He will then tend to act in accordance with
lions he imputes lo these significant others concerning the way
like him" should act.
believed that &elf develops as the child accepts the values of
All those around us u ho participate in the customs of our society
thought of as the generalized other. The generalized other also