Discussion post: the games children play

In the article noted in this activity, the authors point out that most introductory sociology textbooks identify the main socialization agents as family, peers, schools, media, work, and religion. “…[W]hat is far less often acknowledged is the contribution that children’s toys and games play in representing and reinforcing dominant conceptions of ‘appropriate’ social identities found in social discourse and in institutional arrangements” (para. 1). Toys and games can allow us to experience the subtleties of race, class, gender, and political socialization that are embedded in play. Sometimes players may challenge and subvert these images and messages at the delight or disgust of other players.

For the initial post, respond to one of the following options, and label the beginning of your post indicating either Option 1 or Option 2:

  • Option 1: What toys did you have as a child that you think of as agents of socialization and how did you use the toys to understand relationships, or prepare for new ones?
  • Option 2: Go to a public space like a library, mall or park and observe family interactions for an hour or so, taking notes of the interactions you observe. Based on your observations, how might the parent-child interactions be supporting the process of primary and secondary socialization? Discuss any visual evidence of role strain or role conflict that you noticed.
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