Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Religion, Gender, and Patriarchy: Awakening to My Self-Conscious Resocialization

Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Religion, Gender, and Patriarchy: Awakening to My Self-Conscious Resocialization

Article excerpt

"Sharon, Sharon ... can you hear me?" "Sharon if you can hear me squeeze my hand." Slowly I struggled to open my eyes as I listened to my sister coach me towards consciousness. Finally I saw her familiar face smiling at me, and for that brief moment I felt at home, but I wasn't. I started to look around the room, and endless questions started to fill my head: "Where am I?" "What happened?" Soon I would discover how my life had taken an unexpected turn. In June of 2000, I was in an accident that not only threatened my life, but redefined it as well. Even now as I reflect back on who Sharon Brown was then and who I am now, I feel as though when I awoke in that hospital bed I was not given just another chance, but was given a whole new life, completely different from everything I had known before. This new life has been a rebirth for me because it has allowed me to re-experience the process of socialization with open eyes, and to observe how who I am is very much a product of those around me.

Personally, I view socialization to be an ongoing process of development in which people discover and define who they are as individuals in relation to the society in which they live. Many events and people have shaped who I am, and although their influence can be seen at the personal level, all these influences can also be recognized to be products of structural social forces shaping my life. By reflecting on various aspects of class, readings, discussions, films, etc, I am now able to see and analyze this relationship between the micro and macro social worlds, both of which have helped me to arrive at a sociological understanding of who I am as a social being.

Prior to the summer of 2000, my life seemed very average. My social location was that of an American teenager. I was part a working/middle class, Protestant, Caucasian family consisting of my mother, my father, and my sister. I was the youngest child, and being the youngest I was often sheltered and accustomed to following the lead of my other family members. This presumed conformity was seen in many aspects of my life, one of which was religion. I was raised in the Protestant Christian faith, and religion and church were always important aspects of my family life, which meant they were important personally for me as well. It was with religion that I experienced a form of secondary socialization because after becoming a participant member of society, I was then inducted into the specific world of the church, more specifically the world of my Protestant Christian church (Berger & Berger 19). As I child, I attended church and church-related activities faithfully, and the Christian doctrine was constantly being taught to me inside and outside of my house. Fundamental Christian concepts and ideology were taught to me by Sunday school teachers or youth leaders and were then reinforced at home by my parents. The macro world of the church as a religious institution was affecting the micro world of our family dynamics, my life and those of my parents, and our religious socializations.

When I was 13, due to economic difficulties, my father began to leave for months at a time in order to work as an engineer on different ships. The dynamics of our family completely changed, and my parents began to conform to the breadwinner/homemaker roles of the typical middle-class American family described by Phyllis Moen and Patricia Roehling in their book, The Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream (2005). Again, one is able to see the interaction between the micro and macro world because it was the dominant/popular values of society that were influencing the roles that my parents aspired to attain. "In the ideal world, men were breadwinners, working full time in careers that promised security, [and] women were the caretakers of the home and family supporting their husbands emotionally and socially" (Moen & Roehling 3). Striving to attain this ideal, the roles of my parents changed, now my father would solely earn money, and my mother would solely raise the kids. …

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