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This chapter examines the theoretical construct of biculturalism from a socialization perspective and focuses on children and adolescents who come from environments that foster dual-culture socialization. Before we can thoroughly discuss the issues in bicultural development, it is important to address a few general issues about socialization. Over the years, there have been numerous, excellent state-of-the-art summaries of the relevant research literature on socialization (Maccoby, 2000; Maccoby & Martin, 1983). In this research, we see the importance given to the role of parents and other family members in the socialization of children to the values, beliefs, and acceptable standards of behavior of a society. This is followed by an examination of the role played by peers and institutions, such as the school in shaping the social character of the individual (Minuchin & Shapiro, 1983). This literature informs us about the ways in which adults and their institutions transmit culture to children with the expressed purpose of incorporating children into membership in society. Although the aim of culture transmission generally is its continuity, there may also be transmission that results in cultural change (e.g., if the values of creativity and individuality are transmitted to the same or the next generations).
A gap in the literature on socialization is at the heart of this chapter. The implicit assumption in socialization research is that children are enculturated into a single culture; therefore, culture is not salient in understanding socialization processes because if everyone has nearly the same experience, then differences that occur between children and socializing agents are not due to culture per se.
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