Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Socialization in Modern Transitive World

Written By

Tatiana Martsinkovskaya, Ekaterina Kiseleva, Oksana Gavrichenko and Darja Tkachenko

Reviewed: 22 January 2018 Published: 20 June 2018

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.74237

From the Edited Volume

Socialization - A Multidimensional Perspective

Edited by Rosalba Morese, Sara Palermo and Juri Nervo

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The peculiarity of socialization in transitivity world is examined. Social and personal aspects of socialization in transitivity are revealed. It was stated that different aspects of transitivity are associated with various problems—the uncertainty with a destruction of identity and multiplicity—with difficulties with directions of socialization. Challenges-consequences of socio-psychological transitivity are shown. The analysis of obtained material showed the decrease of positive socialization in transitive space because it appears for youth as difficult situation which includes multicultural, uncertain and changing aspects of surrounding world. The results of two empirical studies are presented. The leading trends of transitivity in adolescence are the “weakening” of the criteria for self-assessing and value orientations. It leads to the increasing of conformism and positive attitudes towards schoolmates and decreasing orientation toward interaction with them. It is also decrease dominance, activity and responsibility. It was shown that reflection of the situation as a transitivity crisis situation has a particularly negative impact on socialization in a multicultural space. The ethnic identification is carried out on the basis of native, rather than the most commonly used language. Majority of teenagers and youth have an unambiguously positive, idealized attitude towards their ethnos, which leads to ethnocentrism and a negative attitude towards alien nations.


  • transitivity
  • uncertainty
  • globalization
  • multicultural world
  • socialization
  • sociocultural
  • ethnic
  • linguistic identity
  • culture

1. Introduction

Analysis of the challenges facing contemporary psychology shows that we can distinguish one, the main challenge as well as the problems associated with it. It seems that the main challenge and the main problem facing us is transitivity.


2. Challenges of transitivity

Social transitivity is characterized not only by the multiplicity, that is, the simultaneous existence of several variants of the social world in one temporal and spatial continuum, but also by a constant change of these variants in an unpredictable direction and with indefinite content [1, 2]. Thus, one can speak of transitivity as a multiplicity, variability and uncertainty of macro- and micro-social spaces. Multiplicity in this case is connected, first of all, with the expansion of the multicultural space of socialization. Globalization and mass migration processes increase cultural, linguistic, social multiplicity, which further enhances the volatility of apparently familiar surroundings. Objective difficulties and psychological stress lie not only and not so much in the multiplicity and uncertainty itself, but mainly in people’s attitude to them, people who expect new changes with serious anxiety. Multicultural environment causes not only tension, but also aggression, active and passive rejection of the new and not always understandable [3]. Therefore tolerance to variability and uncertainty, as well as the need to understand the language and culture of other people, are one of the most important factors that reduce tension and, thus, the degree of complexity and difficulty of the situation of transitivity [2, 4].

It can be stated that different aspects of transitivity are associated with various problems for a person. Thus, variability and uncertainty are associated with a destruction of identity’s wholeness and the temporal perspective [5]. Multiplicity makes it difficult to choose a group of identification and direction of socialization [6].

The new situation of transitivity is typical for all generations, although, of course, it becomes the most significant for young people and teenagers. At the same time, for young people transitivity is accepted as a natural situation in which the process of their growing up takes place. The disintegration of the times connection is manifested not only in the broken personal integrity, but, what is no less important, in the integrity of a society in which values and stereotypes have changed, and often even ethnic and geographical images of native places have transformed. Emotional instability of the mature generation is so deep that it also infects young people, especially those who for various reasons find it difficult to adapt in a situation of constant uncertainty.


3. Challenges-consequences of socio-psychological transitivity

  • Violation of the harmonious relationship between socialization and individualization

The connection between the desire for rootedness in the group (society) and, at the same time, the desire for personalization is an important condition for personal growth and development. In the case of transitivity, difficulties are associated with increased anxiety and tension, resulting in the desire to ‘hide from difficulties’, to find refuge in the group (whether large or small), an increase in conformity. Opposite dynamics is associated with the dominance of personalization, including conflicts with others (negativism) and/or downshifting.

  • Changes in the intergenerational transmission

According to the serious transformations and fluidity of norms, the age gap between generations decreases. At the same time, social, ecological, cultural and ethnic factors are increasingly influencing the process of formation of new generations and the temporary boundaries between age cohorts. Destruction of the intergenerational transmission between youth and elder generation also occurs due to the mismatch of information preferences.

  • Changing of the role of the information space and depersonalization of information

There is a big difference between information elections and trust in information in different age cohorts, especially in different regions. In large cities, this gap is particularly large, as young people choose the Internet as the leading source of information, which they trust more than TV. Adults and older people, on the other hand, choose television as the main source of information to which they trust. Difficulties with assurance to the information coming from different sources are also due to the fact that the increasing role of the media, their transformation into one of the institutions of ‘fluid’ socialization leads to depersonalization and generalization of incoming information, which is often connected with emotional discomfort [7].

  • Violation of the harmonious relationship between the flexibility-constancy of values

In the situation of transitivity, people’s ability to flexibly change their value orientations, correlating with new sociocultural realities, remaining, however, within certain value standards that are important to them, is violated (significantly reduced). We can say that in this case the main and the periphery of values are constantly changing, preventing people from either correctly understanding and assessing the changes that occur, or adapting to them [8].


4. The phenomenology of transitivity

Psychological analysis of the concept of ‘transitive society’ allows us to identify the main features that determine its psychological content [1]. We can state that such a society is characterized by the following phenomena:

  • Cardinal social transformations.

  • Globalization, which leads to the expansion of space, including the space of interpersonal contacts.

  • Strengthening of social uncertainty, connected first of all with constant transformations of values, norms and standards in the modern, changing world.

  • Increase in the duration of the process of socialization, activation of resocialization and fluid socialization.

  • Expansion of the information space and strengthening of its role, partially replacing the intergenerational connections.

Globalization is one of the most important characteristics for psychology of transitivity, as its effect is the interaction between people of different cultures, which leads the need to develop tolerance for a multicultural environment. The manifestations of globalization affect not only the economy and politics but also all aspects of the interaction of different cultures—from the exchange of technologies and joint scientific developments to mixed marriages. Modern technologies have a significant impact on people’s perception of the surrounding space, which begins to be perceived as collapsed. The Earth represents as a small planet, the distances between different points on which are not as great as it once seemed. Not too long ago time and space seemed endless to people, life seemed eternal, the earth so huge that and it is impossible to get around it. Today people understand the transience and limited of life, and the simplicity of traveling. This gives another value to life, as well as the need to accept the fact of the existence of other people and other cultures. The increase in migration also leads to the need for interpersonal interaction among people belonging to different cultures, so it becomes extremely important to analyze the causes of people’s disadaptation to new living conditions, refusal or passive rejection of that culture, those traditions that are significant for a new social environment.

At the same time, the interaction of people with different mentality, different languages, and different values leads to the need for comprehension on both the everyday and the scientific level of the relativity of our ideas about truth, about ‘what is good and what is bad’. It becomes important to evaluate the same position from different points of view, in different approaches and different sciences.

The fluidity and variability of values and norms is the reason for the growing of anxiety as people find very difficult to adapt to the ever-changing ‘rules of the game’. A consequence of this is the fact that the process of socialization takes place throughout the all life course. Therefore, at the present time it is said about the principle continuity of the process of socialization. In the context of this idea is the appearance of the term resocialization. At the same time, a modern multidimensional culture assumes a ‘liquid’ socialization, in which a multifaceted and undirected impact is possible, and the result may be a delayed, latent [9, 10].

These changes result in revising the concepts of identity and socialization as well as development of a new methodology and new investigation methods [2]. In situation of transitivity, the person himself, his thoughts and his behavior become more, than usual, ambiguous. That is, a person has at the same time a clear stable structure of motives and their ever-changing structure in a system of changing relations. Therefore, the objectification of motives of human behavior in a situation of uncertainty cannot already correlate with an action, as a phenomenon of personality. So, we need to find a new determination, first of all, cultural determination. It is in the context of a particular culture that one can judge both the causes, and the meaning of a particular act of a person, and its significance for the others.

As for the structure of identity in a transient, constantly changing world, it is necessary to emphasize that the problem of identity has always been actualized during periods of crisis, uncertainty, when comes out questions what norms, values, standards will be in demand tomorrow, how norms and rules of behavior will be transformed [11, 12]. These problems, turning into a personal, transcendental plan, focus on the main question—what will happen to a person, whether he will retain himself in the new conditions [13].

Transformation of the process of socialization leads to a change in the ratio of personal and social identity [5, 14]. It connects primarily with the fact that in a transitive society the balance of identities is an unstable characteristic that constantly shifts from one side to the other. Therefore, often, especially with a wide fan of identity group choices, dominates the personal not the social component of identity [6]. The person gets the opportunity to form (create), based on his ideas about himself and corresponding to his individuality group, in which the social identity is almost equal to the personal one. Internet communication and network communities also stimulate the creation of new relationships between personal and social identities that are associated not only with real, but also virtual groups. Considering identity from this point of view, it can be stated that with the expansion of Internet communication, an area of ​imaginary and virtual identity is increasing. The role of self-monitoring, which gives a person an opportunity not only for self-categorization, but also for self-presentation, demonstration of both real and imaginary qualities, whose existence is proved not in real interaction but in a story about oneself, is growing substantially.

Therefore, in the current situation of communication, the phenomenon of narrative identity develops. Narrative identity is manifested in the fact that in interpersonal contacts the percentage of stories about oneself increases, rather than presenting oneself in action [15]. This fact is directly reflected in the game of identities—opportunities to try yourself in different masks and different roles, which often increase the awareness of roles and oneself. At the same time, network communities on the one hand provide the opportunity for flexible and positive socialization, on the other they help to find different variants of the ‘game’ with its identity. In the found-created identity group (both real and, especially, virtual), self-assertion of fictitious (or appearing in the ‘game’) personality characteristics occurs, and the traditional connection categorization—self-categorization is transformed into the connection between self-monitoring and self-confirmation.

An important point is the fact that in a situation of transitivity the integrity of identity is associated with culture, and not with the continuity of life cycles. This actualizes the concepts of linguistic and sociocultural identity. Enculturation, acceptance and appropriation of culture are one of the important factors determining the success of socialization in new conditions. Native culture and language remain unchanged in a changing world [16]. Therefore, enculturation gives the rootedness and stability necessary in today’s life, which many perceive as broken, uncertain. It is culture, emotionally perceived as a stable that allows finding the points of support in the changing reality and restoring the lost integrity of the self and world images. As for the role of language in the identity formation, in this case the concept of language is used in the broadest sense of the word and cannot be identified with speech. At the same time, the language form has not linguistic or philosophical, but psychological content, analogous to the modern narrative approach that regards a person as a text.

How the situation of the transitive and multicultural world perceived as the situation of the crisis affected the process of socialization of modern adolescents became the subject of our researches in Moscow and in Komi region (the main city Syktyvkar and settlement Vizinga), conducted in 2014–2017. In the first, the assumption was made that the situation of transitivity, more pronounced at the time of the crisis of 2016–2017, reduces the socialization of adolescents. In the second study, the assumption was made that multiculturalism in a small city reduces the socialization potential of adolescents and increases their ethnocentrism.


5. Participants and methods

A sample of the first research—210 people (164 girls and 56 boys, aged 15–17 years). They were first-year students of College of Russian State University for the humanities. The study was conducted for 4 years, from 2013 to 2017, during the first half of the year, that is, in the process of adapting to a new professional educational institution. During this time, the social situation in the country has changed, so we conditionally divided students into three groups: 2013–2014—a stable period, 2014–2015—a slight transition period and 2016–2017—a period of crisis, tough transitivity. All the participants gave their consent to participate in the study.


  • Method ‘Socialization’. Martsinkovskaya and Khuzeeva [17], who estimate the level of socialization and emotional comfort.

  • The questionnaire ‘Emotional intellect’ [17].

A sample of the second research: 250 people from Moscow and the Republic of Komi (Syktyvkar and Vizinga). Participants in Moscow—80 respondents aged from 16 to 18 years. In the settlement Vizinga—58 respondents aged from 15 to 16 years. In Syktyvkar, the study involved 82 respondents aged 15–18 years. All participants of the study were aware of its purpose and agreed to participate in the work.

The need to split the sample precisely by the degree of homogeneity—the heterogeneity of culture and the cultural (linguistic) context explains the choice of the sites for this study. This also explains the scarcity and heterogeneity of the sample, which does not allow its static processing. Based on this, it was decided to focus on a qualitative analysis of the obtained material.


  • Method ‘Socialization’. Martsinkovskaya and Khuzeeva [17], who estimate the level of socialization and emotional comfort.

  • The questionnaire ‘Identity’, which allows to estimate the structure of identity. Martsinkovskaya and Khuzeeva [17].

  • The questionnaire ‘My country’—which estimates attitude to the native country, culture and language [17]


6. Results and discussion

6.1. Research I

As expected, the level of socialization among adolescents who entered the college at the year of the crisis is significantly lower for all indicators. For all positive indicators of socialization, adolescents in the crisis group lose significantly to the other two groups—stable and transitional (slight transitivity). In particular, the level of emotional comfort in this group is extremely low, with, respectively, an extremely high rate of emotional discomfort. The adaptability index is also extremely low. Therefore, the greatest interest is the analysis of the differences between the three groups on individual scales.

The positive attitude to others in a stable period is the lowest and gradually grows during transitive period. Perhaps, it is the situation of the crisis, in which group socialization becomes important, which leads to the increasing of positive attitude towards others (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Adaptation and attitude to others.

Important is the fact that the desire to dominate in this group of teenagers is lower than that of the other two. Therefore, it can be assumed that it is in this group that adolescents will be less active and less expected to take responsibility for a decision.

No less interesting are the data, reflecting the differences between the three groups in terms of understanding their own and others’ emotions. On the one hand, one can see that during the crisis period, the assessment of competence in understanding and controlling emotions is significantly reduced. The obtained data show that all three groups have a very low indicator of a real understanding of other people’s emotional states. We can also state that those teenagers, who are growing up during a period of serious transitivity, have the most adequate self-esteem, while the adolescents of the two other groups clearly overestimate their abilities.

Very important are the differences in the indicators of socialization and emotional intellect between groups of stable and slight transitional periods. If in a stable situation external control over emotional manifestations was not very high, unlike internal regulation, then in crisis, on the contrary, internal regulation falls and external control grows. The group of light transitivity is transient in these indicators, reflecting the growing trend of transitivity—the weakening of internal control (since the criteria for this control are not clear) and the strengthening of the external one (Figure 2).

Figure 2.

Emotional intellect.

The indicators of dominance and conformity are also transitional—as the transitivity increases, the desire for domination falls, and on the contrary, increases the level of conformity (Figure 3). This dynamics can be clearly seen in the evolution from one group to another. It is possible to say that this fact is also connected with the ‘weakening’ of the criteria for assessing behavior and value orientations. Perhaps, the reducing of orientation towards interaction with other is also connected with high uncertainty, when teenagers are not sure in attitude to them.

Figure 3.

Dominance and conformity.

6.2. Research II

The results obtained in the study of the attitude towards the country show that for the majority of respondents the leading parameter determining the attitude towards the country is not emotional, but externally descriptive (large, multinational) (Figure 4).

Figure 4.

My country.

It should also be noted that countryside residents more often than residents of cities mention their emotional and positive attitude to their homeland, such as ‘native’, ‘rich’, ‘friendly’, ‘developing.’ Urban residents mark external characteristics of the country, such as ‘multinational’, ‘unique’, ‘great’.

The data obtained in the study of attitudes towards the culture show that for the overwhelming majority of respondents the dominant is the positive attitude towards their native and world culture. In the answers to the question: ‘How my culture helps me’—it was stated: to develop, live and communicate. These data also emphasize the leading role of culture in the formation of sociocultural identity and personal development (Figure 5). Only a small number of respondents associate culture with ethnic identity (mainly in Syktyvkar), which is connected with the desire to communicate with people their language, their nation.

Figure 5.

My culture helps me.

About 50% respondents noted that their culture does not hinder them in any way. In a small settlement, the number of such answers is much larger than in cities, possibly due to the fact that other cultures, except the Komi and the Russian, are almost absent from it. In the city Syktyvkar, where there is a very large variety of cultures and nations, this indicator is the lowest. Many respondents there said that culture hinders communication with other peoples. Thus, we can say that in this case the language is identified with the culture (Figure 6).

Figure 6.

My culture hinders me.

In multinational cities, the differences between ethnic and sociocultural identity is minor and are mainly related to the main language of communication. In a small settlement, culture is perceived as a natural background for development and unites with the overall social situation, and in medium-sized cities and a megacity, culture can be seen as a hindrance for learning about other peoples and communicating with people who speak a different language.

We must emphasize that only residents of Moscow gave negative definitions to their culture, in Moscow also much more neutral characteristics of native culture and people than in Syktyvkar and Vizinga, where the positive characteristics of their culture and people prevail. In this context, it is indicative that the native nature, which is also regarded as part of culture, does not cause negative experiences. It is possible to say, that our respondents realize connection between culture and language and norms of behavior, that is why culture is reflected by many of them as negative for development factor, while nature is perceived only on the emotional level and does not cause negative emotions. Language by majority of respondents was identified with culture and regarded as the important component of their native culture. Although many teenagers do not know well enough their native language (Komi, German), the main factor determining ethnic identity is precisely their native language, as they say that they are not Russians (thou speak mainly Russian) but Komi and Germans.

As a whole majority of teenagers appreciate two to three languages (Russian, English, Komi, German) and both native and world culture. Positive is the fact that the number of responses reflecting a negative attitude towards foreign culture and languages is decreasing.

At the same time, a significant number of answers are disturbing; it is those in which pronounced ethnocentrism manifests itself (Figures 7 and 8).

Figure 7.

Our people.

Figure 8.


In this case, foreign peoples are characterized only negatively, in contrast to people of own nation, which are characterized only positively. The reason for this phenomenon is widespread ethnic stereotypes and prejudices. The low connection of culture with ethnic identity can cause a negative attitude towards other, ‘alien’ peoples, who are seen as bearers of negative features, and not carriers of another, but also interesting culture. This phenomenon is largely due to the fact that ‘my own’ people are viewed not in cultural context, but from the position of the emotional attitude to the idealized positive national characteristics. It is noteworthy that there are negative and critical descriptions in relation to the country, but such characteristics are completely absent in relation to native nationality.


7. Conclusion

Our material shows that the current situation of transitivity, which includes the variability, uncertainty and plurality of social and personal spaces and contexts, for many teenagers becomes a crisis and complex life situation that significantly reduces their socialization potential.

We can state that one of the most disturbing fact related to transitivity is that it leads to a significant weakening of the desire for dominance, activity and responsibility for one’s actions and increasing conformism. This can adversely affect the further social activity of young people, and their creative and personal growth.

As we see, one of the leading trends of transitivity in adolescence is the ‘weakening’ of the criteria for behavior assessing and value orientations. It is also very negative for positive socialization fact, because it is connected with ambivalent situation of increasing positive attitudes towards schoolmates and a desire for group socialization and a fall of the orientation towards interaction with them.

Our materials released another worrying fact—the reluctance of many young people to live in a multicultural society. They are not yet aware of the global appearance of multicultural space and are not ready for life in a new situation. We suppose that because of this fact, in small mono-ethnic settlements, the attitude to the country and culture is more emotionally saturated and positive than in cities and, especially, megacities. And the most disturbing fact is the pronounced ethnocentrism presented in the answers of a large number of respondents regardless of their place of residence.

The optimistic fact, concerning the role of culture in positive socialization, is that language, which is not even a priority, emotionally remains the leading parameter of ethnic identity, even if it does not correspond with the sociocultural identity. So we can say that multifaceted socio-cultural identity is a predominantly constructive moment. It increases tolerance for uncertainty and socialization in a multicultural environment.

In the future, the study of positive socialization in transitivity can be continued in two directions—monitoring the socialization of adolescents and young people from different social and territorial groups and expanding research to other areas of coexistence of different ethnic groups (Karelia and Tatarstan).


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Written By

Tatiana Martsinkovskaya, Ekaterina Kiseleva, Oksana Gavrichenko and Darja Tkachenko

Reviewed: 22 January 2018 Published: 20 June 2018