Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Oberlin Community Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Daphne John

Committee Member(s)

Greggor Mattson
Alicia Tran-Smith


Socialization, Early childhood education, Pierre Bourdieu, Social reproduction


Socialization, or the process of learning how to behave and act in society, can be taught to individuals in many different ways. These styles have been shown to differ between socioeconomic status groups (Lareau, 2011; Park, 2016). Much of socialization today occurs in schools (Wentzel, 2015), the earliest exposure being preschool. I operationalize the socialization process in terms of the values children are told are important, either implicitly or explicitly. How are value systems embedded within preschool curricula? What language and communication tools do teachers use to relay social messages to students? Using Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, doxa, capital, and social reproduction as a theoretical framework, I utilize mixed methods (secondary survey data analysis and qualitative interviews) to empirically test hypotheses regarding the link between the socioeconomic status of students and socialization styles their teachers employ. The results confirm my hypothesis that the socialization styles preschool teachers employ in their classrooms reflect their students' socioeconomic status. This study provides insights into current socialization practices and modern social reproduction and concludes with future research recommendations.