Power and socialization in sibling interaction: Establishing, accepting and resisting roles of socialization target and agent

Jana Declercq*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Downloads (Pure)


This paper analyses socialization processes in the interaction between two Belgian, Dutch-speaking sisters, aged 10 and 8, more specifically with regard to power dynamics and establishing the roles of socialization target and agent. Socialization is collaborative, but usually entails some division of roles, which is intricately linked to power dynamics. Consequently, socialization efforts, and the socialization roles of target and agent, can be discarded or contested as part of these power dynamics. The analysis shows that socialization efforts between the sisters are often accepted, but also regularly contested and resisted. Moreover, the data indicates that roles and goals of some socialization efforts are so unclear that the boundaries between socialization efforts and interactional actions that aim to gain control become blurred. In conclusion, socialization must not only be considered in terms of its learning potential, but also as a power struggle with intricate and complex negotiation dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-532
Number of pages24
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8-Jun-2021

Cite this