In what way have the influences of family, peers, the workplace and other forces helped shape 7Up-56Up’s Tony Walker on his life path of socialisation?

Tony Walker from Britain’s 7Up started his life in the East End of London without the middle class comforts such as surroundings and educational opportunities that socialisation primarily has on a child. The clear familial influences if any which Tony’s father had on him were clearly non academic but rather ear to the floor, down to earth, any quid on the side, rough and tumble only way of life existence in their little pocket of the community of the East End.

Tony’s very early ambition (at seven) to become a jockey and realizing this ambition at fourteen, becoming an apprentice jockey. My analysis of these steps of Tony’s falling into place was not shaped by peers of family but rather a self fulfilling prophecy of his completely independent of his surroundings but rather driven from his own powerful passionate vision at seven. What his surrounding did play in his path however was his immediate demographic of where and who he will come in contact with to see out his childhood dream.

Sadly Tony’s workplace Jockey Dream ends due to factors out of his control such as usually physicality, but this defeat only took him onto plan B – cab driving. Knowing no obstacles he pursued the cab driving business with relative success. Tony’s ‘personal front’ from Goffman’s Performances holds a strong influence on him that leads the way for him and his life ‘performances’ that we all play from Goffman’s ‘one moment to the next’ observations.

Tony’s own peers in life with the most influence would have to be his fellow cab drivers and even more importantly, his passengers. These passengers vary from day to day but leave an ever so strong force of shaping Tony’s ever evolving information processing on the many factors that keep on (voluntary or involuntary) socializing him such as: Racial views, political insights, cab business opportunities and general people skills that have shaped and continue to shape him even at 56 on his never ending socialization.

As in Postman’s Peekaboo World – ‘Television being the command centre’ I believe that Tony’s command centre was his contact with the real and changing environment around him day after day that shapes Tony’s being in a far more realistic and practical sense than the false world of the forever pushed television media and the relentless socialization effect that this has on so many.

As the 1964 clip famously states: ‘Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.’ This bold statement from the documentary in my opinion brings into view the reality of ‘socialization’ on a 7 year old and on how this social shaping effect can and does influence especially Tony Walker’s life’s journey viewed by millions around the world in relatively ‘real time.’

A D Solomon