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Social Structure

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Phillip S

on 9 February 2017

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Transcript of Social Structure

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
Chapter 5
Society, Social Structure, and Interaction
What is Social Structure?
The complex framework of societal institutions (such as the economy, politics, and religion) and the social practices (such as rules and social roles) that make up a society
Theoretical views of Social Structures
Functionalists-structures create order and predictability in a society. The structure is important for human development
(ex. we develop a "self-concept" as we view the attitudes and behaviors of people around us-when those attitudes are predictable, it is easier to develop a positive self-concept)
Components of Social Structure
Status-socially defined position in a group or society characterized by certain expectations, rights and duties

What are different things that determine someone's status?
Two types of status
Ascribed status-social position given at birth, or received involuntarily later in life, based on things the individual has little or no control over
The "structure" provides a social web of support and relationships that connects individuals to the larger society
Losing this "linkage" can have serious consequences for individuals (ex. homelessness)
Conflict-Social structure determines social relations and may be the source of inequality and injustice
(ex. Marx)
Achieved status-a social position a person assumes voluntarily as a result of personal choice, or merit
Ascribed or Achieved status?
Greg has just celebrated his 70th birthday and is now considered elderly by many members of society

Tina has just completed her EMT certification and is now trusted with responding to certain medical emergencies

Timothy is a Native-American and and many people identify this about him based on his appearance upon first meeting him.
Master Status
We all occupy many different statuses, the master status is the most important status a person occupies
This is the overriding ingredient in determining a person's general social position
What do you think is the #1 ingredient society ranks our social position by?
Status Symbols
Material signs that inform others of a person's specific status.
What do you think people most often attempt to show with a status symbol?
A set of behavioral expectations associated with a given status
Role Expectation
-a group or society's definition of the way a specific role ought to be played


-how a person ACTUALLY plays the role
More on "Roles"
Role Conflict
-occurs when incompatible role demands are placed on a person by two or more statuses held at once
Role Strain
-occurs when incompatible demands are built into a single status that a person occupies
Role Exit
-occurs when people disengage from social roles that have been central to their self-identity
(ex-convicts, ex-nuns, retirees, etc.)
What is a "role expectation" for a role you have?

Describe a "role conflict" you have experienced
Full transcript