SOCIAL
STRUCTURE
Mr. Cameron
Jeannette HS
BUILDING BLOCKS OF SOCIAL STRUCTURE
 Sociologists have often viewed society as a system of
interrelated parts, or as a structure
 Social structure – The network of interrelated
statuses and roles that guide human interaction
 Status – Socially defined position in a group or in a
society
 Role – The behavior expected of someone occupying
a particular status
STATUS
 Statuses are ways of defining where individuals fit in society
and how they relate to others in society
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Statuses of President Obama:
President
Father
Husband
African American
Lawyer
Basketball Fan
 What are some of your statuses?
ASCRIBED STATUS
 Ascribed Status – Assigned according to qualities
beyond a person’s control
 Not based on ability, efforts, or accomplishments
 Examples:
 Teenager
 Gender
 Family Heritage
 Race
ACHIEVED STATUS
 Achieved Status – Acquired through a person’s direct ef forts
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Ef forts include:
Special Skills
Knowledge
Ability
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Examples:
All Occupations
Husband/Wife
Parent
High School Graduate
Athlete
MASTER STATUS
 Master Status – Plays the greatest role in shaping a person’s
life and determining his or her social identity
 A master status can be either achieved or ascribed
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Examples:
Occupation
Wealth
Marital Status
Parenthood
 What is your master status?
MASTER STATUS CONTINUED
 Master statuses change many times over the course of your life
 Teenagers:
 Student
 Athlete
 Adulthood:
 Occupation
 Parenthood
 Late Adulthood:
 Hobbies
 Being a Grandparent
ROLES
 Role – The behavior expected of someone occupying
a particular status
 “You occupy a status, but you play a role”
 At school you play the role associated with the status
of student
 At home you play the role associated with the status
of son or daughter
ROLES
 Reciprocal Role – Corresponding roles that define the
patterns of interaction between related statuses
 Husband
Wife
 Doctor
Patient
 Athlete
Coach
 Friend
 Leader
Friend
Follower
ROLE EXPECTATIONS
 Role Expectations – The socially determined
behaviors expected of a person performing a role
 Doctors are expected to treat their patients with skill
and care
 Parents are expected to provide for their children
 Police officers are expected to uphold the law
 Do these people always meet society’s expectations?
APPLYING SOCIOLOGY
 One way that people form their role expectations is by
observing role models.
 People of all ages work to imitate others whom they admire.
 List two people whom you consider to be role models.
 What characteristics do these people possess that have made
them ef fective role models in your life?
 How have these people helped define your role expectations?
ROLE PERFORMANCE
 Do these people always meet society’s expectations ? NO!
 Role Performance – A person’s actual role behavior
 Some doctors do not provide the best possible care
 Some parents mistreat their children
 Occasionally, role behaviors considered appropriate by a
certain part of society are seen as inappropriate by society as
a whole
ROLE CONFLICT & ROLE STRAIN
 Role Conflict – Occurs when fulfilling the role expectations of
one status makes it dif ficult to fulfill the role expectations of
another status
 Good Employee = Going to Work
 Good Parent = Staying Home & Take Care of Children
 Role Strain – Occurs when a person has dif ficulty meeting the
role expectations of a single status
 A teacher that has to maintain the morale of students while
getting them to continually work may experience role strain
T YPES OF SOCIAL INTERACTION
 When you play a role, you have to interact with others
 The five most common forms of social interaction:
 Exchange
 Competition
 Conflict
 Cooperation
 Accommodation
EXCHANGE
 Exchange – Whenever people interact in an effort to
receive a reward or a return for their actions
 Many sociologists believe exchange is the most basic
form of interaction
 Exchanges are a part of:
 Dating
 Family Life
 Friendship
EXCHANGE
 Reciprocity – The idea that if you do something for
someone, that person owes you something in return
 Nonmaterial Rewards:
 Thank you for doing the dishes
 Material Reward:
 A wage you receive for working at a restaurant
 Exchange Theory – People are motivated by selfinterest in their interactions with other people
 People do things primarily for rewards
 When the costs of an interaction outweigh the
rewards, people are likely to end the relationship
COMPETITION
 Competition – Occurs when two or more people or
groups oppose each other to achieve a goal that only
one can attain
 List three examples of competition from your own
life
 Many scholars think competition is a cornerstone of
American society…do you agree? Why or why not?
 What are the positives and negatives of competition?
COMPETITION
Most sociologists view competition as a
positive means of motivating people
Competition can be negative:
Psychological Stress
A lack of cooperation
Inequality
Conflict
CONFLICT
 Competition = Achieving the Goal
 Conflict = Defeating the Opponent
 Conflict – The deliberate attempt to control a person
by force, to oppose someone, or to harm another
person
 Conflicts can range from bullying a classmate to
killing someone
 What other types of conflict can you think of?
T YPES OF CONFLICT
 Four Sources of Conflict:
1. Wars
2. Disagreements within Groups
3. Legal Disputes
4. Clashes over Ideology
 Ideology = Religion/Politics
 What are the positives of conflict?
 Positives:
 Strengthens group loyalty
 Can bring social change
COOPERATION
 Cooperation – Two or more people or groups work together to
achieve a goal that will benefit more than one person
 No group can complete its tasks or achieve its goals without
cooperation from its members
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Examples:
Football
Band
Class Of ficers
ACCOMMODATION
 Accommodation – A state of balance between cooperation
and conflict
 Accommodation – Staying at a hotel for $80
 Cooperation – Staying at a hotel for free
 Conflict – Hotel owner refusing to let you stay no matter what
 Accommodation can take a number of dif ferent forms:
 Compromise – Two parties give up something to come to a
mutual agreement
 Truce – Brings a halt to conflict until a compromise is reached
 Mediation – A third party acts as an advisor or counselor
 Arbitration – A third party makes a binding decision
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