Group Socialization

Status is our social position. This is where we stand in relation to others.
Remember the triangle and our discussion of hierarchy the first week of class? Well,
the status that we have in larger society will locate us somewhere within that
hierarchy. We may have different statuses within the different groups outlined
Status set is all of the statuses we hold at any given time.
Ascribed status is the status we cannot change. Ex: Our skin color, our sex (for the
most part), being a teenager, a son…
Achieved Status are “voluntary”. We have reached where we are in this status do
to our efforts and frequently the level of privilege we were born with. Ascribed
status influences achieved status.
Master status has a special importance in a person’s life. It defines them as a
person above all other things. Master statuses define our whole lives. Can be
negative and positive. What are some examples of master status?
Roles – we have status, but we perform roles.
Roles are how we perform our identity and our status.
Having student status means you perform by going to class and taking notes
(hopefully); How do mothers perform their roles? Fathers?
What are some of the roles that you perform?
We have a mixture of performances going on at any given time. This is called
a role set.
Role conflict is the tension between roles. Frequently students experience role
strain as both students and as people who have to work to provide for themselves
and their family.
Role strain is when there are several roles connected to one status, and performing
those roles means we have to balance our “performances”.
“The Presentation of Self” is the study of how we perform our roles – as if we were
all on a theater stage.
Erving Goffman came up with this way of analyzing human interaction, and
he said that we can explain a lot about human behavior by looking at the
theater of everyday life.
Think about the theater of life in terms of statuses and roles. The status is
the part and the role is the script.
When we are out and about in this theater of life, we are trying to create
specific impressions in the minds of others.
How we present ourselves involves costumes, stage sets, and props. All of
this affects the way others view our performance.
Nonverbal Communication is the way we communicate who we are through our
body language. This way of communicating involves facial expressions, body
movements, eye contact, and the way we occupy space.
Demeanor is the way we act and carry ourselves. How much power a person has is
a reflection of their status.
People with more power tend to have more freedom in how they act,
whereas people with less power are limited.
People with power can talk longer and louder without being criticized.
People with less power are expected to show respect through silence.
Women are socialized and generally expected to perform in such a way that
reflects their lack of power. This is especially true for women that hold jobs
as secretaries and domestic workers.
How can we think of this in terms of race? Are there ways that we expect
people of certain racial groups to present themselves in terms of demeanor?
The amount of physical space we occupy sends a message about the statuses we
The more power a person has, the more space they occupy.
Femininity has to do with taking up less space, and being dainty. Masculinity
has to do with fully occupying space.
In the US, men tend to take up more personal space. It is typically socially
acceptable for men to get into women’s space, but if a woman occupies a
man’s personal space, this is taken as a sign of sexual interest.
Staring, smiling, and touching are all ways that we communicate our power.
In conversation, women typically hold eye contact more than men. Men stare
more than women though (whether they are in conversation or not). What is
the difference between these ways of interacting?
Smiling helps ease the conversation. It is also a way that we show
submission. Women smile more than men (Henley, Hamilton, and Thorne
Touching is typically thought of as a way that people show affection and care.
There are other used for touching. By touching another person, you may
show you possess them as well. In public, men typically touch women more
than the other way around. They guide them with their hand as they cross
the street…
Primary Groups are groups of people who are tightly bonded together.
These are the people that you hang out with all the time; they are the people
in your life that are irreplaceable.
Primary groups heavily shape our socialization. They teach us the norms and
values of our culture.
Primary groups shape our personalities and how we understand ourselves
heavily. Think about the theories of how the “self” is developed. (Mead and
Cooley). Primary group members play an important role in how our self is
Secondary Groups are made up of people that have weak connections, but that
have a collective task or goal.
We don’t know people in our secondary groups well, or we may not know
them at all.
The group might be small or large.
Members of secondary groups might treat one another impersonally. This
helps groups get things done, without having to deal with all of the “niceties”.
Whereas primary group members often help to meet emotional needs of one
another, secondary group members may have a different task.
Our class is an example of a secondary group. What are some other
examples? How many secondary groups can a person belong to?
In groups are the groups that we know and feel we belong in. This is the group that
we respect and feel loyal towards.
We recognize these people as extensions of ourselves.
Out groups are made up of people that we don’t feel we belong to. This may be a
hostile feeling, but it may just be a neutral feeling.
Reference group is a group of people that we use to measure ourselves. This group
is how we determine if we are living up to who we try to be or a decision we are
trying to make. Remember the theory called “The Looking Glass Self”? The
reference group is the body of people that we may imagine when we are trying to
act on something.