Sociology: the Basics Chapter 4 Social Structure: A Guide to Everyday Living Social Interaction – the process by which people act and react in relation to others Through interaction, we create the reality in which we live. Social structure guides our interaction. Status – a social position that an individual occupies. Every status is part of our social identity. time. – all of the statuses a person holds at a given – a social position a person receives at birth or assumes involuntarily. – a social position a person assumes voluntarily that reflects personal ability. "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them". - (Quote Act II, Scene V, Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare). A Master Status Some statuses matter more than others. – a status that has special importance for social identity. For most, one’s occupation is a master status. Serious illness or disability may also operate as a master status. Role – behavior expected of someone who holds a particular status. One performs a role. It requires action. according to personality. varies – a number of roles attached to a single status. (text pg 90) Role Conflict and Role Strain – conflict between roles corresponding to 2 or more statuses. When we experience being pulled in several different directions. – tension between roles connected to a single status. Performing various roles attached to one status feels like a “balancing act.” Can you think of examples of role conflict (conflict between different roles)? Can you think of examples role strain (tension between roles connected to a single status)? THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY Reality is not as “fixed” as we may think. – the process by which people creatively shape reality through social interaction. Interaction is a complex negotiation. The Thomas Theorem – situations that are defined as real are real in their consequences. Can you think of examples? Although reality is “soft” as it is fashioned, it can become “hard” in its effects. Can you think of examples? Ethno-methodology in everyday encounters. states people create reality – the study of the way people make sense of their everyday surroundings. This explores the process of making sense of social encounters. Realities are influenced by culture. Can you think of some examples? Dramaturgical Analysis: “The Presentation of Self” Erving Goffman states people are much like actors performing on a stage. – the study of social interaction in terms of theatrical performance. Each performance involves the presentation of self. Jaques: All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages… As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143 Nonverbal Communication Nonverbal communication – using body movements, gestures, and facial expressions rather than speech. This conveys information. Eye contact is used to invite interaction. Hand gestures may convey an insult. Gestures also supplement spoken words. Gender and Performances Women are socialized to be less assertive than men. Women tend to be more sensitive to nonverbal communication. Women craft their personal performances more carefully than men. Men typically command more space than women. To what extent to do agree with the above? Idealization, Embarrassment, and Tact We construct performances to idealize our intentions. We try to convince others we do not have selfish motives. – discomfort resulting from a spoiled performance. – helping someone “save face” Interactions in Everyday Life: Emotions , more commonly called feelings, are an important dimension of every day life. Just as society guides our behavior, it guides our emotional life. Do you agree? Why or why not? Emotions include a biological element, and a cultural element. Can you think of some examples? Interaction in Everyday Life: Language Language conveys deep levels of meaning. Language defines men and women differently in several ways: The power function of language. The value function of language The attention function of language Interaction of Everyday Life: Humor Humor is a product of reality construction. Humor arises from contradiction, ambiguity, and double meanings found in differing definitions of the same situation. Humor provides a way to express an opinion without being serious. Humor often is a sign of real conflict. Consider your favorite comedies? Do you see examples of any of the above?