SOC100H5 Lecture Notes - Role Theory
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Social Interaction in Everyday Life
This chapter examines patterns of everyday social interaction. Indentifying
important social structures (status and role). Examining how we construct reality
through social interaction.
Social Structure – refers to social patterns that guide our behaviour in everyday
Building Blocks of SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Status – a social position that is part of our social identity and defines our
relationships to others
Role – the action expected of a person who holds a particular status
*A person holds a status and performs a role
*A person’s status set changes over the life course
*The role sets attached to a single status vary from society to society around the
Status’ can either be:
Ascribed Status – involuntary (being a child, teenager, orphan)
Achieved Status – which is earned for (PHD, Pilot, thief)
Master Status – either ascribed or achieved but has specific importance (being
blind, a doctor, mayor etc)
Role Conflict – resulting from tension among roles linked to two or more
statuses (a mother that is also a CEO)
Role Strain – resulting from tension among roles linked to a single status
(the college prof who enjoys socializing with their students but know social
distance is needed in order to evaluate students fairly)
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Status Set – all the statuses that a person holds at a given time
Ascribed Status – a Social position that someone receives at birth or assumes
involuntarily later in life
Achieved Status – a social position that someone assumes voluntarily and that
reflects their personal ability and effort.
Master Status – a status that has exceptional importance for social identity,
often shaping a person’s entire life.
Role Set – the number of roles attached to being single
The Social Construction of Reality
Through SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION INTERACTION we construct the reality that
Example: two people interacting trying to shape the reality that they’re in.
Social Construction of Reality – the process by which people creatively shape
reality through social interaction
Thomas Theorem – a theory suggesting that the reality that people choose to
create have real consequences for the future
Example: A teacher who believes a student is gifted, may encourage exceptional
academic performance to that student
Ethno methodology – Harold Garfinkel’s term for the study of the way people
make sense of their everyday surroundings.
- a strategy to reveal the assumptions people have about their social world
- we can expose these assumptions by intentinally breaking the “rules” of social
interaction and observing the reactions of other people
Both CULTURE & SOCIAL CLASS shape the reality people construct
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