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SOC100H5 Lecture Notes - Role Theory

Course Code
Suzanne Casimiro

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Social Interaction in Everyday Life
27/09/2010 19:04:00
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 persons status set changes over the life course
*The role sets attached to a single status vary from society to society around the
Statuscan 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 persons 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
we experience
Example: two people interacting trying to shape the reality that theyre 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 Garfinkels 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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