Self and society: Statuses, roles, self, identities
- 110 MC, 2hours, 35% lectures and 65% from readings
- Pay attention to the most important researches for results for every
- No numbers
Status and Role – definitions
- Status: a position in relation to other people.
- Examples: a hockey player, a restaurant server, a human resource
specialist, social worker, a sex trade worker, a father, a sister, a best
friend, a voter.
- Roles: expected behavior of a person in a particular status (Shaffir and
Pawluch follow Parsons: responsibilities and privileges of a status).
- A status describes what one is, a role describes what one does.
- Structural functionalism: roles restrict agency strongly.
Ascribed and achieved statuses
- An ascribed status: usually one a person is born into (e.g. class), or
imposed by nature, usually considered as unchangeable.
- Ascribed statuses are socially constructed.
- The all-India census 1868-1871: gender categories understandable to the
British, but not to many Indian communities.
- An achieved status: earned or chosen by the actor (e.g. class), usually
considered as chargeable.
- Ascribed statuses often influence achievement of statuses.
- A situation where the demands of one role are at odds with another.
- 1. Time demands of multiple roles: the actor must choose which role to
- 2. Internalized norms of one role spill over into another and result in
inappropriate behavior in that role.
- 1960s US: an increased number of divorces of middle-class couples,
caused by husbands’ inability to abandon norms of managerial role at
Symbolic interactionlism and social constructionism
- People act in situation on the basis of the meaning (definition) that the
situation has for them, not on the basis of objective characteristics of
things and people.
- Thomas and Thomas “If men define situations as real, they are real in
- The meanings (definitions) are created and negotiated in social
- Berger and Luckman combine symbolic-interactionist and Weberian
approach: Self and society: Statuses, roles, self, identities
- 1. Social reality is socially constructed;
- 2. By claim makers who attempt to change definitions of reality;
- 3. Success of claim makers depends on the distribution of power
between them and other social actors (including opponents).