SOCI 1001 Lecture 6: Social Structure 2.8

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8 Feb 2017
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Social Structure 2.8
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
10:24 AM
Social structure: social forces that enable and constrain individual and group action
o What about individual freedom/agency?
o Structures are enabling
Provide regular patterns that we can all count on in our daily lives
o Structures are constraining
Do not control our behavior
But they do make some choices/behaviors easier or more difficult
o Two parts of social structure
Roles and hierarchies
Norms and institutions
Roles and hierarchies
o Role: position within society that comes with a specific set of expectations
about how to behave and be treated
Ascribed roles: given to you at birth
Man, woman, socioeconomic class
Achieved roles: roles you are not born with
Student, mother, doctor
o Hierarchies: relationships between individuals or groups that are unequal and
provide one person/group with more status or power than another
Come with expectations and limitations
Why do hierarchies persist?
Discriminatory laws
Stereotypes
Social reproduction
Every single time we go along with it and play our role
Norms and institutions
o Norms: unwritten rules of society
Tell us what is and is not appropriate to do in any situation
Vs rules
Rules are written and talked about, norms are unwritten and
usually do not need to be explained
Powerful way social structures gain power over us
o Institutions: when norms solidify into enduring customs (marriage) or
organizations (schools)
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