Starting Points Chapter 3 Notes
* Learn how social structures, roles, and identities influence our behaviour
* Find out how the size of a group affects the way people behave within it
* Differentiate between the functions of gangs, teams, and bands, while recognising
how each group is similar in their goals
* Consider the characteristics of cliques
* Understand the processes that occur within beaucracies
* last chapter, we discussed all those non-human factors that influence how we get along
with one another.
* In this chapter, we will discuss some of the human factors that influence our social
> what we call social script and social forms.
* Social scripts are those culturally constructed, socially enforces practices that we are all
expected to follow when we are all expected to follow when we interact in social institutions
* Social forms are those social arrangements that arise out of interaction often below the
cultural radar (below people’s consciousness)
> like fashion and tweets. * Georg Simmel associate with social forms a lot.
* This chapter focuses almost exclusively on the symbolic interactionist point of view, which
provides the richest insight into microsociological processes like interaction, negotiation
* Our primary socialisation - our earliest childhood training initially causes us to view police
officers in this way, and throughout our lives, this view is reinforced.
Classic Studies .. Outsiders
* Howard Becker was the first one to focus about the roles of people.
* In “outsiders (1963)”, Becker sets the groundwork for labelling theory
> Becker notes that social groups create deviance by making rules to particular people and
labelling them as outsiders. Thus deviance is a result of a group expelling an individual or
* Becker argues that people learn to smoke marijuana, just as learn anything else.
* Becker analyses deviance as a process of becoming someone outside the community’s
* One of the main points Becker makes in Outsider is that the study of deviance must pay
as much attention to rule enforcers as it does to rule violators.
* Strongest criticism of Becker’s theory of deviance is that it ignores personal motivation for
deviant actions, focusing on the effects and not the causes of this behaviour.
> However, this focus is intentional. > Becker admits that in his model, “instead of the deviant motives leading to the deviant
behaviour it is the other way around : the deviant behaviour in time produced the deviant
Identity, Roles and Role-sets
* Social scripts are most closely associates with the dramaturgical approach of symbolic
interactionism, an approach systematised and popularised by sociologist Erving Goffman.
> Goffman, in the book ‘The presentation of Self in Everyday Life(1959)’ showed that we
can understand and think about social life much more fruitfully in terms of a theatrical
production, complete with costumes, scripts audiences and roles.
* this approach also helps us explain the sheer fact of social structure : that predictable,
enduring feature of social life that is the subject matter of sociology.
* The social scripts we follow are usually imperfect.
> we need social skills and insight to deduce what behaviour is suitable on a date.
* In drama, there are characters and role, and the role we play provide us with social
* demographic categories are different from social communities.
> people belonging to the same category do not communicate or interact with each other
merely based on their shared membership in that category.
* sometime there is nothing we would like better than to leave a situation or voice our
disapproval of what is going on, but we continue to obey the social riles all the same.
* many sociologists explained identity formation with labelling theory, which, as you know
from Becler’s work, states that we gain knowledge or understanding of who we are by
seeing how other people view or treat us. > This theory has its foundation in the work of Charles Horton Coopley.
> This means, for example, if you have loving parents who encourage and support you, you
look at yourself differently than if you have parents who doubt your abilities and
* This theory has some validity, but there are limits
> our identities are based in part on how others regard and respond to us, but to what
extent do we absurd other people’s opinions, under what conditions?
> Goffman notes that riles and identities are so closely intertwined that the two almost
overlap, as suggested by the concepts role embracement, role distance, and role exit.
* In role embracement, a person willingly accepts both social role and the identity
associated with it.
* Role exit is the process a person undergoes when leaving a role.
> This includes not only the rejection and loss of certain activities, responsibilities.
* Thus, the interactionist perspective argues that identities are socially determined, based
on the social roles we play.
* George Herbert Mead argues that people adopt roles throughout their lifetime in a
process he called role-taking.
> learning the role
* In Mead’s view, the interaction of roles depends mainly on symbol systems, especially
* Ralph Turner introduced another concept of role change called role-making
> people invent new social rules with the assistance and co-operation of others. * Robert Heinlein tells us ‘Grok means to understand so throughly that the observer
becomes part of the observed - to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group
* Part of the problem is, newly invented role may not have an accompanying status, which
provides needed resources for role play.
> we can’t just introduce a new activity or role without establishing how these fit into society
as a whole.
* Without an orderly agreed on hierarchy statuses, there are no stable roles, and without
stable roles, no stable interactions.
> Parsons views statuses as central ingredients of social order, and asks us to imagine that
the obligations and privileges associated with each status are well known and widely
accepted, because of socialisation.
* We learn how to live in society through socialisation.
> in other words, we learn from others.
Role conflicts and role strains
* When the roles a person plays conflict with each other, the individual experiences role
strain, which reveals itself as stress.
> somehow people find ways of managing the stress associated with role strain. They do
so in various ways, by using sometimes ingenious social mechanisms.
* One such mechanism is prioritising social rules, which allows a person to resolve role
strain quickly and efficiently when it arises. * Second mechanism, at the extreme, assigning priorities is like adopting what is known as
a master status; making one role more important than others
* Third mechanism for reducing role strain is by compartmentalisation, or the division of
activities into categories or sections.
Classic studies… ‘The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies’
* people do all s