SOC 1305 Chapter 3: Social Interaction, Groups, and Social Structure

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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
1
Chapter 3: Social Interaction, Groups, and Social
Structure
- Zimbardos prison experiment (Stanford prison experiment)
Randomly split a group of men (subjects) into prisoners and guards
Guards become strict, cruel, and prisoners became depressed, rebellious
College students who signed up for the study adopted predictable behaviors of their
roles
- Social interactionways in which people respond to each other
- Social structureways in which a society is organized into predictable relationships
Social Interaction and Reality
- Ability to define social reality reflects a groups power within a society
- Dominant group has the ability to define a societys values
- Definition of the situation can mold the thinking and personality of the individual
Elements of Social Structure
STATUSES
- Statusany of the full range of socially defined positions within a large group/society
- Ascribed and Achieved Status
Ascribed statusassigned to a person by society without regard for the persons
unique talents or characteristics
Achieved statusmust do something to acquire this
- Master Status
Everyone holds different and sometimes conflicting statuses, some have higher
social positions, some lower
Master statusstatus that dominates others and thereby determines a persons
general position within society
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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
2
SOCIAL ROLES
- What Are Social Rules?
Social ruleset of expectations for people who occupy a given social position or
status
Functionalist perspective roles contribute to societys stability by enabling
members to anticipate the behavior of others
But can be dysfunctional by restricting peoples interactions and relationships
- Role Conflictwhen incompatible expectations arise from two or more social positions
held by the same person
- Role Strainwhen the same social position imposes conflicting demands and
expectations
GROUPS
- Groupany number of people with similar norms, values, and expectations who interact with
one another on a regular basis
- Primary and Secondary Groups
Primary groupsmall group characterized by intimate, face-to-face association and
cooperation
Secondary groupformal, impersonal group in which there is little social intimacy or mutual
understanding
- In-Groups and Out-Groups
In-groupany group or category to which people feel they belong
Out-groupgoup or category to which people feel they do not belong
- Reference groupsany group the individuals use as a standard in evaluating themselves and
their own behavior
Serve a normative function by setting and enforcing standards of conduct and belief
Perform a comparison function by serving as a standard against which people can measure
themselves and others
SOCIAL NETWORKS
- Social networkseries of social relationships that link a person directly to others
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