Chapter 4: Structure, groups and organizations
Macro-aspects of society
Social structure :
Relatively stable patters of society, such as the ways in which people and groups are related to each other and
the characteristics of groups influencing our behavior.
Age differences, how rich and poor are related, how male and female are related
Status, roles, groups, organizations, institutions: how we participate and act in society
a socially defined position that an individual occupies
Cannot change, born with it
Married, job, major
combination of all the statuses any individual holds at a given time
: in Japan, my master status would be a foreigner. Here it’s LSU student. Might be a negative status
like ex-prisoner, carrier of AIDS
set of expectations and behaviors associated with your status in a given group or society
Role set: set of expected behaviors; as an LSU student we’re supposed to go to games; as teenager supposed to have
fun; learned through the socialization process
describes what society suggests that we should do. For the status of student: attending class,
listening, taking notes, studying, passing.
how you understand a particular role; the student’s role perception may be that its not necessary to
attend every class, take notes, or get an A to pass
how well you play the particular role; what you actually do different from the prescribed role
Role ambiguity, Role strain, and role conflict
some roles are ambiguous, or unclear, and you don’t know how to behave; if your ex wife gets
married again, how are you supposed to behave towards her new husband? Friend? Enemy?
results from a role overload or from contradictory demands and expectations built into a given status; a
single mother have to play a role of mother and primary money maker; have to juggle those different roles. When you’re
expected to study, go on a date, work, and listen to a friend all on the same night.