3 Social Structure and Interaction Social structure is the framework of societal institutions (politics, and religion) and social practices (social roles) that make up a society and establish limits on behavior.Social interaction is the process by which people act toward or respond to other people and is the foundation for all relationships and groups in society.
5 What Is Social Structure? Refers to the way in which society is organizedIt contains four elements:a. Statusesb. Rolesc. Groupsd. Institutions
6 StatusA socially defined position in a group (or society); accompanied by certain rights and dutiesStatus Set - All of the statuses occupied by a person at one time
7 Three Types of StatusAscribed - Conferred at birth or received involuntarily later in lifeAchieved - The result of choice, merit or effortMaster - The most important status a person occupies
8 ROLES A set of behavioral expectations that accompany a status. Role Conflict - Incompatible demands between multiple rolesRole Strain - Incompatible demands within a single role
9 GROUPSA number of people (more than one) who share similar norms, values and expectations or regularly and consciously interact.
10 A gathering of multiple people is not necessarily a group: Aggregate: A group of people who happen to be togetherCategory: A collection of people who have similar characteristics, but may not know one another
11 Primary Groups Characteristics: 1. Small 2. Extended interaction 3. Intimate/face-to-face contact4. Emotional ties5. Cooperative
12 Secondary Groups Characteristics: 1. Larger 2. Temporary 3. Superficial4. More Impersonal5. More Formal
14 Social InstitutionsA set of organized beliefs and rules that establishes how a society will attempt to meet basic social needs:Family, Religion, Education, Government, and Economy
15 The Functions of Social Institutions 1) Replace members2) Socialize new members3) Produce, distribute and consume goods and services4) Preserve social order
16 Social Structure and Modern Society Durkheim was interested in understanding this question:How do societies manage to hold together?
17 Mechanical Solidarity Typical of Preindustrial Societies:Similar workEmphasis on groupThere are few social rolesSocial interaction is based on intimate social contact
18 Organic Solidarity Greater division of labor Society is less personal People relate based on status and roles, not human qualitiesInterdependence is key
19 Social Structure From the Macroperspective FunctionalismSocial structure creates order and predictability in a societyWe know what is expected of us and thus act accordingly which creates and maintains social orderThus, social structure is functional for the maintenance of society
20 Social Structure From the Macroperspective Conflict TheoryThe way economic production is organized is the most important structural aspect of societySocial structure creates boundaries that define which persons or groups are “insiders” and which are “outsiders”The Bourgeoisie vs. ProletariatThus, social structure is a source of conflict in society
21 Social Structure From the Microperspective Social structure is based on shared understanding:Social Constructionism (Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann)Ethnomethodology (Harold Garfinkle)Dramaturgy (Erving Goffman)
22 Peter Burger & Thomas Luckmann – Social Constructionism Social reality is a “social construction”Our perception of reality is largely shaped by the subjective meaning that we give to our experiencesThe Thomas Theorem: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”We act on reality as we see itReality is what we believe it to beCan lead to a Self-fulfilling prophecy: A false belief our prediction that produces behavior that makes the originally false belief come true
23 Erving Goffman – Dramaturgical Analysis You are a collection of social roles (student, sister, athlete, etc.)Daily interactions are similar to dramatic productions.Members of our “audience” judge our performance and are aware that we may reveal our true character.Most of us attempt to control the impressions we give to others.We learn how to play our roles because others teach (socialize) usothers taught you how to be “a good student”, sorority member, etc.”But how do we actually perform these roles?Goffman argues that we assume roles much like a movie or stage actor“All the world is a stage”FrontstageBackstageImpression ManagementTeam workHelps avoid embarrassing situations and maintains social order…E.g. “The Party”
24 Harold Garfinkle - Ethnomethodology Sharing norms and rules of behavior provide:MeaningSocial stabilityThe social order is challenged when these norms are brokenWe see the underlying structure which holds society together when norms are broken“Breaching experiments”
25 Each of the above examples suggests: Breaching ExperimentsThe professorElevator...Store bartering...Boarders at home...Supermarket “borrowing”...Handing out change…Each of the above examples suggests:That the norms governing and sustaining social order are taken for granted until challengedDeference, politeness, and authority exist because they are taken for grantedThese beliefs can be successfully challenged by people with sufficient power or self-assuranceThat challenging the norms governing and sustaining social order creates chaos, embarrassment, frustration, and a breakdown in the social order