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Social Structure and Society

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Presentation on theme: "Social Structure and Society"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Structure and Society
Chapter 5 Social Structure and Society

2 Chapter Outline Social Structure Status Roles Social Interaction
Society Postindustrial Society

3 Social Structure Defined as the underlying pattern of social relationships. Relationships among individuals are patterned. Status, role, role performance, and social interaction explain social structure.

4 All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts. ~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It

5 Status Defined as a position that a person occupies within a social structure. Individuals in interrelated statuses usually behave in orderly and predictable ways. Statuses may be assigned or earned. Individuals occupy many statuses at once as well as throughout their life course. A status set is all the statuses that an individual occupies at a particular time.

6 Types of Status Ascribed status – assigned to us at birth. Gender and age are both ascribed. So are princess, prince, lower class, higher class. Achieved status – earned or chosen because people have a degree of control and choice. Spouse, occupation, at some stages/societies lower class, higher class. Master status – affects/influences most other aspects of a person’s life.

7 The Interrelationships of Social Statuses

8 Roles Defined as culturally defined rights and obligations attached to social statuses. Basically, the expected behaviors attached to a status. Role sets – all of the roles that are attached to a single status. As you can see, the structure gets complex, as a person can have many role sets that are associated with the many statuses of their status set.

9 Rights and Obligations
The roles of one status are matched with the roles of other statuses through rights and obligations. Rights inform one person of the behavior that can be expected from another person. Obligations inform individuals of the behavior others expect from them.

10 Role Performance Occurs when roles are put into action through social interaction. Social interaction is the process of two or more persons influencing each other’s behavior. According to Erving Goffman, statuses are analogous to the parts of a play and roles are the script. In turn, social interaction represents the way the actors respond to cues given by other actors.


12 Questions for Consideration
How do the principles of interaction mentioned in the video relate to how Goffman discusses social interaction and role performance? What is the importance of the pleasure principle of interaction?

13 Role Conflict & Role Strain
Role conflict occurs when role performance in one status clashes with role performance in another status. Role strain occurs when the roles of a single status are inconsistent.

14 Zimbardo Experiment From the “Doing Research” box in the text.
The experiment was designed to observe the behavior of people without record of crime or violence in a mock “prison.” Zimbardo was amazed at the rapidity with which statuses were adopted and roles fulfilled by “liberal” college students randomly assigned to play prisoners and guards.

15 Questions for Consideration
How can you discuss Zimbardo’s experiment within the context of one of the three major theoretical perspectives? Do you think this experiment could be carried out today under the sociological code of ethics? What examples of various statuses, roles, role strain, and role conflict can you identify in this experiment?


17 Types of Society Society – composed of people living within defined territorial borders, sharing a common culture. How societies solve the problem of subsistence influences culture and social structures. Societies become more complex as the means for solving subsistence problems improve. Major types of societies are hunting and gathering, horticultural, pastoral, agricultural, industrial, and postindustrial.

18 Comparison of Major Types of Society: Hunting and Gathering

19 Comparison of Major Types of Society: Horticultural

20 Comparison of Major Types of Society: Pastoral

21 Comparison of Major Types of Society: Agricultural

22 Comparison of Major Types of Society: Industrial

23 Comparison of Major Types of Society: Postindustrial


25 Questions for Consideration
Which countries do you think could be ready to move from one type of society to another? Be specific on countries and what types of societies. What parts of the world are least likely to changed in the near future? Explain your answer.

26 Differences between Preindustrial and Industrial Societies
Three theorists compared these two types of societies: Ferdinand Tönnies, Emile Durkheim, and Robert Redfield. Tönnies (1887) distinguished between gemeinschaft, based on tradition, kinship, and intimate social relationships, and gesellschaft, based on weak family ties, competition, and less personal social relationships.

27 Differences between Preindustrial and Industrial Societies – Cont.
Durkheim (1893) also identified two types of society by looking at their social solidarity. Mechanical solidarity – foundation for social unity; achieves this through a consensus of beliefs, values, and norms; strong social pressures for conformity and dependence on tradition and family. Organic solidarity – achieves social unity through complex specialized statuses that make members interdependent. Dependence and need for cooperation replace the homogeneity of beliefs, values, and norms characteristic of simpler societies.

28 Differences between Preindustrial and Industrial Societies – Cont.
Robert Redfield (1941) made a distinction between folk society and urban society. Folk society – rests on tradition, cultural and social consensus, family, personal ties, little division of labor, and an emphasis on the sacred. Urban society – social relationships are impersonal and contractual; the importance of the family declines; cultural and social consensus is diminished; economic specialization becomes even more complex; and secular concerns outweigh sacred ones.

29 Major Features of Postindustrial Society
Economic base is grounded more in service industries than in manufacturing. Relies on expertise in production, consumption, and government. Bell (1999) identifies five major features of postindustrial society: Majority of labor force is employed in services rather than agriculture or manufacturing. White-collar employment replaces blue-collar work.

30 Major Features of Postindustrial Society
Theoretical knowledge is the key organizing feature. Through new means of technological forecasting, society can plan and control technological change. Intellectual technology dominates human affairs.

31 Questions for Consideration
In what ways have you experienced role conflict and/or role strain? Describe these situations and how you felt. In what ways will your work life be different in a postindustrial society than it would be in an industrial society?

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