Social Structure and Interaction in Everyday Life

Published: 2021-09-25 22:00:02
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Category: Everyday Life

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Components of Social Structure

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Status is a socially defined position in a group or society characterized by certain expectations, rights, and duties.
Status set compromises all the statuses that a person occupies at a given time.
Ascribed status is a social position conferred at birth or received involuntarily later in life, based on attributes over which the individual has little or no control, such as race, ethnicity, age, and gender.
Achieved status is a social position a person assumes voluntarily as a result of personal choice, merit, or direct effort.
Master status is the most important status a person occupies.
Status symbols material signs that inform others of a person’s specific status.


Role is a set of behavioral expectations associated with a given status
Role expectation is a group’s or society’s definition of the way a specific role ought to be played.
Role performance is how a person actually plays the role.
Role conflict occurs when incompatible role demands are placed on a person by two or more statuses held at the same time.
Role stain occurs when incompatible demands are built into a single status that a person occupies.
Role exit occurs when people disengage from social roles that have been central to their self-identity.


Social Group consists of two or more people who interact frequently and share a common identity and a feeling of interdependence.
Primary group is a small, less specialized group in which members engage in face-to-face, emotion-based interactions over an extended period of time.
Secondary group is a larger, more specialized group in which members engage in more impersonal, goal-oriented relationships for a limited period of time.
Formal organization is a highly structured group formed for the purpose of completing certain tasks or achieving specific goals.

Social Institutions
Social institution is a set of organized beliefs and rules that establishes how a society will attempt to meet its basic social needs.
Societies: Changes in Social Structure
Durkheim: Mechanical and Organic Solidarity .

Division of labor refers to how the various tasks of a society are divided up and performed.
Mechanical solidarity refers to the social cohesion of preindustrial societies, in which there is minimal division of a labor and people feel united by shared values and common social bonds.
Organic solidarity refers to the social cohesion found in industrial (and perhaps postindustrial) societies, in which people perform very specialized tasks and feel united by their mutual dependence.

Tonnies: Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft

Gemeinschaft is a traditional society in which social relationships are based on personal bonds of friendship and kinship and on intergenerational stability.
Gesellschaft is a large, urban society in which social bonds are based on impersonal and specialized relationships, with little long-term commitment to the group or consensus on values.

Industrial and Postindustrial Societies

Industrial societies are based on technology that mechanizes production.
Postindustrial society is one in which technology supports a service-and information-based economy.

Social Interaction: The Microlevel Perspective
The Social Construction of Reality

Social Construction of Reality - the process by which our perception of reality is largely shaped by the subjective meaning that we give to an experience.
Self-fulfilling prophecy- a false belief or prediction that produces behavior that makes the originally false belief come true.

Ethnomethodology is the study of the commonsense knowledge that people use to understand the situations in which they find themselves.
Dramaturgical Analysis

Dramaturgical analysis is the study of social interaction that compares everyday life to a theatrical presentation.
Impression management (presentation of self) refers to people’s efforts to present themselves to others in ways that are most favorable to their own interests or image.
Face-saving behavior refers to the strategies we use to rescue our performance when we experience a potential or actual loss of face.

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal Communication is the transfer of information between persons without the use of words.
Personal space is the immediate area surrounding a person that person claims is private.

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