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Figure 1. Status Set and Role Set

II. Read and translate the text.


A second major component of social interaction is role, which refers to patterns of behaviour corresponding to a particular status. Ralph Linton described a role as the dynamic expression of a status. A student has a role that involves patterned interaction with professors and other students, and responding to academic demands made by the college. As Linton explained, while individuals occupy astatus, they perform a role. Cultural norms suggest how a person who holds a particular status ought to act, which is often called arole expectation. However, real culture only approximates ideal culture; therefore, actual role performance usually varies from role expectation.

Like status, arole is relational by directing social behaviour toward some other person. The role that corresponds to the status of parent, for example, is ideally defined in terms of responsibilities toward a child. Correspondingly, the role of son or daughter is ideally defined in terms of obligations toward a parent. There are countless other examples of roles paired in this way: the behaviour of wives and husbands is performed in relation to each other, as is the behaviour of physicians and patients, and of professors and students.

Because individuals occupy many statuses at one time - a status set - they perform multiple roles. Yet a person has even more roles than statuses because any one status involves performing several roles in relation to various other people. Robert Merton introduced the term role set to identify a number of roles attached to a single status.

Figure 1. Status Set and Role Set

Figure 1 illustrates the status set and corresponding role sets of one individual. Four statuses are presented, each linked to a different role set. First this woman occupies the status of “wife.” Corresponding to this status is a role set that includes her behaviour towards her husband (the “conjugal role”) and her responsibilities in maintaining the household (the “domestic role”). Second, she also holds the status of “mother.” Part of this role set is the care of children (the “maternal role”) and her activities in various organizations (the “civic role”). Third, as a teacher, she interacts with students (the “teaching role”) and other professors (the “colleague role”). Fourth, as a researcher, she gathers information (the “laboratory role”) that is the basis for her publications (the “author role”). Figure 1 is, of course, only a partial listing of this individual's status set and role sets; a person generally occupies dozens of statuses at one time, each linked to a role set.

Date: 2016-01-03; view: 1516

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