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Role Role is a term drawn from the language of theater to describe the set of expectations associated with a person

's position in a social organization. All social organizations are characterized by differentiation of function. A status is a particular location within such a structure. For every status, there is an associated role--a set of expectations about behavior. For example, a modern corporation may be characterized as a social structure that is roughly represented by an organization chart, which shows relationships of dominance, subordination, and differentiation. ice-president for public relations may be a status within the organization. !he "ob description for that position would be part of the specification of that particular role. #table role definitions enable social organizations to function effectively. $hen parts are well %nown, well practiced, and agreed on by everyone in the cast, smooth performances result. !he language of role theory lends itself well to the discussion of a variety of forms of social conflict. For example, the traditional status of women in $estern society has for hundreds of years included role expectations about performances of home maintenance, food preparation, and childrearing, but no ma"or professional or leadership functions. &onse'uently, when women achieve advancement in social structures outside the home, role conflict is created. !his conflict in turn creates pressure for the redefinition of traditional role expectations associated with sex. (n modern role theory, occupancy of any status is seen to be partly ascribed and partly attained, with the contribution of these two factors varying from role to role. Any particular individual's social identity is describable as a set of validated social roles, some relatively more ascribed, such as age and sex, and some relatively more achieved, such as professional affiliation. Role involvement is consistently high for ascribed roles and is variable for attained roles. !he way any individual is evaluated socially is a complex result of the number and character of validated social roles and the degree of involvement with those roles. !he most important role theory pioneer in the social sciences was )eorge *erbert +,A-. .. /. +oreno, Robert +,R!01, and !heodore R. #arbin have each provided ma"or application of role theory. 2arl ,. #cheibe 3ibliography4 3reiger, Ronald /., ed., #ocial +obility and #ocial #tructure 567789: &osner, Rose /., (n -efense of +odernity4 Role &omplexity and (ndividual Autonomy 567769: +erton, Robert 2., #ocial !heory and #ocial #tructure, ;d. ed. 567<=9: >erlman, *elen, >ersona4 #ocial Role and >ersonality 567<=: repr. 67=<9. Norm, social A social norm is a standard of behavior expected by a particular group, such as wearing shoes to wor%. 1orms are generally not written or legalized. 1o one norm is always obeyed: and no one person obeys all norms. *owever, norms suggest what behavior or R0/, is appropriate to a given social situation, and many sociologists consider social institutions and society itself structures based on norms. #ociologists distinguish two %inds of norms4 F0/2$A?# 5for example not tal%ing with one's mouth full9, which can be violated without severe punishment, and mores 5such as prohibitions against incest9, which are so deeply rooted that few violate them. Conformity

however. 67=B9: &artwright. . 1onconformity. . such as social mores.. the term conformity refers to adherence to societal and cultural norms. have tried to determine whether conformity represents a personality trait or an environmental variable. #ociology (n sociology. &onformity has been blamed for many of today's social problems. &onformity is usually analyzed at an individual or small-group level. !he /01. !he 0rganization +an 567@<9. 0ther researchers. 3ecause the range of behavior is so wide. Robert 2. 567@B9: .d ed. Alvin. rev. 2arl . the more that person tends to orient his or her behavior to the norms of the group 5#herif9: and that the more ambiguous the situation. #ocial !heory and #ocial #tructure. &harles and #ara. !hey found that an individual tends to conform to a unanimous group "udgment even when that "udgment is obviously in error 5Asch9: that the more eager an individual is to become a member of a group. A social system is a complex networ% of social relations that acts to draw the behavior of its members toward the core values of the group. ed. deviance may. in contrast to the more general. be conformity to the norms of a particular subculture. -orwin.. &lassical experiments by social psychologists +uzafer and &arolyn #herif and #olomon Asch treated conformity as an aspect of group dynamics. or -.. >sychology (n social psychology. however. )roup -ynamics4 Research and !heory. !hese boundaries are maintained by the interaction between behavior that deviates from the norm and agents that wor% to control behavior. !he term. !hese interactions mar% the outside limits over which the norm has control. A norm remains valid only if it is used regularly as a basis of "udgment. !here is some evidence to indicate that first-born children show a greater tendency than later-born children to conform to unanimously expressed "udgments of the group: that there is a relationship between self-confidence and resistance to group pressures to conform: and that females tend to yield to group pressure more readily than do males.. is used differently in psychology and sociology. and Cander. $hen the group's "udgment reflects personal or aesthetic preference. &onformity 567<79: +erton. most studies of conformity have been in laboratory experiments involving personal behavior in small-group settings./? &R0$. -eviance 5in limited 'uantities9 and conformity. #olomon.. the term refers to an individual's compliance with a group "udgment. #0&(A/9. 567<=9: 2iesler. -eviant behavior varies in some way from the normative rules of a social system. the individual feels little pressure to conform. societal focus of sociology. such as #tanley +ilgram.. #cheibe 3ibliography4 Asch. (A1&. perhaps counter to his or her own "udgment.r. eds. help to preserve social stability. !he functioning of society. Although the term has been widely and pe"oratively used to describe a personality trait. then. Although deviance within society can become so great that the society dissolves.&onformity is behavior in accord with the expectations of a social group. or establish boundaries. results when norms are not observed. #ocial scientists often examine conformity in the context of deviance. $hyte. however. #ocial >sychology 567@A: repr. is a mixture of conformity and deviance. expressing ac'uiescence to the norms of that group 5see 10R+. in fact. social groups try to regulate behavior. as in -avid Riesman et al.567@89 and $illiam *. the greater the group's influence on the individual 5Asch9.

!he basic 'uestion that guided most researchers.. murder. in which case it is codified into law. !he more power an audience who disapproves of a given action has. condemnation of. the more extreme or intense the negative reaction a given act touches off. handicaps. $hy do societies set up certain rulesE $hat acts generate social disapprovalE $hat leads observers to punish one rule-violator but not anotherE !hese are 'uestions that have guided many recent sociological investigators studying the phenomenon of deviance. as generally used. /astly. criminal deviance was4 $hy do they do itE +ore recent research has expanded the field of investigation to include the study of reactions to socially disapproved behavior. #uch behavior excites--or would excite if it were discovered--in these people disapproval. -eviance is a matter of degree. thus. and prostitution. Rather. setting. 3ecause norms vary from society to society. avoidance. who studied. #ociety's reaction may be expressed by official and authorized personnel. Deviance !he terms deviance and deviant behavior. how deviators see themselves. #ociologists therefore define deviance as behavior that some people in a particular society find offensive. or deviates. (n the past. 3ehavior that generates a strong negative reaction from many. the circumstance. and other acts some people consider wrong.+ills. the more deviant it is. and overlaps with &R(+.ve than at other times. refer to behavior that departs. !he #ociology of #mall )roups 567=D9: #herif. the person who engaged in it. !hus. !his list would include not only such criminal acts as rape. studies of deviance focused on the characteristics of the individuals who committed disapproved actions. and ugliness that are sometimes socially disvalued. the more deviant it is. there is more tolerance for public drun%enness on 1ew ?ear's . while other actions are considered unacceptable when they are in violation of the rules. such as homosexuality. and their further involvement in deviant . but will also influence who commits it. or hostility toward. but also on who engages in it and the circumstances surrounding the act. or context in which the act is embedded tempers an audience's evaluation of the situation. certain actions are regarded as acceptable when they are in agreement with the rules. Reactions to behavior not only determine whether it is conventional or deviant. For example. it is deviant only insofar as it violates the norms of a particular social system. for example. +uzafer. the higher the chances of being punished for engaging in it and. relatively powerful individuals may be regarded as strongly deviant. sneers. stares. exclusion. drug addiction. from an accepted standard or norm. 1orms have been devised and maintained by every society throughout history as a way to regulate the behavior of its members. gossip. behavior that is considered deviant in one society may be acceptable and common in another. and so on. $hat these actions or conditions have in common is that they all generate social disapproval. !he >sychology of #ocial 1orms 567. /i%ewise. -isapproval may also ta%e the form of ridicule. !heodore +.. For example. the more deviant it is. relatively powerless individuals is barely deviant. !he greater the number of people who do or would condemn a given action. ostracism. !he character of the negative reaction depends not only on the behavior itself and on who observes or hears about it. +ost of the public in this society is able to supply at least a partial list of behaviors or conditions they consider deviant. 3ehavior that generates mild negative reaction from a few. Accordingly.<9. the American public is less disapproving of adults who engage in premarital sex than they are of adolescents who engage in the same activity. but such conditions as mental illness. behavior is not deviant in itself.

+artin. !he %ey element in all human behavior is social interaction--how people relate to one another in a give-and-ta%e fashion. *e termed the lac% of such consistency dissonance.arl..9: )oode. 67=B9.. that tests of the theory yield ambiguous data that could be tested "ust as easily by using other psychological models. -eviant 3ehavior. and selective exposure to new information and opinions congruent with their actions.rich )oode 3ibliography4 3ec%er. An important hypothesis of the theory is that the greater the difficulty a person experiences in ma%ing a decision. and the theory's usefulness in predicting human behavior is accepted by most social psychologists. #tuart /. . Festinger assumed that people strive toward an internal consistency between their beliefs and their actions or between one belief and another. -emystifying #ocial -eviance 567=89: Rubington..rich.. -ecision. 567B. . R. first advanced by /eon Festinger. /eon. and asserted that when such dissonance occurs. $. and -issonance 567<D9: $ic%lund. &onflict. 0utsiders. *oward #. changes in belief.acts. however.. 3ehaviorist critics contend. Ad ed.. 567=D9: *ills. . +any hypotheses of cognitive dissonance theory have been tested. . 567=6: repr. and $einberg. A. >erspectives on &ognitive -issonance 567B<9. and 3rehm. 3ibliography4 Festinger. that attempts to explain certain aspects of decision ma%ing and an individual's behavior before and after the decision-ma%ing process. Cognitive dissonance F%ahg'-ni-tiv dis'-uh-nensG &ognitive dissonance is a theoretical construct in social psychology. individuals unconsciously see% to reduce it by changes in behavior. &ontemporary sociological research emphasizes the fact that deviance is a profoundly interactional phenomenon. the greater the tendency to rationalize or "ustify that decision later on. . A !heory of &ognitive -issonance 567@B9 and ed. Ad ed. -eviance4 !he (nteractionist >erspective. Dth ed.