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13 April 2014
Social Structure & Interaction
1. Ascribed and achieved status are two sides of the same coin. One is given and the other
created. Ascribed status, like social class or even gender, is involuntary. Its assigned to you by
others and it defines how you’re depicted socially.. Achieved status, like a high-paying job or
valued circle of friends, is voluntary and dependent on effort. Achieving a different status serves
to alter your social standing. This is especially true if your achieved social status is perceived as
better than your ascribed one. You will be seen favorably, and it opens doors to new social
Reference groups are simply the people we compare against ourselves. These groups, such as
one’s school classmates or a tv show’s characters, act as behavioral models. In society, reference
groups give us a basis for various behaviors, such as those we want to emulate and those we wish
to avoid. Having a group to reference defines social norms and guides us in appropriate social
conduct. Whether we experience it firsthand or not, having reference groups contributes to how
we interact socially. (Kelly Williams)
2. Social roles are parts people are expected to play because it stabilizes a society. An example
is how we expect cab drivers to know how to get around a city or firefighters to extinguish fires.
One violates his or her role when a person holds two or more social statues that clash by having
roles that oppose one another. An example is an assembly line worker having to balance her
status of being a friend with the status of being a boss.
Role exit is when someone leaves their old role to establish a new role; an example is a former
gang member quitting his life of crime to start a new life as a functioning member of society.
Role exit relates to the socialization process because of the adjustments people face when leaving
a role. They exhibit four stages: doubt, alternative searching, departure, and creation of a new
identity. The person first feels unhappy about his or her role, so they take a break from their role.
After, they leave their role and take a new role that now identifies them.
Primary groups are small groups characterized by intimate, face to face, friendly relationships.
Families or sports teams are examples of primary groups because they require long term
commitment and inevitably group members bond. Secondary groups are larger and much less
personal, like certain grades of a student body; they may be grouped together by grade, but
members may not relate in any other way outside of that. (Ashley Guillermo)
3. In-group is a group of people who believe that they belong together because they share
common interests or attitudes. Out-group, on the other hand, is a group of people who don’t
belong. In-group members view themselves as the majority and are prejudiced against those in
the out-group. There is a double standard between the in-group and out-group because what is
deemed acceptable in the in-group isn’t in the out-group. For example, jocks in high school
would consider themselves to be part of the in-group and consider science geeks as an out-group;
however, it works vice versa also.
An in-group is connected to a primary group because members of primary groups usually share
some activity or culture, influencing the development of one’s identity. The people in the in-
group make up a small group and have intimate, face to face interaction, forming some type of
emotional relationship among the members. They are friendly and cooperative with each other.
An out-group is connected to a secondary group because relationships are temporary.
Relationships between the out-group and in-groups are superficial with barely any intimacy. The
members of the groups are formal with each other and share a mutual understanding. Within the
secondary group, which is usually large, there are groups of people who consider others to be
part of the out-group. (Calvin Hang)
4. The five functional prerequisites are family, education, religion, economy, and government.
Families teach children the culture and provide care and protection. Education is to teach the
formal and public culture needed for a large society. Religion holds society together through the
shared beliefs and practices. The economy regulates how goods and services are produced,
distributed, and used. Government maintains social order by enforcing laws and establishing
relationships with other societies.
Difference between Mechanical and organic solidarity:
Mechanical solidarity is a type of social cohesion based on shared experiences, skill and
knowledge in which social relations function more or less the way they always have.
Organic solidarity is a type of social cohesion based on our mutual interdependence in the
context of extreme division of labor.
Mechanical solidarity is like a machine with limited change over time. They all perform the same
basic tasks and they do so together.
Organic solidarity have a strong desire to be independent but they need one another to work
together like how our human organs, each performing a vital function but none capable of