2. Learning Objectives
• After studying this chapter, you should be able to do the following:
• Know what the major types of social interaction are.
• Be familiar with the different types of social interaction.
• Understand the concepts of status and role.
• Know the difference between role strain and role conflict.
• What Holds Society Together?
• Humans are symbolic creatures, and everything they do conveys a
message to others.
• Whether we intend it or not, other people take account of our behavior.
• Social Interaction refers to anything people are conscious of doing
because of other people.
4. Social Interaction
• Social interaction refers to the ways in which people respond to one
another. whether face-to-face or over the telephone or on the computer
• It is the process by which people act and react in relation to others
• “Thanks/ You’re welcome” and “Excuse me/No problem
• Social interaction is how people relate to each other and form a social
• Interaction is shaped by social forces from the very beginning
5. 1. Defining the situation is an overall idea of what is expected
• The first step in everyday encounters is defining the situation
• Definition of the situation is a collective process
2. The presentation of self
• The way in which people attempt to direct and control the impression they
make on others and on how others see them
3. Social identity is the our sense of who and what we are
• Major source of plans for action
• Give meaning to our daily lives
• Derives from positions we occupy in the society
• Other people are part of the very content of our social identity
Stages of Social Interaction
Backstage and frontstage
• According to Goffman, there are two main areas of interaction
• The frontstage (public)
• The backstage (private)
• Every marriage has frontsage and backstage
7. Social Structure
• Social Structure: The framework of society that surrounds us
• The social envelope that surrounds us
• Consists of the ways that people and groups are related to one another
into predictable relationships.
• This framework gives direction to and sets limits on our behavior
• Helps us coordinate our behavior with those of others
9. Elements of Social Structure
• All social interaction takes place within a social structure
• There are four elements of social structure
• status, Role, groups and Institution
• These elements make up social structure just as a foundation
• In every society, people build their everyday lives using the idea of
• Statuses are socially defined positions that people occupy.
• a social position that a person holds.
• Status is part of our social identity and helps define our relationship to
• Before we can deal with anyone, we need to know who the person is.
• Sociologists classify statuses in terms of how people attain them.
• It can be achieved or ascribed
11. Ascribed Status
• An ascribed status is a social position a person receives at birth or takes
on involuntarily later in life
• Example: being a daughter, Boy or Girl, Somalilander, a teenager, or a
• People occupy ascribed statuses regardless of their intentions.
• Ascribed statuses are matters about which we have no choice.
12. Achieved Status
• An achieved status refers to a social position a person takes on personal
ability and effort.
• Acquired as a result of the individual’s actions—student, professor,
garage mechanic, artist, prisoner, bus driver, husband, wife, mother, or
• Achieved statuses in the Somalis include honors student, football player,
nurse, sheikh, and thief.
• Social status sets limits on what we can or cannot do
13. Master Status
• Some statuses matter more than others.
• A master status is a status that has special importance for social identity,
often shaping a person’s entire life.
• A master status can be negative as well as positive
14. Status Set
• Each of us holds many statuses at
• The term status set refers to all the
statuses a person holds at a given
• Status sets change over the life
• Over a lifetime, people gain and lose
dozens of statuses.
15. Critical Thinking
• Make a list of terms that describe who you are.
1. Which of these are ascribed statuses and which are achieved
2. What do you think your master status is in the eyes of others?
3. Does one’s master status depend on who is defining you?
4. What does this tell you about the significance of social judgments
in determining who you are?
16. What Do You Think?
1. Have you ever had a disease or disability that became a master
status? If so, how did others react?
2. How might such a master status affect someone’s personality?
3. Can being very fat or very thin serve as a master status? Why or why
• A second important social structure is role
• is the culturally defined rules for proper behavior that are associated with
• behavior expected of someone who holds a particular status
• A person holds a status and performs a role
• Roles may be thought of as collections of rights and obligations.
• Both statuses and roles vary by culture.
• Sociologists study to what degree we are prisoners of the roles we
18. • Status and role are opposite side of the same coin.
• One cannot exist without the other
19. Role Set
• Because we hold many statuses at
once—a status set—everyday life is a
mix of many roles.
• Role set identify a number of roles
attached to a single status.
20. Role Conflict and Role Strain
• Sociologists recognize role
conflict as conflict among the
roles connected to two or more
• When a single role has conflicting
demands attached to it,
individuals who play that role
experience role strain.
• Example: being journalist and
• Role strain refers to tension among the roles connected to a single
• Example: Mr. Abdale may enjoy being friendly with students.
• At the same time, however, the Lecturer must maintain the personal
distance needed to evaluate students fairly.
22. use your sociological imagination
• If you were a male nurse, what aspects of role conflict might you
experience? Now imagine you are a decorated police general and a
woman. What conflicting role expectations might that involve? In both
cases, how well do you think you would handle role conflict?
• In sociological terms, a group is any number of people with similar
norms, values, and expectations who interact with one another on a
• Characteristics of the Social Groups:
1. Members of a group have shared identity.
2. Members of a social group interact regularly.
3. Social groups have a social structures.
4. Social groups depend on consensus.
24. In-Groups and Out-Groups
• An in-group can be defined as any group or category to which people
feel they belong.
• An out-group is a group or category to which people feel they. do not
• In-group members typically feel distinct and superior, seeing
themselves as better than people in the out-group
• In-Groups and Out-Groups it is the results of Ethnocentrism
25. use your sociological imagination
• Try putting yourself in the shoes of an out-group member.
• What does your in-group look like from that perspective?
26. Social construction of reality
• Through social interaction, we construct the reality we experience.
• . For example two people interacting both try to shape the reality of their
• The Thomas theorem says that the reality people construct in their
interaction has real consequence for the future.
• For example a, teacher who believes a certain student o be
intellectually gifted may well encourage exceptional academic
• Social construction of reality the process by which people relatively
shape reality through social interaction
• Both culture and social class shape the reality people construct.
27. What Holds Society Together?
• People are united by:
• Mechanical solidarity: Having similar views and feelings.
• Think of a farming community in which everyone is involved in growing
crops—planting, cultivating, and harvesting.
• Because they have so much in common, they share similar views about
• Societies with mechanical solidarity tolerate little diversity in behavior,
thinking, or attitudes;
• Their unity depends on sharing similar views.
28. What holds society together?
• Organic solidarity
• People depend on one another to do their more specialized jobs
• Think about your body.
• The organs of your body need one another. Your lungs depend on your
heart to pump your blood, and your heart depends on your lungs to
oxygenate your blood.
• You and your teacher are like two organs in the same body.
• Like the heart and lungs, although you perform different tasks, you need
• Exchange and reciprocity
• Is the glue that binds individuals to one another
• It demands that we respond in kind to certain behavior
29. Quick Quiz
• The term ___________________ refers to the way in which a society is
organized into predictable relationships.
a) Social Structure
b) Social Interaction
c) Group Relationship
d) Status and Role