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Social structure


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  • 1. Social Structure 1
  • 2. Social structure is like a web made of grooves. We stick to the grooves and experience the interplay between them in a web-like manner.Thus we achieve collective goals. 2
  • 3. Statuses:• Ascribed• Achieved• Master 3
  • 4. Status refers to a person’s social ranking ina society as determined by wealth,influence, and prestige. Hughes and Kroehler, 2005 4
  • 5. Master StatusThis is the status that “carries primary weight in a person’s interactions and relationships with others.” (Hughes and Kroehler)Master Status can be positive or negative as in the status of Doctor or felon. 5
  • 6. Woes of the Master StatusThe Master Status may be ascribed instead of achieved. I should recount the Master Status of a sociology professor in Canada named Brian Maclean.It turns out that his master status is that of convict. Or is it?A negative master status has the added weight of stigma as in the case of the Canadian 6 professor.
  • 7. RolesWe all have roles.Roles are culturally defined rights and duties.I am performing a role right now. So are you. (At least I hope you are.) 7
  • 8. Role Performance:The actual behavior of the person who occupies a status. 8
  • 9. Role-SetRobert K. Merton states it thusly:“…each role status involves not a single associated role, but an array of roles. This basic feature of social structure can be registered by the distinctive but not formidable term, role-set.” In: British Journal of Sociology, 8: 106-20. 1957 9
  • 10. Role Set: ParentColleague ProfessorTeacher Committee Member 10
  • 11. Your Role SetLet’s make one 11
  • 12. Role ConflictResults when individuals are confronted with conflicting expectations stemming from their simultaneous occupancy of two or more statuses.Example: the coach with the son on the team 12
  • 13. 13
  • 14. Role StrainOccurs when individuals find the expectations of a single role incompatible.Example: Doctors as caring and as aggressive bill collectors. 14
  • 15. 15
  • 16. GroupsAggregatesCategoriesInstitutions Society 16
  • 17. Groups and Their Processes 17
  • 18. Groups are two or more people who share afeeling of unity and who are bound togetherin a relatively stable pattern of socialinteraction. Hughes and Kroehler, 2005 18
  • 19. Groups are based upon relationships. There are two fundamental types of relationships: Expressive ties Instrumental ties 19
  • 20. Types of Groups:• Primary Group• Secondary Group• In-group• Out-group• Reference Group 20
  • 21. Primary groups (expressive) are important because they are instrumental to the socialization process (children).They also serve as processes of social control. Think of an intimate group you have belonged to. 21
  • 22. In-GroupsIn-groups are value oriented: They are those in which we belong and identify with. They can be morally at odds with society or merely be of a different nature (subculture). 22
  • 23. Out-groupsOut-groups are essentially relative to the perceptions of its members. An example would be gangs versus the police. Which is in and which is out? 23
  • 24. In-group, out-groupIn-groups may have feelings of indifference, disgust or even hostility towards outgroups.(Consider the study by Muzafer Sherif of the boy’s camp.) 24
  • 25. Reference Groups“Social units we use for appraising andshaping attitudes, feelings, and actions.”(Singer in Hughes and Kroehler)Reference groups can be any number ofthings including family, friends, and themedia. 25
  • 26. Reference groups are essential even if rarely thought about. They are a source of psychological identification.What are your reference groups? 26
  • 27. “When our membership group does notmatch our reference group, we mayexperience feelings of relative deprivation—discontent associated with the gapbetween what we have… and what webelieve we should have.” Hughes and Kroehler, 2005 27
  • 28. Groupthink:Could it be that the “groupthink” phenomenon that affected the Bay of Pigs invasion has had some effect on the invasion of Iraq? 28
  • 29. Consider the architects of the Iraq Invasion 29
  • 30. Conformity Like groupthink, conformity can occur from peer pressure. Consider the studies done by Solomon Asch with the three lines. This shows how much pressure the group can have on the individual.See Link: 30
  • 31. Conformity 31
  • 32. Conformity 32
  • 33. AggregatesA collection of anonymous individuals whoare in the same place at the same time.They have no connection other than spaceand time. 33
  • 34. Situational BehaviorHow certain are we of our ability to maintain our own moral structure when challenged by authority? 34
  • 35. Situational Behavior 35
  • 36. Category“A collection of people who share acharacteristic that is deemed to be of socialsignificance.” (Hughes and Kroehler 2007) 36
  • 37. InstitutionsInstitutions make up the principal structurethat organizes, directs and executes theessential tasks of living.We are in an institution right now. 37
  • 38. SocietySociety is the most complex andcomprehensive type of social structure intoday’s world.Most of today’s societies are in the form of“nation states.” These are ‘political entitiescentering on a government.’ Hughes and Kroehler, 2005 38
  • 39. LeadershipAuthoritarian styleDemocratic styleLaissez-faire style 39
  • 40. Authoritarian 40
  • 41. Democratic 41
  • 42. Laissez-faire 42
  • 43. Formal Organizations 43
  • 44. • A group with specific goals• Large “secondary” groups• Varied in size, goal orientation, and efficiency but are structured to facilitate the management of large scale operations• Ubiquitous 44
  • 45. Types of Formal Organizations:• Voluntary• Coercive• Total institutions (resocialization; mortification)• Utilitarian organizations (labor; government; schools) 45
  • 46. Voluntary 46
  • 47. Coercive 47
  • 48. Total Institution 48
  • 49. Total Institution Involves• Resocialization• Mortification (Think Erving Goffman) 49
  • 50. Utilitarian 50
  • 51. Informal Organizations• Consist of interpersonal networks and ties that [may] arise in a formal organization but are not defined or prescribed by it. (Hughes and Kroehler)• Think of how we work and organize ourselves while management is organized for one purpose, we may have a different set of purposes. What De Certeau calls perruque. 51
  • 52. Bureaucracy 52
  • 53. Max Weber 1864-1920 53
  • 54. “Ideal” Type• A perfect definition and example of something that is not perfect in reality.• It is the “ideal” of what something is – it is something that is perfect in structure yet does not (cannot) exist in reality. 54
  • 55. Weber’s “Ideal Type” of Bureaucracy• Division of labor• Hierarchy• Written rules and regulations• Impersonal (offices not for personal ends)• Offices are based upon actual competence• Promotion based upon seniority or merit 55
  • 56. What does old Max mean by an“Ideal Type” in this instance? 56
  • 57. In this case bureaucracy is an idealized model. It is not meantto necessarily exist in reality, but is an aggregate of the ideal functions of what a bureaucracy should be. 57
  • 58. What’s wrong with bureaucracies? 58
  • 59. Dysfunctions of bureaucracy:• Routinization• Trained Incapacity• Depersonalization• Vested Interests (Oligarchy)• Excessive Growth (Parkinson’s Law) 59
  • 60. Robert MichelsThe iron law of oligarchy 60
  • 61. He stated that all power tends to concentrateinto the hands of a few.He listed three reasons for oligarchicaltendencies found in formal organizations: 61
  • 62. 1 Hierarchical leadership structures – most voting by members becomes a ritualistic conformation.2 Officials have special advantages: access to information unavailable to others, control of administrative resources …3 Ordinary members tend to be uninterested in assuming leadership responsibilities and may be apathetic to the problems of the organization. (Hughes and Kroehler, 2007) 62
  • 63. Organizations (bureaucracies)can be viewed from either the functionalist, conflict or interactionist perspectives. 63
  • 64. Functionalism:• Bureaucracies and organizations are benign.• They are essential for the functioning of society.• They are the most practical method of distributing resources and providing employment. 64
  • 65. 65
  • 66. Conflict Perspective• Such organizations are instruments of capitalism• As such they promote a hierarchical class system in which some are favored while others (most) are taken advantage of.• They are based upon a top-down structure of rigid domination that prevents democracy in the workplace. 66
  • 67. 67
  • 68. Interactionist Perspective• While some the elements of Conflict may be true, people have agency. They can negotiate their destinies.• This provides for a “negotiated order” of “fluid, ongoing understandings and agreements people reach as the go about their daily activities” (Hughes and Kroehler 2007) 68
  • 69. 69