These are the Slides for MA (Final year) Students of the Department of Social Work, University of Peshawar.
Course Title: Social Institutions and Social System of Pakistani Society
Dr. Imran Ahmad Sajid
whereas the closely linked notion of role (q.v.) refers to the behaviour expected of people in a status.
Lec iii Role and Status - Imran Ahmad Sajid
ROLE AND STATUS
• In every society, people build their everyday
lives using the idea of status.
• Status is a social position that a person holds.
[John J. Macionis, 2012].
• Status is part of our social identity and helps
to define our relationship to others.
– George Simmel, once pointed out, before we
can deal with anyone, we need to know who the
• R. Linton (1936) defined status … as a position
in a social system, such as 'child' or 'parent'.
• Status refers to what a person is.
• [Panguin Dictionary of Sociology]
• It …refers …to some position in a social system
which has a particular role attached:
grandparent and grandchild, for example
[Sage Dictionary of Sociology]
• [Status] describes the position that an
individual holds in a group or that a group
holds in a society (defined as a group of
• [Critical Dictionary of Sociology]
• Each of us holds many statuses at once.
• STATUS SET refers to all the statuses a person
holds at a given time.
– A teenage boy is a son to his parents, a brother to his
sisters, a student at his school, and a batsman on his
• Status sets change over the life course.
– Joining an organization or finding a job enlarges our
status set; withdrawing from activities makes it
– Over a lifetime, people gain and lose dozens of
TYPES OF STATUS
Ascribed and Achieved Status
• Ascribed status is a social position a person
receives at birth or takes on involuntarily later
in life (Macionis, 2012).
• a status that is given to you by the societ
– Examples of ascribed statuses include being a
daughter, a Pakhtoon, a teenager, or a widower.
• Ascribed statuses are matters about which we
have little or no choice.
• Achieved status refers to a social position a
person takes on voluntarily that reflects
personal ability and effort.
• A status that is achieved by a person through
his own efforts.
– Achieved statuses in the Pakistan include honour
of student (1st position holder), Police officer,
Wicket Keeper of Pakistan Cricket Team, nurse,
software engineer, and thief.
• 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.
– For most people, a job is a master status because it
reveals a great deal about social background,
education, and income.
– In a few cases, name is a master status; being in the
Zardari, Shareef, or Wali Khan family attracts attention
and creates opportunities.
• A second important social structure is role,
• ROLE is behavior expected of someone who
holds a particular status.
• A person holds a status and performs a role
– For example, holding the status of student leads
you to perform the role of attending classes and
• Roles are the bundles of socially defined
attributes and expectations - associated with
[Panguin Dictionary of Sociology]
• A Role is the function of a status (Young and
• [Role is ] a prescribe or expected behaviour
associated with a particular position or status
in a society.
[The Business Dictionary]
• Role refers to the manner in which a person
actually carries out the requirements of his
position (Kingsley Davis, n.d.)
Nature of Role
• Role-playing is obligatory for all members of society.
The number of roles that one plays depends on the
statuses that he assumes.
• Some roles are shared by a great many people. e.g.,
voters, citizens, adults, authors, ministers, teachers.
• Some roles are enacted only by one or very few
individuals at a particular time. e.g., Governor Khyber
• Some roles are voluntarily taken while others are
involuntarily enacted. e.g., living in city or village? Or
Pakhtoon will have to play the role of Pakhtoon and
Female the role of female.
• Because we hold many statuses at once (/a
status set), therefore everyday life is a mix of
• Robert Merton (1968) introduced the term
role set to identify a number of roles attached
to a single status.
Role Conflict and Role Strain
• ROLE CONFLICT is conflict among the roles
connected to two or more statuses.
E.g., Female Lecturer resigned for children
• Even roles linked to a single status may make
competing demands on us.
• ROLE STRAIN refers to tension among the roles
connected to a single status.
– A college professor may enjoy being friendly with students,
– At the same time, however, the professor must maintain
the personal distance needed in order to evaluate students
• In short, performing the various roles attached to even
one status can be something of a balancing act.
Interrelationship between Role and
1. Status is a position in society. Role is the
behavioural expected of a status.
• Status is occupied, role is played.
– Think What would happen if a mother works
on a job in a boutique while the father babysits at
home—feeding and clothing the children?
Status: Mother….. Role ??
Status: Father….. Role??
Define the Roles of
Role of Father
• Caring of Children
• Washing Dishes
• Washing Clothes
• Bacho’n ko Nehlana
• Bacho ko Khilana
Role of Mother
• Earning Income
• Doing Out side Job
2. Role is a relative term.
– An individual plays a role in relation to another
person. e.g., an advocate plays his role as
advocate in relation to the client’s role.
– Both role and status come into play in interaction
3. Status is Sociological phenomenon. Role is
– Why different individuals play different roles in
the same status?
– e.g., Prime Minister Gillani vs Prime Minister Aziz
– e.g., students Faisal vs Sanaullah?
4. Both status and role are dynamic and
5. It is possible to have a status without a role
and vice versa.
– For example? ? ?