Lesson 5 - SOCIOLOGY 101 On Line




CHAPTER 5 – Social Structure and Society


Study Assignment:  Read chapter 5 – Sociology 101 by Jon Shepard


After careful study of this chapter, you will be able to:



Action Assignment – Answer the following questions.  Each response must be at least 100 words.


No. 1:        Suppose that a college friend of yours wants to know the meaning of the                                    term social structure.  Use the stage analogy to develop an understandable                                answer.  Use examples.


No. 2.        Have you experienced role conflict or role strain lately?  If so, describe the situation.  If not, explain why you have been immune to role conflict and role strain by making clear the meaning of the concepts.


No. 3.        Discuss some of the basic distinguishing features of preindustrial and                              industrial societies.  Illustrate your answer.


Highlights of Chapter 5:


1.                  Are humans genetically selfish?  Many would say that, by their very nature, people are basically selfish.


2.                  Social structure – The underlying pattern of social relationships is called social structure.


3.                  Status – a position a person occupies within a social structure.  Status helps us define who and what we are in relations to others within the same social structure.


4.                  Ascribed status – is neither earned nor chosen; it is assigned to us.  At birth an infant is either a male or female.  Age is also another example of an ascribed social status.


5.                  Achieved status – is earned or chosen because people have some degree of control and choice.  Example – spouse or parent.


6.                  Status set – is all of the statuses that n individual occupies at any particular time.


7.                  Master statuses – are important because they influences most other aspects of a person’s life.


8.                  Roles – are the culturally defined rights and obligations attached to a status; they indicate the behavior expected of an individual holding that particular status.  Any status carries with it a variety of roles.


9.                  Rights – inform individuals of behavior they can expect from others.


10.              Obligations – inform individuals of the behavior others expect form them.


11.              Role performance - is the actual conduct, or behavior, involved in activating a role.


12.              Social interaction – is the process of two or more persons influencing each other’s behavior.


13.              Role conflict – occurs when the performance of a role in one status clashes with the performance of a role in another status.


14.              Role strain – occurs when some of the roles of a single status clash.


15.              Society – is composed of a people living within defined territorial borders who share a common culture.


16.              Hunting and gathering society – survives by hunting animals and gathering edible foods such as wild fruits and vegetables.


17.              Horticultural societies – solved the subsistence problem primarily through the domestication of plants.


18.              Pastoral societies – food is obtained primarily by raising and taking care of domesticated animals.


19.              Agricultural society – was made possible largely through the invention of the plow.


20.              Industrial society – a society whose subsistence is based primarily on the application of science and technology to the production of goods and services.


21.              Structural differentiation – occurs when a single social structure divides into two or more social structures.


22.              Gemeinschaft – (German for community) and gesellschaft – (German for “society”.


23.              Mechanical solidarity – is the foundation for social unity.


24.              Organic solidarity – social unity based on a complex of highly standardized roles that makes members of a society dependent on one another.


25.              Folk society – rest on tradition, cultural and social consensus, family, personal ties, little division of labor, and an emphasis on the sacred.


26.              Urban society – social relationships are impersonal and contractual; the importance of the family declines; cultural and social consensus is diminished; economic specialization becomes even more complex and secular concerns outweigh sacred ones.


27.              Postindustrial society – this is what the US has.  The postindustrial economic base is grounded more in service industries that in manufacturing industries and relies on expertise in production, consumption and government.