VCU SLWK 311 - chapter 4 section 1 notes (19 pages)

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chapter 4 section 1 notes



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chapter 4 section 1 notes

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Pages:
19
School:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Course:
Slwk 311 - Sw & Oppressed Groups
Sw & Oppressed Groups Documents
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I Social Status Overview The ways we choose to present ourselves to other people also give clues as to our social status which is the position we occupy in a particular setting Some statuses carry more prestige and power than others A STATUS SYMBOLS 1 Sometimes we wear status symbols or signs or symbols of a respective status a Professors wear academic regalia to identify their status within the collegiate setting b Successful businesspeople may drive luxurious cars or wear expensive clothing or jewelry to indicate a high financial status within the community i A wedding ring is also an example of a status symbol in our culture as it communicates the message that the wearer is married 2 Not all status symbols are positive In some states an individual who has been convicted of driving a car while intoxicated must put a bumper sticker saying DUI Driving under the Influence or Convicted DUI on their car a The bumper sticker indicates a status that is generally looked down on in our society B STATUS INCONSISTENCY 1 We tend to have more than one status at any given point in our lives and most of the time there is consistency among our various statuses 2 Status inconsistency results when a person occupies one or more statuses that do not ordinarily coincide in the same person a A seventy five year old grandmother who is a college freshman and a cab driver who is a classically trained Shakespearean actor both exhibit status inconsistency C MASTER STATUS 1 A master status overrides all other statuses and becomes the one by which we are first known to others 2 For many people their occupation is their master status since it conveys so much about their income education skills and interests 3 People who differ from the rest of society in some way may have a different master status 4 For many people who are homosexual their sexual orientation becomes their master status and others think of it when they hear those people s names 5 Their statuses as professionals athletes family members and community leaders are secondary to their status as homosexuals D STIGMAS 1 Some of the traits we possess are actually stigmas a A stigma is a trait or characteristic we possess that causes us to lose prestige in the eyes of others peers b A disfigured face might be a stigma as someone whose face is severely disfigured is likely to have lost prestige among his or her and coworkers c Many would also consider homosexuality to be a stigmatizing characteristic i Because of widespread homophobia many people would think less of a person they knew to be homosexual E DEGRADATION CEREMONIES 1 If an individual s identity is spoiled beyond redemption some times the groups to which he or she belongs must decide how to handle his or her new identity a One way to deal with individuals whose identities have been spoiled is through a degradation ceremony b A degradation ceremony is a ritual designed to expel a person from a group and to strip this person of his or her identity as a group member 2 There are several elements of a successful degradation ceremony a The individual s stigma or transgression must be made known to the entire group b An authority figure must make the individual s stigma known to the group Group members cannot denounce one another c The group must believe that the authority figure is acting out of concern for the whole group If the group believes that the leader is denouncing an individual because of a personal feud or vendetta the degradation ceremony will not be successful d The transgressor must be criticized in public before the entire group This serves to further humiliate the guilty party and reinforce the boundaries of behavior to the rest of the group By publicly denouncing a group member the leader is also telling everyone what kinds of behavior will and will not be tolerated e The offending individual must be evicted from the group If the group leader allows the transgressor to remain in the group he or she is communicating to the other members that bearing a stigma or breaking the rules will be tolerated II Status and Roles Overview Most people associate status with the prestige of a person s life style education or vocation According to sociologists status describes the position a person occupies in a particular setting We all occupy several statuses and play the roles that may be associated with them A role is the set of norms values behaviors and personality characteristics attached to a status An individual may occupy the statuses of student employee and club president and play one or more roles with each one A ROLE CONFLICT 1 Role conflict results from the competing demands of two or more roles that vie for our time and energy a The more statuses we have and the more roles we take on the more likely we are to experience role conflict 2 A member of a non industrialized society generally has just a few statuses such as spouse parent and villager a A typical middle class American woman meanwhile probably has many statuses and therefore many roles She may be a mother wife and neighbor member of the PTA employee boss town council president and part time student b Because people in modernized societies have so many roles they are more likely than people in non industrialized societies to experience role conflict III Social Institutions Economy Government Family Religion Education Medicine Overview To sociologists an institution isn t a building an institution is what goes on inside the building An institution is a set of norms surrounding the carrying out of a function necessary for the survival of a society People in every society must fulfill certain functions in order to survive They must set up processes for rearing and educating children They must develop a system for maintaining order and managing relations with other societies They must agree on methods for producing and exchanging goods and services Societies differ in how they carry out these functions but they all must somehow accomplish the same tasks in order to survive as a social unit Institutions may seem abstract but they are part of a world that is very real A Economy Overview The economy is the institution that provides for the production and distribution of goods and services which people in every society need Sometimes they can provide these things for them selves and sometimes they rely on others to provide them When people rely on others for goods or services they must have some thing to exchange such as currency in


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