NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 9 Status And Role

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NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 9 Status And Role, Solutions to each chapter is provided in the list so that you can easily browse through different chapters NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 9 Status And Role and select need one. NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 8 Norms And Values Question Answers Download PDF. NIOS Study Material of Class 12 Sociology Notes Paper 331.

NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 9 Status And Role

Also, you can read the NIOS book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) Book guidelines. These solutions are part of NIOS All Subject Solutions. Here we have given NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 9 Status And Role, NIOS Senior Secondary Course Political Science Solutions for All Chapters, You can practice these here.

Status And Role

Chapter: 9



Fill in the blanks with appropriate words:

1. Members in a social system are different according to ………….. they occupy in the group.

Ans. Social positions.

2. Two parts of a social position are …………. and ……………. .

Ans. Role and status.

3. You occupy a status but you play a …………….. in society. 

Ans. Role.

4. Two types of status are …………….. and ……………. .

Ans. Ascribed, Achieved.

5. Give an example of ascribed status ……………… .

Ans. Brahamin, male – female.

6. Give an example of achieved status ………………. .

Ans. Engineer; Doctor; Teachers.


Fill in the blanks with appropriate words:

1. A ……………. is the dynamic aspect of status.

Ans. Role.

2. A combination of various roles associated with a particular status is called …………….. .

Ans. Role-set.

3. Role cannot be ……………… from status.

Ans. Isolated.

4. The normative aspect of role is ……………… .

Ans. Culture.

5. Two types of roles are …………….. and ……………. .

Ans. Ascribed, Achieved.


Q.1. What is master status?

Ans. Although a person may hold a number of status, one of them, which we might call a master status, defines the person socially. 

Q.2. What are relational and participation status?

Ans. Relations and participatory statuses: Broadly status has two meanings in sociology. 

1. Relational Term: Most sociologists define status simply as a position occupied by an individual in a social system. “Wife” and “husband” for example are statuses in martial systems just as “lawyer”, “juror” and “judge” is statuses in court systems. Note that status is purely relational term, which means that each status exists only through its relation to one or more other statuses. “Husband”, for example, is a category that makes no sense at all except in relation to the category “wife”, just as there can be no “judges without corresponding positions that comprise the rest of a judicial system.

2. Participatory Status: Since statuses are positions in social systems, they exist independently of the particular individuals who occupy them. Indeed, a status can exist even though no one is occupying it at the time, such as the status of “Prime Minister” when the current minister has died and new one has yet to be elected or the status of “candidate” when there is no election forthcoming. People are associated with statuses only through their participation in social systems that include them. In this relatively simple principle lies the core sociological insight that social systems cannot be reduced to the people who participate in them. 

Q.3. Mention any four characteristics of role.

Ans. Characteristics of Role:

1. Role is a dynamic aspect of the status. 

2. Role exists in status. Role cannot be isolated status.

3. Role is not found in vacuum. It has a strong cultural aspect.

4. The normative aspect of role is culture. 

5. Role is relative.


Q.1. Define social position.

Ans. Social position: Social identity an individual has in a given group or society; Social positions may vary in nature (such as those associated with gender roles) or may be much more specific (as in the case of occupational positions).

Q.2. Define social status. Discuss the inter-relationships between social status and role.

Ans. I. Definition of Social Status: The term status, like the term culture, has come to be used with a double significance. A status, in the abstract, is a position in a particular pattern. It is thus quite correct to speak of each individual as having many statuses, since each individual participates in the expression of a number of patterns. However, unless the term is qualified in some way, the status of any individual means the sum total of all the statuses which he occupies. It represents his position with relation to the total society.

A status, as distinct from the individual who may occupy it, is simply a collection of rights and duties. Since these right and duties can find expression through the medium of individuals, it is extremely hard for us to maintain a distinction in our thinking between statuses and the people who hold them and exercise the right and duties which constitute them.

II. Social Role: The concept of status is related to the concept of “role” that is what Linton calls the more dynamic aspect of status that we shall discuss both in this context and in relation to reference groups. It is impossible fully to dissociate them. Thus, a role is the dynamic or the behavioural aspect of status. It is the dynamic aspect of status and is a combination of rights and duties.

III. The inter-relationship between social status and role:

(i) There are no roles without statuses or statuses without roles. Just as in the case of status, the term role is also used with double significance. Every individual has a series of roles deriving from the various patterns in which he participates and at the same time a role in general, which represents the sum total of these roles and determines what he does for his society and what he can expect form it.

(ii) Each status typically includes a number of roles. A person who holds the status of teacher behaves one way with students, another way with other faculty members and still another way with the principal. The collection of roles that goes with a given status is termed a roles set.

(iii) Social roles regulate and organize behaviour. In particular they provide means for accomplishing certain tasks. It can be argued, for example, that teaching can be accomplished more effectively if teacher and student perform their appropriate roles. This involves the exclusion of other areas of their lives in order to concentrate on the matter in hand.

(iv) Roles provide social life with order and predictability. Interacting in terms of their respective roles, teacher and student know what to do and how to do it. With knowledge of each other’s roles they are able to predict and comprehend the actions of the other. As an aspect of culture, roles provide an important part of the guidelines and directives necessary for an ordered society. 

Q.3. Define status and role, and distinguish between them, using examples.

Ans. Definitions status and role and distinguish between them:

1. The concept of status and role have a growing significance in the social sciences. We want to define them and to distinguish between them. 

Status: The social honour or prestige which a particular group is accorded by other members of a society. Status groups normally involve distinct styles of life-patterns of behaviour which the members of a group follow. Status privilege may be positive or negative. 

Role: A role is the dynamic or the behavioural aspect of status. It is a combination of right and duties. Every individual has to play various roles of different roles, more than one. Some roles are not prominent but one role may be a master role.

1. A distinction between status and role is simplified by Ralph Linton when he said, “you occupy a status, but you play a role’. Every position or status in society carries with it a set of expected behaviour patterns. 

2. Status and role are two sides of the same coin’, say Linton. Although all statuses and roles derived from social patterns are integral parts of patterns, they have an independent function with relation to the individual who occupy. particular statuses and exercise their roles.

3. The concepts of status and role are the initial tools for the analysis of social structure. A status is simply a position in society or in a group. Every society and every group has many such positions and every individual occupies as many positions as there are groups to which he belongs.

Thus Each person holds a number of positions in society known as statuses. A woman might be a musician, a teacher, a wife and a mother. Each of these social positions, with the rights and duties it entails, is a status. Although a person may hold a number of statuses, one of them, which we might call a master status, defines the person socially.

4. With the development of modern anthropology and sociology, the concept of status has been broadened to encompass all culturally prescribed rights and duties inherent in social positions.

5. Every status has one or more roles attached to it. Statuses are occupied, but roles are played. Role is the expected behaviour pattern attached to a status, carrying certain specific rights and obligations. A role is the manner in which a given individual fulfills the obligation and enjoys its privileges and prerogatives. A role is what an individual does in the status he occupies. It is obvious that different individuals do different things in the same statuses, and it is the concept of role that enables us to take account of these differences.

Q.4. What are the basic differences between ascribed and achieved status? Illustrate each.

Ans. Basic differences between ascribed and achieved status: Statuses are culturally defined, despite the fact that they may be based on biological factors such as sex, caste and race. There are two different kinds of status that people occupy’ ascribed status, and achieved status.

1. Ascribed status: An ascribed status is a social position that is assigned at birth and is, therefore, usually permanent. Hence, an ascribed status is one into which a person is born and in which he or she remains throughout his or her life, eg., sex, caste, race and age. A Brahmin, for example, enjoys the ascribed status of a Brahimn by virtue of his birth. In addition, sex, ethnic background, place of birth and family name supply assigned statuses. Such statuses are said to be ascribed. Ascribed statuses are usually fixed at birth.

Example: In India, caste status is generally ascribed although it has been going through several changes through ‘sanskritization’ and ‘inter-caste marriages’. In some countries social class also comes under ascribed status which is arbitrary given by society.

2. Achieved status: An achieved status is one that is chosen or achieve such as a married person, a parent, a friend, a doctor or an engineer. An achieved status is acquired through one’s own efforts. Society recognizes such changes in achieved status. Statuses which are not fixed by inheritance, biological characteristics, or other factors, over which the individual has no control, are known as achieved statuses. An achieved status is entered as a result of some degree of purposive action and choice. Thus, an achieved status, by contrast, is one that is based on something the person has done.

Example: The status of author is gained by publishing books; that of husband is gained by obtaining a marriage license and getting married. No one is born as an author or as a husband. Thus, an individual’s marital status and occupational status are achieved.

Q.5. What is role? Discuss different kinds of role.

Ans. 1. Meaning of Role: A role in the dynamic or the behavioural aspect of status. Status is occupied, but roles are played. We may say that a status is an institutionalised role. It. is a role that has become regularised; standardised and formalised in the society at large or in any of the specific associations of society.

II. Different kinds of Role:

1. Ascribed role: A role-pattern emphasizes “performance” if one pays particular attention to what the occupant can do and how well he can do it, relatively regardless of his age, sex and group memberships. Linton makes distinction between “ascribed” and “achieved” roles. A role is said to be “ascribed” if its occupants acquire it automatically as a result of certain objective characteristics or relations to other which are beyond their control. The most important bases of ascription are birth a particular family, birth order, sex and age.

A role that an individual acquires automatically at birth, or on the attainment of certain age.

2. Achieved roles: The most universally ascribed role is one’s sex role, male and female. Different age levels are also associated with different expectations. Roles bases on one’s birth as a member of particular racial, caste or religious groups are ascribed. Thus, in these types of roles, birth is the basic influence, for example traditionally speaking being born in a certain caste will imply certain role behaviours as a priest’s sone will train to be a priest.

Technically any role is said to be “achieved” if it is not “ascribed”. A role that an individual has because he has either chosen or earned it. It is the result of his efforts and his action. Thus, roles, whicha re gained by personal efforts, are known as achieved role such as a general in the army, doctor or an engineer and so on.

Q.6. “Statuses are occupied, but roles are played.” Comment.

Ans. 1. Although status and role are generally found together, it is impossible to imagine situations involving status without role and role without status. 

2. People occupy statuses they play roles. The norms, however are attached to the statuses. Since, the norms and constantly changing in a changing society, statuses too do.

 3. Statuses and roles may however, change in relative inter-dependence of each other.

4. New statuses arise in society and old ones disappear. In occupational statuses especially competent and capable incumbents may expand the range of obligations and priviledges whereas incompetent and incapable incumbents may exert our opposite influence. 

Q.7. What is role conflict? Discuss the mechanisms for handling role conflict.

Ans. I. Meaning: Role conflict is that situation in which people are confronted with contrary or incompatible role expectations in the various social they occupy in their lives.

Examples: For instance, a parent may feel conflicting obligations to employer who demand full devotion from him/her and children who require to be cared for, when they are sick. 

II. The mechanisms for handling role conflict:

1. There are a variety of responses for resolving or minimizing the effects of role conflict. The first is to choose which role in more important and then violate the expectations associated with the other role.

2. A second response is to leave one of the conflicting statuses (a person might quit a job if it interferes too much with parenting responsibilities).

3. A third response is to engage in role regregation, the practice of separating various role-partners from one another (doctor, for example, often refuses to treat members of their own family).

4. A fourth response involves maintaining a role distance a method for minimizing role strain associated with a disagreeable role. For instance, managers who must dismiss large members of employees in order to lower costs and make firms more competitive may resort to a variety of techniques to dissociate. themselves from what they have to do.

Q.8. Write short notes on following:

(a) Status set.

(b) Role set.

(c) Ascribed and Achieved Status.

(d) Ascribed and Achieved Role.

(e) Role strain and Role conflicts.

(f) Role distance.

Ans. (a) Staus set: A status is simply a position is society or in a group. Every society and every group has many such position and every individual occupies may such position. It must be apparent that each individual in a modern complex society such as ours occupies many different types of status during the course of his/her life.

Example: For instance, you as a school student may be a student to your teacher, a customer to your group, a passenger to the bus conductor or a bus driver, a brother or sister to your sibling, a patient to the doctor.

Needless to say we could keep adding to this list. The small and simpler the society, the fewer the kinds do status that an individual can have.

In a modern society our individual as we saw occupies multiple status which is sociologically termed as status set.

Individuals acquire different status at various stages of life. A son becomes a father, father becomes a grand-father and then great grandfather and so on. This is called a status, which is attained in succession or sequence at the various stages of life.

(b) Role Set:

(i) A role is the dynamic or behavioural aspect of status. Status is occupied, but roles are player. We may say that a status is an institutionalised role. It is a role that has become regularised, standardised and formalised in the society as large or in any of the specific associations of society. 

(ii) People perform their roles according to social expectations i.e. role taking and role playing.

(iii) A child learners to behave in accordance with how her behaviour will be seen and judged by others.

(iv) Role are set by individual, by society and also changed and control by individual and by respectively.

(c) Ascribed and Achieved Status: 

Ascribed Status:

(i) An ascribed status is a social position, which a person occupied because of birth or assumes involuntarily.

(ii) The most common bases for ascribed status are age, caste, race and kinship. 

(iii) Simple and traditional societies are marked by ascribed status.

Achieved Status:

(i) An achieved status on the other hand refers to a social position that a person occupies voluntarily by personal ability, achievement, virtues and choices.

(ii) The most common bases for achieved status are educational qualifications, income and professional expertise.

(iii) Modern societies are characterised by achievement. Its members are accorded prestige on the basis of their achievements.

(d) Ascribed and Achieved Role:

(i) In traditional or backward societies roles are ascribed fixed. The base of this was gender or caste. These societies had fixed roles for different persons.

(ii) Role stereotyping is a process of reinforcing some specific role for some members of society. For instance, men and women are generally socialised in stereotypical roles, as bread winner and homemaker respectively.

(iii) Social roles are generally wrongly seen as fixed and unchanging.

(iv) Achieved roles are obtained roles or assigned roles based on individuals’ qualifications, training, experiences, abilities. It is felt that individuals, learn the expectations that surrounded social positions in their particular culture and perform these roles largely as they have been defined.

(v) Through socialisation, individuals, internalise social roles and learn how to carry them out. This views, however, is mistaken. It suggests that individuals simply take on roles, rather than creating or negotiating them. In reality, socialisation is a process in which human can exercise agency, they are not simply passive subjects waiting to be instructed or programmed.

(vi) Individuals come to understand and assume social roles through on ongoing process of social interaction.

(vii) Roles are not given and fixed. People make efforts to fight against discrimination roles. For example, those based on caste or race or gender. At the same time there are sections in society who oppose such changes. Likewise individual violation of roles are often punished. Society thus functions not just with roles but also with social control on it.

(e) Role Strain and Role Conflict: 

(i) Role obtained or provided by an individual or by society respectively may create strain or tension in mind of an individual or even in the whole society and it may create conflict.

(ii) We have generally heartless phase; Everyone has to prove him or herself. In traditional societies status and roles were defined or ascribed at birth. Even in modern societies ascribed status or rule matters.

(iii) Status and prestige are interconnected terms. status and role is accorded certain rights and values. Values are attached to the social position, rather than to the person who occupies it or to his/her performance of to his/ her actions. The kinds of value attached to the status or to the office is called prestige. People cannot status in terms of their high or low prestige (based on role also). The prestige of a doctor may be high in comparasion to a shopkeeper, even if the doctor may earn less. 

(iv) It is vital to keep in mind that ideas of what occupation is considered prestigious varies across societies and across periods.

(v) Most of the people (men/women or even children) perform their different roles according to social expectations i.e. role taking and role playing.

Example: A child learns to behave in accordance with how his or her behaviour will be and judged by others.

Role Conflict: For a functionalist perspective social control refers to, (a) the use of force to regulate the behaviour of the individual and groups and also refers to the en-forcing of values and patterns for maintaining order in society. Social control here is directed to restrain deviant behaviour of individuals or groups on the one hand, and on the other, to mitigate tensions and conflicts among individuals and groups to maintain social order and social cohesion. In this way social control is seen as necessary to stability in society.

Conflict theorists usually would see social control more as a mechanism to impore the social control of dominant social classes on the rest of society. Stability would be seen as the writ of one section over the other. Likewise law would be seen as the formal write of the powerful and their interests on society.

A sociological perspective that focuses on the tensions divisions and competing interests present in human societies. Conflict theories believe that the scarcity and value of resources in society produces conflict as groups struggle to gain access to and control those resources. Many conflict theories have been strongly influenced by the writings of Karl Marx.

(f) Role distance: 

1. The role played by an individual or by a group may be away from the accepted norms by the society or community or by caste. In every society we find social control. It may be called informal social control or formal social control. Informal social control is personal, unofficial and uncodified. They include smiles, making faces, body language forms, criticism, ridicule, laughs etc. There can be great variations in their use within the same society. In day-to-day life they are quite effective.

2. There are also various agencies of informal social control e.g. family, religion, kinship, etc. We have head or seed about honour killing society provides sanction or improved restrictions. A sanction is mode of reward or punishment that reinforces or punishment that reinforces socially expected forms of behaviour. Social control may be positive or negative according to the performance of role or role-distance.

3. Members of societies can be rewarded for good and expected behaviour. On the other hand, negative sanctions are also used to enforce rules and to restrain deviance.

4. Deviance refers to modes of action, which do not conform to the norms or values held by most of the members of a group or society. What is regarded as ‘deviant’ is as widerly variable as the norms that values that distinguish different cultures and subcultures.

5. Likewise ideas of deviance are challenged and change from one period to another. For instance, a woman choosing to become an astronaut may be considered deviant at one time, and be applauded at another time even in the same society.

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