Ascribed and Achieved Status

2 February 2017

Status is the social position a person occupies within a social group with a role that our society expects us to play in a given status. For example, a man may have the status of father in his family. Because of his given status, he is expected to fulfill a role for his children, and in most societies that would require for him to nurture, protect, guide, and educate them. It is quite the same as having the role as mother. Statutes can vary significantly from culture to culture. However, in all societies they are either ascribed or achieved status.

Ascribed status is the social position society assigns to an individual on the basis of factors and which the individual has no control of. For example, we have no control over our sex, gender, race, economic status, and ethnic background into which we are born. We do not have an option to choose them, they are not voluntary statuses. Throughout our life we are assigned statuses that we cannot control, such as “child”, “teenager”, “adult”, or “senior citizen” on the basis of our age. We do not pick our gender or the family that we are born into. On the other hand, an achieved status is one that is acquired by doing something.For instance, someone becomes a criminal by committing a crime.

Ascribed and Achieved Status Essay Example

Or a woman becomes a mother by having a baby. As well as the status of a widow, by the death of her husband and so on. In achieved status you have some control in either becoming a college graduate, parent, spouse, prison inmate, bank president, etc. ; it just depends on your own efforts, choices, and behavior. Although, an individual’s ascribed status may affect the likelihood of achieving other statuses, one can still succeed depending on how much enthusiasm is brought upon.For example, if you are born into a poor socioeconomic status, it may be more difficult to achieve the status of “college graduate” because of the high cost of a college education. Every individual has numerous statuses all at once.

You may be a student, parent, tutor, female, and Hispanic. The most significant status in a person’s social identity is their master status. Usually, a person’s master status is their occupational status. For example, if you are a full-time student, your master status is likely to be “student”.An individual’s master status typically takes the place of other identifying traits the individual may have. Let us say if a woman feels that her role as a mother is more important than her role as a woman, a wife, or a daughter, it is more likely for her to label herself first as a mother and to be able to identify with other women who label themselves as such. Unlike the status set, the master status affects how the individual behaves in almost every given situation.

Master statuses may have several negative effects on an individual.For example, if a person is physically disabled, this can become the master status of that individual. That person will likely become “the blind woman”, “the paralyzed guy” etc. If the person suddenly becomes disabled, their former identity is taken away and their new master status is given. It is likely for that person to be treated and seen differently by the people they know. This also becomes an issue when a person is labeled as “gay”, “black”, “criminal” and so on. Another example is if there is a black man who is a son, father, or a school principal, the status of being a black American takes over all of those other statuses.

Also, a woman can be a great mother, a doctor, or a church leader, but once she deals with men, the most important status that will surpass the others is her status of being a woman. Finally, each individual carries a social position in life (status). All of us have an ascribed status which can not be chosen or controlled. We are simply born into it. And, it is up to our efforts, actions, and behavior, that control our achieved status. So in other words, we are who we are and only we can change that depending on how we want to live our lives.

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