Social Structure in Sociology – Its Elements and Related Concepts

Social Structure in Sociology: The Social structure is basically the CONCEPT to understand about the society better. It is the arrangement of institutions where the human beings live or interact with each other. Social structure is primarily composed of various groups or organizations like family, Church, class, caste, community, etc.

The perspectives of people in society have a direct impression on the social status of an individual. The perspectives of sociology have been explained in the previous post. If you haven’t read that article, please have a read by moving here.

 Social Structure in Sociology

In the study of social structure, the sociologists analyze or study about the organizations and the social categories that are in existence in the society. This approach is named as formal sociology as this do not link up directly with the behavior of an individual in particular. That’s the reason the study of social structure is not recognized as behavioral science.

social structure in sociology

Some of the topics to be discussed in this article are:

  • Social Structure,
  • Social Function,
  • Social Status and Role and its Elements,
  • Related concepts.

Social structure, as mentioned above is the orderly relationship between the elements of the society. It is said to be an abstract phenomenon. The institutions and associations that exist in the community are inter-related with each other. They create the pattern of social structure. It is also said to be ‘living’ because it is built, maintained for a time and changes eventually.

 There is four principle set of elements under social structure:

  • Normative System
  • Position System
  • Sanction System
  • Action System

Click here if you want to go deeper into the elements of the social structure.

Social Status and Role: 

Individuals differ not only in attributes such as sex, color, height, etc. but also has a difference in respect to the work or occupations they do. All the individuals do not perform the same tasks what others do. Every person is assigned a different specific task to accomplish. So, we can say, the social system is based on the work power or the quality of occupation they do.

By status, we can say, the prestige or the fame which is given to an individual from their lifestyle or the work quality.

Elements of Status: 

Status, which is the ‘social standing‘ of an individual in the society is dependant upon the social evaluations. Some of the elements of status are given below:

  • The status of an individual living in a community is determined by the cultural situation of that society.
  • The social status of an individual can only be figured out by judging or comparing it with other members of the society. The comparison needs to be done for measuring social status.
  • Status is only a small part or a fraction of the society.
  • According to social status, people are divided into various categories.

Role of Status:

As we have already read, STATUS is the social position of an individual within a group or a community of similar people. Respect is gained by the individuals in a society from their social status. The higher their social status is, the higher respect they get and vice versa.

Furthermore, status is not something which remains stagnant or has a specific destined position for every individual. Along with time, the status of an individual is expected to change based on his/her works or achievements.

It’s the role of an individual which determines everything. Along with the change in the role, there is the change of status as well. Status decides who is to carry what. For an ideal society, the status system must not be a rigid one. It should be flexible for more efficiency. A status system which lacks ‘flexibility’ is not destined to uplift or spur an individual.

social structure in sociology

Related Concepts of Social Structure in Sociology:

Society essentially prescribes four factors which have an impact on the social structure or status:

  1. Sex
  2. Age
  3. Kinship
  4. Social Factors

The society has got a different perspective on men and women. Their attitude towards both of them is not the same. Secondly, age is one of the factors which impacts the social structure in the society. Five age periods are recognized in a community: Infancy, Childhood, Adolescence, Adulthood and old age. The attitude of people for the various age periods is different. For example, The elderly aged people are more respected than ones who are in the childhood age.

Thirdly, the family culture and prestige is also something which matters in the determining the social status. And lastly, the social factors also play a vital role in determining the status of an individual.

Please read this article if you want to know more about the basics of sociology > What is Sociology. And if you have any queries regarding the social structure in sociology, drop it down below.

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