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Sociological Concepts Assignment

Values are socially defined thoughts and beliefs that are considered normal in everyday interaction. Values are measurable in a sense of the relative “goodness” or “badness” that an action or set of beliefs may imply. For example, those that value religiosity would consider atheism to be highly undesirable. Similarly those who value liberal politics would oppose conservative values to a certain extent. In my life, I would say that I value truth and honesty and therefore do not condone lying and any dishonest behavior. Norms are essential unspoken or spoken rules about how members of a group should behave.

The action of setting norms is essential to the survival of any group, be it society at large with the implementing of laws or a set of company guidelines that help to keep workers informed of the job duties in relation to one another. In my life, I would say that it is now that norm to live with a girlfriend or boyfriend before marriage. In the past this was not the norm and considered unacceptable. I believe that I would want to have a trial period of living with a partner before becoming engaged or married and that that is considered “normal”.

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Sanctions are the set of rules that accompany misconduct and the dealing with of individuals accused of violating a norm. Sentencing a person considered “deviant” or “criminal” by a court of law would be one sanction of breaking laws. Shunning or sending a person to exile in certain cultures for violating a rule (such as Muslim women, who are accused of adultery) is another form of sanctioning. The ultimate form of sanctioning would be condemning a person to death, as with Muslim women, as mentioned before or capital punishment in places around the world.

In my world around me I see people that are shunned socially by others if they are homosexual or “different” in ways of dress (such as people who consider themselves to be more “punk” and are activist of some sort). Folkways are less utilized norms for governing group behavior. For this reason, sanctions are usually less harsh and sometimes there are no sanctions whatsoever. Examples of this may be more in the line of etiquette, such as opening doors for a female date or placing a napkin on one’s lap during a mean. It depends on one’s one experience and the “folkways” of the past in their own family life if these traditions are expected.

For example, in my life I would not expect for a door to be open for a woman when she is exited a car, although this does present a sense of chivalry, it can also represent covert sexism by treating a woman as too fragile to do things for herself. Mores are unlike folkways in that they are viewed as being essential to the very survival of a group or clan. Violation of a strict more is punished harshly in part to send a message to other group members not to ascribe to the unwelcome behavior, but out of strong feelings of retribution. Examples of this are the murder or sexual assault of a young child.

Though other “criminals” are sentenced and sent to prison for actions such as drug dealing or robbery, pedophiles or child murderers are considered even more heinous and their treatment by law enforcement and even other criminals while in prison with these people are swift and ruthless. I would say that this is something I have seen as obvious in news reports and other media coverage. Ascribed Status is a type of status that one is born with and has nothing to do with personal achievement or success. Sex and race are two examples of ascribed status. Women and minorities are viewed in a certain way in everyday life by some as “less-than”.

Men and, especially Caucasian men are of the top tier in ascribed status, though there is the phenomenon of the “white man’s burden”. All social ills are sometimes viewed as the result of a white man’s action or inaction. So, it seems that any person will have an issue in later life to some degree in dealing with their ascribed status. In my life, I see the Presidential primaries being played out with the African-American and female candidate for President constantly being viewed through this lens of what type of person they were born as. In my opinion, this is wrong.

Achieved Status is the opposite of ascribed status, although people can be born into wealthy families and receive the outside view from others of personal success, but it is a collective family success. Achieved status is important in the fact that there is a set of expectations that come with whichever label is placed on an individual. For example, if a person is a doctor, they are supposed to follow the Hippocratic oath and demonstrate ethics, both in and outside their practice. Conversely, if a person is considered a deviant or criminal, they are not expected to follow rules or conform to “normal” behavior.

In my life, as a student, I am expected to study and be open-minded in my approach to learning. It is important to note that not all concepts surrounding achieved status are positive or synonymous with great achievements. Master Status is the combination of achieved and ascribed status in the consideration of the person, who has all of these intersecting statuses. A person may be Latino, male, highly educated, a parent, and a doctor, but consider one of their statuses as being more important and telling of that individual. Many times minorities see their race as the master status.

After this that person would see themselves as highly educated, a doctor, a male, and a parent. This order is the importance here. If the person was a Caucasian they would likely see themselves as highly educated and a doctor before they would see their race as important. In my life, I have seen my mother view herself as a women and mother first and any other accomplishments in her job were secondary or tertiary to that. Role Strain is the problems inherent with an individual attempting to achieve positive goals, but learning through reinforcement that it is sometimes necessary to exhibit negative behavior to acquire positive outcomes.

For example, a young boy, who lives in a dilapidated home in a crime-ridden neighborhood may come to fear going to school for fear of violence there. He may also become ill as a result of bad living conditions. Although he believes that it is important to receive an education, the strain of his social situation may cause him to frequently miss school and ultimately get expelled. The domino effect may cause him to search out ways of improving his situation and turning to a life of crime may be the result of this strain.

In my life, I look at things more simply in the way that I cannot please everyone and be all things to all people. When I am studying for a test, I can’t socialize with friends or go home to visit family, my work is sometimes affected too. If I lost my job and had to find an illegal or immoral way to make money this would be similar to the boy, who turned to crime due to role strain. Role Conflict is the problems that arise out of having intersecting roles that do not always allow one to comfortably exhibit all roles without scrutiny from others.

For example, a working mother may find that stay-at-home mothers believe that she is a bad person for working. In her job, she may find that childless co-workers are given more work and treated in a better manner. She attempts to do all that is asked of her as a mother and employee, but the two roles conflict and cause a great deal of problems with her status as both. I have seen the former example happen many times, where women believe they can have it all. But, being wives, mothers, and employees can all conflict with one another to prove that it is not that simple for some to “have it all”.

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