Status Set in Sociology: Definition & Example

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  • 0:00 Status and Role
  • 1:35 Definition of Status Set
  • 2:04 Example
  • 2:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Lehan

With a doctorate in marriage and family therapy and a certificate in measurement and statistics, Tara has taught social science courses to students of all levels.

Most of us occupy various different statuses in society, depending on the setting. Learn about the definition of status set in sociology and see some examples.

Status and Role

In sociology, the term status refers to a person's rank or position in a particular context. Associated with a status are various expectations and, in some cases, privileges called roles. For example, in this context, you are a student. Therefore, it is expected that you will review the information presented and complete an associated quiz to assess the degree to which you learned it.

There are two types of statuses: ascribed and achieved. Ascribed statuses are those that come with birth. As a result, they are not chosen voluntarily. So, the status of parent, child, and sibling are examples of ascribed statuses. Achieved statuses, on the other hand, are those that come with effort. So, being a spouse, employee, or homeowner are examples of achieved statuses because they are chosen.

Consider the following sentence: Because I am a(n) _____, I have to _____. So, you might say, 'Because I am a therapist, I have to listen to clients speak, help them to formulate solutions, and keep accurate records of our sessions.' In this example, therapist is an achieved status because it is something you chose and is the result of your effort. You were not born a therapist. In addition, listening to clients speak, helping them to formulate solutions, and keeping accurate records of sessions are roles associated with that status. They are behaviors in which you are expected to engage because of your status as a therapist. You are encouraged to complete the sentence above with statuses and roles that apply to you.

Definition of Status Set

Now that you understand what sociologists mean when they use the term status, you can better understand what is meant by status set. A status set is all of the statuses that a person holds in a particular context. As we said before, in this context, you are a student. However, you might also occupy other statuses, such as parent, spouse, child, sibling, employee, or homeowner (just to name a few). If one status is dominant over all of the others, it is called a master status.

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