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  CHAPTER V THE ROL TH ORY Status and role ar~e a pair of sociological concepts that have been diversely understood and varyingly adopted time and again for the study of social patterns and struct~~res. t is a major link in understanding individual behaviour and soctal stru~cture. It IS helpful in delineating the minimum of attitudes and behaviour which an individual must assume if one is to participate in the manifest expressior~ f pattern.254 There is general agreement among sociologists of different perspectives that social roles somehow provide cohesiveness for society and promote order and stability which permit individuals to l~ve n relative harmony.255 Though the role theory substantially fell out of use after the mtd-twentieth century the concept of role remains a basic tool for soc~ological ~nderstand~ng Chiefly there are two approaches within the role theory namely the structural approach headed by Ralph Linton and the social-psychological approach that has emerged particularly in the traditions of symbolic ~nteraction~sm s Accord~ng o Jonathan H Turner the structural approach and the more processual strategy are the two extremes in the matter. The analogy of a play in wh~ch ndlv~duals re seen as players in the theatre and of a game in which players are considered to be participants in a pick-up game illustrate mRalph Linton, The Study of Man (New York D Appleton-Century Company, 1936), as cited by Marcello Truzzi (ed.). So~;iology: The Classic Statements, p. 93. =Sanford Labovitz, An introduction to Sociological Concepts (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1977). p. 95 25 Role, Social Role. Role Theory. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, Gordon Marshall (ed.), 2nd ed. (1998).  88 the difference between the two perspectivesz5 We shall examine below certain aspects of the role theory which will illumine our study. An exhaustive study is neither possible nor called for here. 1) The Structural Role Theory According to Ralph Linton, status and role may be understood abstractly or concretely. A status;, abstractly understood, is a position in a particular pattern. It denotes a collection of rights and duties. A role represents the dynamic aspect of a status. These are quite inseparable. When one puts into effect the rights and dutres which constitute hislher status, helshe performs a role. There are no roles without statuses or statuses without roles. An individual may have many statuses ;and accordingly many roles because one participates in the expression of a number of patterns, and corresponding to the various statuses, one has a series; of roles But concretely, the status of an individual is the sum total of all the statuses one occupies. It is one s position with relation to the total society. Similarly th role represents the sum total of all the various roles of an individual, anmddetermines what one does for the society and what one may expect from it :' Fichter, while discussing the sociological aspects of authority in reltgious community, paraphrases the view of Linton as a person s 257Jonathan H Turner The Structure of Sociological Theory, 4th ed. (Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 1999). pp. 353 4 25BLinton he Study oreMan, as cited y Marcello Truzzi ed.), Sociology: he Classic Statements, pp. 92-4.   9 status is that which he is in relation to other people, and the role is that which he does, the functional pursuit of goals. 259 Although all statuses and roles are derived from social patterns and are integral parts of patterns, each ind~vidual n a particular status fulfils one's role in a singular manner. Therefore, there are ascribed statuses, assigned to individuals without reference to their innate differences or abilities, and achieved statuses, requiring at least a minimum of special qualities, and filled through competition and individual effort.260 n terms of authority, Fichter calls the former as positional leadership which may be inherited, assumed, or elective; and the latter as personal leadership.261 Talcott Parsons, in his first book, The Structure of Social Action 1937), exposes a voluntaristic theory of action, conceiving of human beings as making choices between means and ends, in a physical and social environment that limited choices. An impc~rtant spect of the social environment is the norms and values by wh~ch we make our choices. Within the context, actors aim at maxrmum gratification, and behaviour and relationships that achieve this goal become inst~tutionalized nto a system of status roles.262 Though he sees the social system as a system of interaction, the basic unit of his study is the status- =Joseph H. Fichter, The Sociological Aspects of the Role of Authority in the Adaptation of the Religious Community for the Apostolate, Dimensions of uthoMy in th Religious Life (London: Universty of Nortrf? Dame Press, 1966), . 4 260Linton. he Study of Man, as cited by Marcello Truzzi (ed.), Sociology: The Classic Statements, pp. 92 4. 'Fichter, ',The Sociological Aspects of the Role of Authordy in the Adaptation of the Religious Community for the Apostolate, pp. 5 6. Z Parsons Talcott . Oxford Dictionary of Sociology.  9 role complex 'This is rle~ther n aspect of actors nor an aspect of interaction, but rather a structural clmnponent of the social system. Status refers to a structural posltion within the social system, and role is what the actor does in such a position. seen in the context of its functional significance for the larger system. The actor is viewed as nothing more than a bundle of statuses and roles. 263 Florian Znaniecki notes among sociologists the use of the concepts of sonal role and sonal arc:le He understands that soc~al ole IS applicable not only to lnd~vlduals ho spec~al~ze n certaln activities for example, a teacher, a priest but also to Individuals as members of certain groups, for example, an American, a Methodist, Communist, a club member, a child, a father. The social personality of an individual is a synthesis of all the different roles helshe performs simultaneously or successively throughout the course of one's life. ocial circle denotes a smaller or larger set of people who participate in hislher performance. Between social roles and their corresponding social circles, there is a common bond made up of a complex of values. While the society bestows a definite social status ~~pon person who is needed by a social circle, and possesses the qualities required to fulftll the role demanded, the individual in turn is obliged to achieve certain tasks to satisfy the supposed needs of the social circle.264 263Rit~er. ociological Theory, p. 241 264Florian naniecki, The Sociel Role of the Man of Knowledge New York: Columbia University Press, 1940), pp. 13-4, as cited by Marcello Truzzi ed.), Sociology: The Classic Statements, pp 11 0 2.
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