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3 Tutorials that teach Roles
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Author: Paul Hannan

Recognize the sociological concept of role, and how it is related to social structure.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain, Images from, Public Domain

Video Transcription

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to this episode of Sociology, Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on roles. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, rewind, or even fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial.


So today, we're looking at roles. Now, a role is just an expected behavior based on a status. If you're a politician, you might have a speaker role. We expect a certain behavior from you as a politician that you're going to be a good public speaker. You're going to be able to do certain behaviors as a politician.

Now, every status doesn't just have one role. So a role set is the idea that there's multiple roles connected to a status. So for example, a politician might also have to be an author. They have to be really good at writing to work on bills and send out literature.

Now, there's some clashes between differences in roles that I'm going to go through next. The first one here is a role conflict. Now, role conflict is when there's two different statuses and their roles conflict against each other.

So let's look at the example on the screen here. So now, if we have a politician, and this politician is one of those status symbols, but they're actually also an athlete. They like to participate in maybe a local sports team.

So those two roles conflict. If you're a politician, has the role of being even keeled and a negotiator. Whereas athletes are really supposed to be fierce and uncompromising. So there's a conflict there because these two statuses have different roles.

Now, a different type of conflict amongst roles is a role strain. Now, this is when there's a clash between multiple roles from one status. So a good example of that there is a salesperson.

For example, a salesperson is supposed to help the customer find the best product. But at the same time, they're also supposed to make the most money for the company. These two things don't always go together. So there's a strain there between these two roles.

Last thing I want to talk about today is a role exit. Now, this is the process of exiting a role. So if you're someone who is a lawyer and you decide to leave the law profession, you become a former lawyer. You become an ex-lawyer. There's actually a process that sociologists study in how someone becomes an ex something and how your roles change, your behaviors end up changing as you exit out of a role.

So today's takeaway message, a role is just an expected behavior based on status. And the role set is the multiple roles connected to a single status. Role conflict is when there's a clash between roles from different statuses.

And a role strain is when that clashes between multiple roles from one status. And then we have the exit role, which is the process of exiting a role. Well, that's it for this lesson. Good work, and hopefully you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon. Peace.

Terms to Know
Role Conflict

The feeling of conflict and stress when faced with juggling multiple role sets from multiple statuses.

Role Exit

A transition where a person disengages from old roles in order to start something new, becoming an "ex."

Role Set

All of the multiple roles associated with a particular status.

Role Strain

Stress and tension resulting from the roles of a single status like a job status.


The behaviors, duties, and responsibilities expected of particular statuses.