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Author: Paul Hannan
Recognize the sociological concept of status and how it's 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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Welcome to this episode of Sociology Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on status. 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 status. Now status is not a Facebook status. For sociology, a status is a position within a social system. So there are many different forms a status you could take. It could be a job title. It could be a way that people look at you unofficially. Status can be a lot of different things, but it's always a position within a social system.

Now there are two real ways that we get status in society. The first we as ascribed status. So an ascribed status, this a status that you get automatically. You don't have to do anything for it. Whether it's good or bad, involuntarily or voluntarily, you get this status. So for example, if you're born into a wealthy family, you automatically have the status of being wealthy.

Now on the other hand, is an achieved status. This is status received based on your performance. So an achieved status is something that you actually earn. So when you become a college graduate or if you're already a college graduate, in your next career, when you became that first degree, those are all achieved statuses. You got that status because you earned it. Your performance earned it.

Obviously, we all have a bunch of different statuses at once. I'm not just one status. So a status that is an individual's entire collection of statuses. So it's everything that I or you are. A master status is probably what we think of most the time. A master status is so important that it overshadows all other statuses.

So if you're a professional athlete, you might say that, for most of them, that is their master status. They might also be a father. They might also be a son. They might also be educated. They can be a lot of different things. But their master status, the thing that overshadows everything else, is that their professional athlete.

So today's takeaway message-- a status is just the position within a social system, and a status set is all those statuses taken together for one individual. Now you get these statuses by two different ways. You get it from automatically, and those are ascribed statuses, and you get it through performance, through earning it, and that's achieved status. And then lastly, a master status is the status that is so important it really overshadows and it's all other statuses that you have.

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
Achieved Status

A social position that a person achieves voluntarily by virtue of their work, talent, or effort.

Ascribed Status

A social position that a person occupies involuntarily by virtue of their birth or life circumstances.

Master Status

The most important status for shaping a person's identity and position in the social world.


Any social position that a person occupies.

Status Set

The group of statuses that an individual occupies at any one time.