Ascribed and Achieved Status

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Status is the social position a person occupies within a social group with a role that our society expects us to play in a given status. For example, a man may have the status of father in his family. Because of his given status, he is expected to fulfill a role for his children, and in most societies that would require for him to nurture, protect, guide, and educate them. It is quite the same as having the role as mother. Statutes can vary significantly from culture to culture. However, in all societies they are either ascribed or achieved status. Ascribed status is the social position society assigns to an individual on the basis of factors and which the individual has no control of. For example, we have no control over our sex, gender, race, economic status, and ethnic background into which we are born. We do not have an option to choose them, they are not voluntary statuses. Throughout our life we are assigned statuses that we cannot control, such as “child”, “teenager”, “adult”, or “senior citizen” on the basis of our age. We do not pick our gender or the family that we are born into. On the other hand, an achieved status is one that is acquired by doing something. For instance, someone becomes a criminal by committing a crime. Or a woman becomes a mother by having a baby. As well as the status of a widow, by the death of her husband and so on. In achieved status you have some control in either becoming a college graduate, parent, spouse, prison inmate, bank president, etc.; it just depends on your own efforts, choices, and behavior. Although, an individual’s ascribed status may affect the likelihood of achieving other statuses, one can still succeed depending on how much enthusiasm is brought upon. For example, if you are born into a poor socioeconomic status, it may be more difficult to achieve the status of “college graduate” because of the high cost of a college education. Every individual has numerous statuses all at once. You may be a...
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