Social Role Related Concept




Social Role Related Concept:

(1) Role performance: The way a person actually plays one’s role in a situation.

(2) Role set: A set of roles (a role complex) that centers around a particular social status. For example, a University professor frequently gets involved in teaching, research, consultancy, administration, publishing, examining, etc.

(3) Role strain: A feeling of difficulty or stress in fulfilling the demands of one’s role obligations.

(4) Role conflict: Incompatibility between two or more roles that an individual is expected to perform in a given situation. For example, the role of a working woman, who also manages the home.

(5) Role exit: According to Helen Rose, role exit is a process of disengagement from a role that is central to one’s self-identity, in order to establish a new role and identity.

Examples to understand the concept:

  1. Your status is of a ‘student’. This is achieved status, whereas being someone’s daughter/son is you ascribed status. Now with the status of being a student, you have different roles to play in different situations. Like during a family function, you are a family member and your role is to involve in your family ceremonies and not study. But in school, you are a student who has to study, complete assignments, and write exams. This is your ‘Set of Roles’ or ‘Role Set’. Sometimes, when there are two situations where you are expected to play different roles clash with each other, there comes ‘Role Conflict’. For instance, there’s a family get-together during your exams, it’s your decision to choose one role over the other. While doing so, you can be stressed as you may not be able to make both the parties happy, and there comes ‘Role Strain’. Sometimes out of frustration or when you feel that your self-identity is somewhere lost behind the roles you play, you take a decision of disengaging with one of the roles that have been causing this. This is ‘Role Exit’.

  2. Assume that your status in the society is of ‘Working Woman’. Now that’s your achieved status whereas being a daughter, someone’s spouse, and a mother is your ascribed status. Role performance is the way you play one of your roles in one situation. Your status has different roles to play i.e. working, taking care of your child, taking care of your parents, etc. That’s your ‘Role Set’. While playing these many roles, sometimes they tend to clash with each other, and ‘Role Conflict’ is inevitable. When ‘Role Conflict’ is inevitable, you multi-task, and here comes ‘Role Strain’. After doing all this and when your role casts a shadow on your self-identity, you start disengaging with one of your role or the centralised role. Then you take an exit from that role and start exploring other roles or build a new identity.

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