master status

(noun) The primary identifying status of an individual that shapes an individual’s interactions and relationships with others and dominates all other statuses.

Example: An individual’s age, ethnicity, gender, or occupation.

Audio Pronunciation: (mas·ter stat·us)

Download Audio Pronunciation: master status.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: master statuses
  • An individual’s master status is situational; an individual’s ethnicity or gender is not a master status within a group of people with the same ethnicity or gender but it is when that individual is a minority in a group.
  • Master statuses shape an individual’s social identity, role expectations and performances, and impact a person’s experience with inequality and oppression.
  • Masters statuses are often ascribed statuses.
  • Master status used in a sentence: Sociologists are fascinated by master statuses as determinates of social mobility.

Related Quotation:

  • “[R]ace, sex, social class, sexual orientation, and disability are currently the primary axes of difference in American society—they are also what social scientists call master statuses” (Rosenblum and Travis 2012:2).

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 

 


References

Rosenblum, Karen Elaine, and Toni-Michelle Travis. 2012. The Meaning of Difference: American Constructions of Race, Sex and Gender, Social Class, Sexual Orientation, and Disability. New York: McGraw-Hill.

 

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How to Cite the Definition of Master Status

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “master status.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 14, 2018 (https://sociologydictionary.org/master-status/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

master status. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/master-status/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “master status.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 14, 2018. https://sociologydictionary.org/master-status/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“master status.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 14 Dec. 2018. <https://sociologydictionary.org/master-status/>.