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role set (social role set)

Definition of Role Set

(noun) The multiple roles attached to a particular status.

Example of Role Set

  • A teacher of sociology at a university is an employee of the school and an educator of students.

Role Set Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: role set

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /rOHl sEt/
  • British English – /rOHl sEt/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /roʊl sɛt/
  • British English – /rəʊl sɛt/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: role sets
  • The terms “role set” and “social role set” are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
  • Variant spelling: role-set

Related Quotations

  • “A role does not exist in isolation. Instead, it is a bundle of activities that are meshed with the activities of other people. Indeed, the definition of one role depends upon the existence of another . . . Every role has at least one reciprocal role attached to it (Hughes and Kroehler 2008:60).
  • “In American society, the basic kinship system consists of parents and children, but it may include other relatives as well, especially grandparents. Each person in this system has certain rights and obligations as a result of his or her position in the family structure. Furthermore, a person may occupy several positions at the same time. For example, an 18-year-old woman may simultaneously be a daughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, and a granddaughter. Each role entails different rights and obligations. As a daughter, the young woman may have to defer to certain decisions of her parents; as a sister, to share her bedroom; as a cousin, to attend a wedding; and as a granddaughter, to visit her grandparents during the holidays” (Strong, Devault, and Cohen 2011:19).

Related Video

Additional Information

Related Terms


Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2008. Sociology: The Core. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Strong, Bryan, Christine DeVault, and Theodore F. Cohen. 2011. The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society. 11th ed. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Works Consulted

Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Clinard, Marshall Barron, and Robert Frank Meier. 2011. Sociology of Deviant Behavior. 14th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Stolley, Kathy S. 2005. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cite the Definition of Role Set

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “role set.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 28, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/role-set/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

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

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

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “role set.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 28, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/role-set/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“role set.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 28 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/role-set/>.