status (social status)

(noun) An individual’s position, often relative to others, in a group or society as characterized by certain benefits and responsibilities as determined by an individual’s rank and role.

Example: A teacher and student, the teacher fills the role of authority.

Audio Pronunciation: (sta·tus)

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: statuses
  • The terms status and social status are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
  • An individual often simultaneously occupies multiple statuses.
  • Statuses are complementary, dynamic, and relational.
  • The distinction between status and role is a status is what you “are” and a role is what you “do.” Being a parent is a status, being a provider for your children is a role.
  • Also called social status.
  • Types:
    • achieved status
    • ascribed status
    • master status
  • Status used in a sentence: I have multiple statuses as a student, a parent, and a worker.

Related Quotations:

  • “[As] you experience your social statuses; you live through them. They are the filters through which you see and make sense of the world , and in large measure they account for how you are treated and what you notice” (Rosenblum and Travis 2012:194).
  • “There is an ordering of versions of femininity and masculinity at the level of the whole society, in some ways analogous to the patterns of face-to-face relations with institution. the possibilities of variation, of course, are vastly greater. The sheer complexity of relationships involving millions of people guarantees that ethnic differences and generational differences as well as class patterns come into play. But in key aspects the organization of gender on the very large scale must be more skeletal and simplified than the human relationships in face-to-face milieux. The forms of femininity and masculinity constituted at this level are stylized and impoverished. Their interrelation is centred on the single structural fact, the global dominance of men over women” (Connell 1987:183).

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 



Connell, R. W. 1987. Gender and Power: Society, the Person, and Sexual Politics. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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.