Difference Between Role and Status

Role vs Status

Man is a social animal and as a member of the society, he has a number of roles that he performs. Beginning from his family, he performs the roles of a son and a brother, and later on the roles of husband and father. He also has the role of a responsible citizen in the society. Every role has a status in the society which is the set of behaviors expected with that role. There are obvious differences between role and status that will be discussed in this article.

A doctor in a society has both a status and a role to perform. Role is obviously the duties and responsibilities attached with the position while status is the prestige or the lack of it attached with that position. For example, a doctor is perceived as a protector and a person who is honored by the society because of the role he performs.

Let us begin with the family. A father is a role that carries the status of a provider and protector in the family. In the simplest of words, status is the position in the system (society in this instance). Status sometimes is used as a synonym for honor and prestige that are associated with certain posts. In a social system, status is the rank a person holds in a social hierarchy. It is this status that defines the behavior of others towards the person.

There are two types of status’ namely ascribed and achieved status. Ascribed status is one that a person gets by virtue of taking birth in a family (or caste as in India). For example, if a child is born in the family of a king, he gets the status of a prince and gets others to behave in deference to him. On the other hand, achieved status is what a person earns with a lot of effort and endeavor. For example, Obama, the current President of the US was born in relative poverty and bore all sorts of psychological stresses being black skinned and a son of a white mother. But he rose defying all odds and became the first black president thus achieving a status accorded to very few in the society. Here again, his daughter and wife have got status which is ascribed and not achieved.

In brief:

Role vs Status

• Every person has various roles to perform in his family and the society and every role has duties and responsibilities.

• Status refers to the honor or prestige accorded to a role in the society.

• Status is the rank in social hierarchy while role is the behavior that is expected of a person.