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Sociology class - Essay Example

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What are social systems? Why is it important to study them sociologically? How can this kind of inquiry increase our understanding about ordinary life situations? Human existence on earth can be understood in two ways. The first way focuses on the individualistic aspects of mankind whereas the second views the human existence as a group or society…
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Download file to see previous pages A system is defined as a collection of elements and their interrelationships. These relationships make the system distinct from other systems. The chemical bond between the molecules of a chemical compound is quite different from the relationships between organisms of a species. Hence, a Social system is a congregation of individual parts which are interrelated. These relationships are unique to each social system and help us distinguish between different social systems. The fact that social systems can also be a part of a larger social system can help us understand the world as a group of social systems which are closely related. Let us consider the example of political and economic systems. While the fundamental objectives, modus operandi and the structure of hierarchy are somewhat similar, the relationships between the components are different. The politicians of a country are closely connected when compared to the presidents of banks or financial organizations (Nelson). The basic components of a social system are shown below: 1. Status: It is defined as a position in the social system accompanied by a set of rights, duties and expectations. Statuses are unique and hence, identifiable in terms of other statuses. For instance, let us consider what it means to be a 25 year old in a society. In a society where the average life span is 70 or 80 years, 25 is when an individual begins to think in terms of career and personal growth. However, in a society where the average life expectancy is 30 to 35 years, 25 is the beginning of late adulthood. Status comes in two different forms. The term Achieved status refers to the status which can change over time whereas Ascribed status is permanent. For instance, an individual’s position within the family is permanent and hence achieved. However, an individual’s position in an organization may change over time and hence is ascribed. 2. Roles: A role is a unique set of behaviors associated with the normal being of individuals belonging to a particular status. In a family, the role of mother is quite different from that of the grandmother. Similarly, the role of an entry level executive in an organization is different from that of the manager. These roles represent different dimensions of an individual’s existence. However, some roles are not as clearly marked as others. While the role of a mother in the family is clear, the role of an individual within an organization may vary based on several factors. In a society, every individual is linked to several social systems and hence, performs multiple roles such as being a father in the family while working at an automobile company. 3. Social structure: It is a set of patterns which collectively constitute the social system much like the layout of a building. A simple social structure merely describes the statuses and roles in a social system whereas a complex social structure describes them in an elaborate manner along with the interrelationships. The age structure of a country is a simple social structure. For instance, let us compare the percentage of children in Kenya and the U.S. Kenya clearly has a higher percentage of children thanks to the reduced infant mortality rates along with the tradition of living in large families. Such simple structures help us understand social systems using the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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