This (Heiss, 1990). A second way that

This chapter considers the impact of social structure on the individual.

There are three ways in which social structure influences a person’s life. First, every person occupies one or more position in the social structure. Each position carries a set of expectations about the behavior of the occupants of that position, called a role (Rommetvelt, 1955). Role expectations are anticipations of his or her position. Through socialization and personal experience, each of us knows the role expectations associated with our positions (Heiss, 1990). A second way that social structure influences the individual is through social networks – the sets of relationships associated with the various positions a person occupies.

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Each of us is woven into several networks, including those involving co-workers, family and friends. A third way in which social structure influences the individual is through status – the social ranking of a person’s position. In every society, some positions are accorded greater prestige that others. Differences in ranking indicate a person’s relative standing – his or her status – in the social structure.

Each of us occupies several positions of differing status.

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