Statuses and Roles constitute an important element in social structure. Young and Mack say ”A role is the function of a status”. A person in a social set up is bound to play a role. Sometimes he plays so many roles at a given time. According to his role, he gets status. Similarly, the status of an individual gives him a definite role. Sometimes status is ascribed and sometimes it is achieved. Therefore, status and role, both are interrelated.
1. The terms ‘role’ and ‘status’ are inter-related:
A status is simply a position in society or in a group. A ‘role’ is the behavioral aspect of status. Statuses are occupied and roles are played. A role is the manner in which a given individual fulfills the obligations of a status and enjoys its privileges.
2. Role is a relational term:
An individual plays a role versus another person’s role, which is attached to a ‘counter-position’.
3. Role and status point out two divergent interests:
Status is a sociological concept and sociological phenomena. On the other hand, role is a concept and a phenomenon of social psychology.
4. Both are dynamic:
Role changes with each new incumbent in a status. The status changes as the norms attached to it are altered. In course of time, new obligations and new responsibilities may be added to a status or old ones may be removed. Sometimes more rigorous role-playing may expand the functions of a status.
Though status and role are co-related, it is possible to have one without the other. A status without a role may simply denote an unfulfilled position in an association. In the same way, roles are often played without occupying a status.
A status may be called as an institutionalized role. The structure of society consists of statuses and not roles. It is role that has become regularized, standardized, and formalized in the society at large on in any specific association with society. It is statuses together with norms that give order, predictability and even possibility to social relations.