Chapter 7: More Thought Patterns
Lab Activity 34: The Definition and Example Pattern
To use transitions and the definition and example pattern to comprehend the details and main idea in a paragraph.
Step 2: Read the textbook selection, and then answer the questions that follow.
College Football as Social Structure
To gain a better idea of what social structure is, think of college football. You probably know the various positions on the team: center, guards, tackles, ends, quarterback, running backs, and the like. Each is a status; that is, each is a social position. For each of these statuses, there is a role; that is, each of these positions has certain expectations attached to it. The center is expected to snap the ball, the quarterback to pass it, the guards to block, the tackles to tackle or block, the ends to receive passes, and so on. Those role expectations guide each player's actions; that is, the players try to do what their particular role requires.
Let's suppose that football is your favorite sport and you never miss a home game at your college. Let's also suppose that you graduate, get a great job, and move across the country. Five years later you return to your campus for a nostalgic visit. The climax of your visit is the biggest football game of the season. When you get to the game, you might be surprised to see a different coach, but you are not surprised that each playing position is occupied by people you don't know, for all the players you knew have graduated, and their places have been filled by others.
This scenario mirrors social structure, the framework around which a group exists. In this football example, that framework consists of the coaching staff and the eleven playing positions. The game does not depend on any particular individual, but rather on statuses, the positions that the individuals occupy. When someone leaves a position, the game can go on because someone else takes over that position or status and plays the role. The game will continue even though not a single individual remains from one period of time to the next. Notre Dame's football team endures today even though Knute Rockne, the Gipper, and his teammates are long dead.
Even though you may not play football, you nevertheless live your life within a clearly established social structure. The statuses you occupy and the roles you play were already in place before you were born. You take your particular positions in life, others do the same, and society goes about its business. Although the specifics change with time, the game—whether of life or of football—goes on.
—Henslin, Essentials of Sociology, 5th ed., p. 85.
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