Difference between status and role.

The human society is arranged in such a way that statuses and roles are distributed among all its participants. This organizes the activities of people and brings order to the life of society. But what is the difference between status and role, and what is generally meant by these concepts? We will try to answer these questions.


Social status - the objective position of a person (group, organization) in society. On the one hand, the status indicates who the participant of the society is in itself (student, writer, foreigner). On the other hand, it indicates at what level a person is in the hierarchical structure of society.

Social role - the expression of social position in action. The role is assigned to a specific person by other people around him. It is reinforced by the norms and customs that exist in society.


Two social terms are interrelated, but each has its own essence. The difference between status and role lies in the fact that the first concept means a certain state or a certain level, and the second means actions, behavior. In other words, the role can be considered the dynamic side of status.

It should be noted that a person, from the point of view of who he is, usually has several statuses at once. For example, the same man can be a driver, husband, father, or an avid fisherman. A whole set of social positions is formed. At the same time, status as a rank in the hierarchy of society is viewed in a slightly different light. Its characteristic is the authority of a person, his prestige in society.

To maintain his status, a person must fulfill a social role corresponding to such a position, which is often multifaceted. Thus, a woman in the status of a mother is for her children both a nurse, and a mentor, and, in a sense, a doctor.

People in the process of communication continuously assess each other for the correspondence of the role to the status. If someone's actions coincide with the expectations of society, then the status of such a person is preserved. If a person does not fulfill his role, his status may be lost.

For example, the status of the head of the family, usually attributed to a man, implies the fulfillment of a very responsible role. It implies the need to make timely decisions when required and to ensure an appropriate standard of living for their loved ones. If a man is unable to cope with this, his wife can be recognized as the head of the family.

The following example helps to understand the difference between status and role: the president of a country is a social status expressed in the highest office held by a person; and the role performed at the same time is to lead the state and represent its interests in international relations.