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Referred to as a social position that an individual occupies. Each one is part of our social identity defining our relationship with others.

Social Interaction

The process by which people act and react in relation to others and the meaning we attach to their actions. Through interaction, we create the reality in which we live.

Master Status

Status held by person that is most significant in life at that time.

Ascribed Status

Born into. Daughter, female, white.

Achieved Status

Something you earn and sought after. Graduate, girlfriend.

Status Set

All of the statuses a person holds at a given time.


Expected of someone who holds a particular status.

Role Conflict

Conflict between roles corresponding to two or more statuses. Being pulled in several different directions.

Role Strain

The tension between roles connected to a single status. A "balancing act."

Social Construction of Reality

Describes the process by which people creatively shape reality through background assumptions, social interaction, and life experiences. This is the foundation of the symbolic-interaction perspective.

Thomas Theorem

"Situations that are defined as real are real in their consequences."


The study of how people use common sense understanding to make sense of what others do and say.

Dramaturgical Analysis

The study of social interaction in terms of theatrical performance.

Presentation of Self

One's effort to create specific impressions in the minds of others.

Nonverbal Communication

Hand movements, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, may convey information resulting in invited interaction, insult, deception, or to supplement spoken words.

Personal Space

The surrounding area over which a person makes some claim to privacy.


The Social Construction of Feeling. Biological side, Cultural side.


The social construction of gender. It defines women and men as different types of people.


Reality Play. Results from the difference between conventional and unconventional definitions of a situation.

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