Sociology Today

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The Structure of Social Life: Values, Norms, Roles and Status
“Societies work or function because each individual member of that society plays particular roles and each role carries a status and norms which are informed by the values and beliefs of the culture of that society. The process of learning these roles and the norms and values appropriate to them from those around us is called socialisation.” Barnard and Burgess (1996) “Sociology Explained”
Values
Talcott Parsons wrote that all human societies have certain problems that have to be solved if life is to be maintained. Such problems can be approached and solved in a variety of ways, and the choice of how to solve them is governed by our values.
Values are beliefs that we all have about what is important both on an individual and societal level. A value therefore is a belief (whether right or wrong) about the way something should be. An example of a value might be that is better for a child to be raised by its natural mother and father than for society to take responsibility. Furthermore, the Ten Commandments from Christianity can also be considered values.
Some values are personal to us as individuals whereas others are more widely held by large groups. In such an instance, values my become morals; that is, they become absolute and of fundamental importance that we believe everyone should hold the same values. For example, the moral belief that killing is wrong.
It is therefore apparent that values by definition involve judgements, be they personal or societal. Values are general guidelines to behaviour which tell us what is right or wrong. On the other hand, they do not tell us what is right and wrong in specific situations but in a more overall kind of way. For how to behave in specific situations we are guided by norms.
Norms
Norms (short for normative or normal) are expected, socially…...

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