A. Javier Trevino Defines Social Structure

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    • 00:05

      [SOCIAL STRUCTURE]

    • 00:09

      A JAVIER TREVINO: I think one of the most important conceptsin sociology is social structure.And every sociologist is familiar with this notionof the social structure, whether that sociologistis in Walla Walla, Washington or Muleshoe, Texasor Beijing, China.We all know about social structure.It's a fundamental concept, I think,

    • 00:30

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: similar to the concept of energy for physics.Every physicist worth his salt, her salt knows about energy.Well, we have to know about social structure,because every community, every grouping, every society has it.And by social structure, I'm talkingabout the framework of society.And if I could use an analogy, think about the framework

    • 00:51

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: of a building.I'm not an architect, but every building is somewhat similar.Every building has a roof, or walls,or partitions, a threshold to go from one room to the other,hallways, perhaps even stairs.And so when we think about societyas having a framework like that-- nota physical structure, but a social structure--

    • 01:11

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: we're talking about things like social roles, the performancesthat people enact.And of course, we have many social roles,depending on our audience and our setting.We think about social norms, the rules,the do's and the don'ts of society.We think about statuses, where westand in relation to one another,in terms of social position.

    • 01:31

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: These are all abstractions.We can't see norms like we can see walls.We can't see statuses like we can see windows.We can't see all of these other things thatmake up the social structure.But they have a reality of their own.They are coercive to what we do.Just as we can't go out the room by crashing through the wall,

    • 01:56

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: so often, we can't violate certain social norms.We dare not violate those rules, those expectationswith society.It would be as difficult to break one of those rulesas it would be for me to go through the wall.So there's that reality that social structurehas on our behavior, on our conduct.Social structure also provides us with order in society.

    • 02:19

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: And largely, we're happy when we have an orderly life.Now, if you think about your daily lives,from the time that you get up in the morning to the timethat you go to bed at night, there'sa schedule there's an ordered pattern.Even if you've never been in this particular classroombefore, you've been in other classrooms.So you have a sense as to what to expect.

    • 02:40

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: You have a sense as to how the professor is going to actand how other students are going to act.So order provides that kind of stability to our social lives.Another thing that social structure doesis it gives us predictability.We can anticipate beforehand what might happen.Now, every once in a while, thereis a curveball, things that happen that are unexpected.

    • 03:02

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: But for the most part, if you think about your daily lives,they are pretty orderly.We follow most of the rules most of the time.Social institutions, when we look at society in the largersense, in the larger context-- thinkabout US society-- are those structures thatare part of our daily lives and in which we are involved.

    • 03:24

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: So the primary social institutionsare family, education, what we callthe polity or the political system, the state, the economy.And just about every society has some formof these institutions.So consider, for instance, the family,whether we're talking about the extended family

    • 03:45

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: or the nuclear family, the single parentfamily, the gay family, the blended family.We have something called a family.We all come from families.So we experience those.Those are institutions that shape us, that form us,in our social selves and everyday life.And we can say the same thing, for instance, about religion,or the economy, or the medical institution, and so on.

    • 04:09

      A JAVIER TREVINO [continued]: These are institutions that have functions or havebenefits for society in the larger sense.

A. Javier Trevino Defines Social Structure

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Abstract

Professor A. Javier Trevino defines social structure as the framework of society, made up of social roles, status, and norms that shape our everyday lives.

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A. Javier Trevino Defines Social Structure

Professor A. Javier Trevino defines social structure as the framework of society, made up of social roles, status, and norms that shape our everyday lives.

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