Sociology Index


Ascribed Status is automatically transmitted to an individual at birth or at a particular time in the life cycle. The various factors that determine ascribed status include age, kinship structure, sex, race, social network and caste. Ascribed status plays an important role because it can provide the members in a society with a defined and unified identity. No matter where an individual's ascribed status may place her in the social hierarchy, most has a set of roles and expectations that are directly linked to each ascribed status, providing a social personality. A person born into a wealthy family has a high ascribed status based solely on the social networks and economic advantages that come with it. Ascribed Status is contrasted with Achieved Status.

Inherited position is known as ascribed status and is predetermined for an individual at birth. In contrast to ascribed status, achieved status is a social position a person takes on voluntarily that reflects both personal ability and merit. Ascribed status is indicative of the behavior that one can exhibit but it does not explain the action itself. Ascribed status is thus an arbitrary system of classifying individuals that is not fixed in a standard or uniform way.

In Status: Why Is It Everywhere? Why Does It Matter?: Why Is It Everywhere? Why Does It Matter? Cecilia L. Ridgeway demonstrates how the conferral of status inevitably contributes to differing life outcomes for individuals, with impacts on pay, wealth creation, and health and wellbeing. Ridgeway notes that status advantages based on race, gender, and class, such as the belief that white men are more competent than others, are the most likely to increase inequality by facilitating greater social and economic opportunities.

Social status is the social prestige attached to one’s position in society. It is the position that one holds in a group. Social status is a position in a social structure regulated by norms and usually ranked according to power and prestige. Staus is ascribed to an individual through inheritance or as a result of such characteristics as sex, ethnicity or physical features. Status differs from social class in that it is a measure of a person's social standing or social honour in a community.

Individuals who share the same social class may have very divergent social status. Sociologists use both the concepts of class and social status to describe the systems of social stratification. The Master Status, whether ascribed status or achieved status, overshadows all other social positions of the status.

The Interplay between Achieved and Ascribed Status
Matteo Prato, Emmanuel Kypraios, Gokhan Ertug and Yonghoon G. Lee.
Abstract: The dominant hypothesis, known as “middle-status conformity,” posits that middle-status actors are more likely to conform to conventional practices than high- and low-status actors do. We challenge this hypothesis by revisiting its fundamental assumptions and developing a theory according to which actors’ propensity to conform based on their achieved status further depends on the ascribed status that they inherit from their social group. Specifically, we propose that middle-status conformity applies only to actors who have a sense of security, based on their high ascribed status. Regarding actors with low ascribed status, we propose that high- and low-status actors show greater conformity than middle-status actors.


Abstract: Ascribed status is a socially prescribed status assigned to the individual by birth. With rapid urbanization and increase in population, resource inequality between the rural and the urban sectors has majorly increased leading to migration.

The role of ascribed status in achieving resources and thus changing the achieved status still prevails in our societies. The objective of the study is to explore the depth of the role played by ascribed status in achieving resources in an urban setup.