Role terms are everywhere

We all hear, read, speak, use and think in role terms everyday, whether we are conscious of role theory or not. In a single recent issue in Time magazine, I counted 380 references to social roles. (OK, OK, I was a bit bored that day!) Most references were to valued roles, in domains such as work, family, leisure, sports, education and politics. Only a handful (under 20) were to socially devalued roles, such as migrant worker, pimp, detainee and slave. Some of these roles were repeated multiple times in one article.

This exercise can be the basis for good teaching opportunities. You might ask a class to go through a newspaper or magazine, looking for role references. If you are a supervisor in a human service program, you could do this with the staff you supervise, as a way of brainstorming about valued roles. And so on. Exercises like this can really help us to become more aware of the breadth and depth of roles in society.

Posted on February 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm by MTumeinski · Permalink
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