role theory on the ‘everyday sociology’ blog

I just read an entry on the ‘Everyday Sociology’ blog sponsored by Norton Publishing. The entry is about role theory, and touches on: expectations, social status and behaviors. I like the idea of trying to blog about this (and other) sociological concepts in a simple way that invites readers to think about a particular concept.

Role theory clearly has links with Social Role Valorization (SRV).

I assume the blog is intended for university/college students, given its link with Norton. It’s a blog entry, and so is fairly basic. One of the things which SRV could add to this basic description is the insight about image and competency enhancement as avenues toward acquiring and holding onto societally valued roles.

From the blog post: “According to role theory, most of us are hardcore, rabid conformists.” While I think I understand the point being made, I would not describe role theory that way. It makes it sound far too mechanistic, as opposed to a theory that can predict and describe.

The blog includes an example centered on the role of university student. If you have a moment, read this example and analyze it from an SRV perspective, particularly taking into account the reality of societal devaluation and heightened vulnerability, as well as the part that others (including family, friends, service workers, teachers, etc.) can play in helping someone to fill a societally valued role. If you were the professor, what are some of the SRV strategies that you might use, in the scenario described in the blog post, to help each student in that classroom to fill the role of ‘university student’? Remember that SRV teaches about role complementarity, such as the necessary link between roles of husband and wife, employee and employer, neighbor and neighbor, student and teacher. How can we take advantage of that natural dynamic in ways which are consistent with the culturally valued analog?