Ambivalence is the condition of having opposing responses, thoughts, or sentiments about a specific item simultaneously. Ambivalence denotes the simultaneous existence of two opposing or contradictory emotions or attitudes in one individual. For Sigmund Freud, who noted the proximity of love and hatred, it is an incredibly crucial concept.
Ambivalence is often used to explain the hesitation and ambiguity brought on by the juxtaposition of opposing desires, values, and expectations. Intuitive psychological theories used in lay language relate to ambivalence interchangeably with individual reluctance, uncertainty, indecision, and agitation.
Sigmund Freud often referred to those with alternating feelings of love and hatred for the same thing or person. The dual consciousness theory in sociology proposes a subordinate class with ambiguous ideas or ideals, leading to ambivalence about some of the major institutions in society.
While it is a dual, subjective feeling, sociological research reveals that their sources are societal, making them predictable and intelligible. The term’s conflictual connotations are maintained in sociological use, but this explosive experience is seen as the product of conflicting social forces placed on actors.
Strategically demonstrating that structural-functional theory is not oblivious to tensions and inconsistencies in social structure is the idea of sociological ambivalence. Robert K. Merton explicitly presented the idea as a component of his role set and role relations theory. While societies have a practical necessity to allow most individuals to go about their social lives most of the time without experiencing considerable conflict in their role sets, he said that normative inconsistencies and divergent expectations are nevertheless ingrained in social structure. As a result, ambivalence is common in social interactions and is often routinized.
Incompatible normative expectations, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors attributed to a position or collection of statuses are referred to as sociological ambivalence, as Merton proposed. This role set method contends that such conflicting normative expectations combined into a single role of a single social status lead to sociological ambiguity. Since it often emerges from the societal definitions of roles and statuses, it is not a pathological condition. Therefore, Merton argued that social scientists should highlight social organizations’ hidden and apparent inconsistencies to explain contradictory actions and sentiments.
The sociological theory looks at how social structures create situations in which ambivalence is built into certain statuses and status sets and the social roles that go with them.
The central instance of sociological ambivalence places conflicting expectations on those with a particular position in a given social relationship. The foundation for examining sociological ambivalence is the idea that social roles are made up of arrangements of norms and counter-norms that have developed to provide people the flexibility of normatively acceptable conduct needed to cope with changing social relations.