Ascribed Status

Ascribed status refers to a person's social position by birth or directly due to their family history, and personal accomplishments cannot easily change that.
Ascribed Status Sociology Definition

Definition

Ascribed status refers to a person’s social position by birth or directly due to their family history, and personal accomplishments cannot easily change that.

Explanation

A place in society determined by a fixed attribute bestowed at birth, such as gender or class of origin, is known as an “ascribed status.”

In sociology, “ascribed status” refers to a person’s social standing, which is given to them at birth or unintentionally adopted later in life. 

The status is a position the individual neither chooses for themselves nor earns. Instead, the assigned status is determined by cultural and societal norms and standards. Efforts or desires have little effect since these jobs are filled.

Ralph Linton’s notions of “ascribed status” and “achieved status” identified characteristics of social systems that have provided sociologists with critical new understandings of the analysis of social structure. Linton described “achieved status” as “requiring particular attributes” and “open to individual attainment,” while “ascribed status” was “given to people without regard to their intrinsic distinctions or capacities.” Thus, an individual’s “ascribed statuses” are determined by the accident of birth, but his “achieved statuses” are determined by performance, effort, or willpower.

Age, kinship,  race, social group, sex, appearance, gender, ability status, ethnicity, socioeconomic position, culture, or caste are some variables assigned or ascribed to individuals in society.

A person cannot change their ascribed status. People have it naturally or without any choice in the matter; it is not something they can acquire.

Example

A caste is a social stratification in South Asia and India to categorize individuals according to the religious and ritualistic social principles of purity and pollution. Following the caste system eventually gives those in the highest caste authority over the rest of society and prevents crossing social divides.

The Dalit community in India has been facing discrimination from upper caste Hindus for centuries in India.

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