Ascription

Ascription is a situation in which a person's standing is determined by the social traits they are born with. These traits might include a person's race or gender. They could also be the parents' social position.
Ascription Sociology Definition

Definition

Ascription is a situation in which a person’s standing is determined by the social traits they are born with. These traits might include a person’s race or gender. They could also be the parents’ social position.

Explanation

To ascribe is to bestow, blame, or attribute specific characteristics to an unjustified item, person, event, or conduct. Declaring that “all politicians are corrupt” without solid proof ascribes a trait to a group of individuals. With the discovery, there is an implicit contrast. The observer has assigned politicians a trait rather than learning more about them.

The current social science combination of ascription with accomplishment carries over this idea of something granted or unearned. High social status may be acquired or achieved. In medieval cultures, rank is often inherited; in contemporary ones, it is frequently attained via personal initiative and talent.

Talcott Parson cites ascription/achievement in his work on pattern variables. In contrast to judgments made based on more general criteria that apply to an actor’s actual performance, “social objects” such as actors are judged based on whether or not they belong to specific social categories. For instance, gender is ascribed in most societies, but success in sports or music involves achievement.

Assigning a trait or character to a person, place, or object is known as attribution or ascription. In accordance with liberal ideology, the merit and meritocracy principles presuppose equality of opportunity and career development based on merit rather than ascription. According to the open class ideology or notion, social standing is determined by performance rather than birth.

Multiple statuses may be categorized as being a combination of ascription and accomplishment. Sociologists can explain social stratification in part via attributing. When a social class or stratum placement is predominantly inherited, ascribing occurs. In sociology, ascribing is a means of acquiring status in addition to success or luck. In philosophy, ascription and believing ascription go hand in hand. In a way, identifying a cause or source of anything is also its aspect.

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