17. Who Are You? 102
c h a p t e r s e v e n t e e n Who Are You? An individual is the most basic ingredient of a society because all levels of families and groups are based upon the individual. Within the society, each individual has a certain position, rank, or status, which determines the individual’s responsibility and authority to execute his or her role. Thus, in order to maintain status, an indi- vidual must behave well within his or her rights. In India, there is a caste system. People earn a defined status in accordance with their parents. In England or Japan, there is a status that is privileged in birth. This is called an “ascribed” status while in most societies status is “achieved.” In order to achieve a higher status, people study and work hard to best fulfill their roles. Some- times a national in underdeveloped country will want to marry a missionary from a developed country in order to elevate his or her status. Since status and role are multi-faceted, sometimes they are confused, creating conflict between a person’s role and status. To make matters more confusing, there are often unique status and role demarcations, depending on the specific situations. For example, a married man’s function is to take care of his children; meanwhile, as a husband, he also plays a diﬀerent role with his wife. His position in his company is a low rank, but as an elder in the church, he is considered...
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