Definition Definition

Status Set

Status Set (as popularized by the American sociologist, Robert K. Merton) is the set of social statuses held by an individual at a given time. Someone is a wife, mother, daughter, nurse, charge goer etc. at the same time and these would be her status set.

Race, sex, gender, religion, profession etc. can be factors that determine the statuses to be assigned to an individual these determine how that person is integrated into society.

Types of Status Sets

There are two major types of statuses and they are -

  • Ascribed (statuses assigned at birth)
  • Achieved (statuses achieved at different stages of life)


For example, if someone is a doctor by profession, he would have achieved statuses comprising of colleague, superior, patient, nurses and so on. These status sets fluctuate according to the surroundings yet some sets within a certain geographical location remain the same such as citizen, voter etc.


Use of the Term in Sentences

  • How people live their lives has a lot to do with what status sets are assigned to them and that is more appropriate for achieved status sets.
  • It seems rather hard to find someone who has this particular status set and wants to join the company at such short notice; I just hope we are not asking for too much.


Category: Sociology
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