Characteristics, Elements and Forms of Social Structure

Characteristics, Elements and Forms of Social Structure – In living life in society, every human being must have their own roles and status. Differences in roles and status in humans indicate that there is a social structure in them.

In society, these statuses and roles are very important because they can form a system that can create harmony and order. If humans can carry out their respective roles and statuses, it will create harmony and order in society.

For some people, they really want to create a good social structure, but they don’t know about the basics of social structure. Therefore, people’s understanding of social structure needs to be improved. One way is to know what social structure is, the characteristics of social structure, elements of social structure, forms of social structure, and examples of social structure itself.

A. Definition of Social Structure

Meanwhile, in the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI) “social structure” has the meaning of the concept of the formulation of the principle of inter-individual relations in community life which is a guide for individual behavior.

Basically, the social structure is very diverse. This is because society is a heterogeneous group of people. Thus, every human group, lives guided by certain values ​​and norms and upholds the members of the group.

1. Social Status

In the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI) is a person’s position in society that is related to and determined by other people. In simple terms, social status can be interpreted as a person’s position in a community group. The level of social status possessed by a person is influenced by the position of that person, such as the social status of students and teachers, the social status of the head of the RT and head of the RW.

Not infrequently there are some who have more than one social status. In sociology, social status can be categorized into three categories. The following are three categories of social status.

a. Natural social status ( ascribed status )

Natural social status is a social status that is owned by a person from birth regardless of one’s talent or character and to get this social status does not require effort. Examples of this social status are gender, lineage, gender, nobility status, and others.

b. Achieved social status

The social status achieved is the social status that is obtained by doing business or working hard to get it. Examples of this social status are being a Civil Servant (PNS), being a doctor, TNI, and many more.

c. Given social status ( assigned status )

The social status given is the social status that is pinned or given to someone thanks to the services or achievements that have been made. Examples of this social status are awarding honoris causa titles , awarding honorary titles to Indonesian freedom fighters, awarding medals to winning athletes, and many more.

2. Social Role

Social roles are the obligations that everyone has for their social status. In other words, someone who has obtained social status must carry out their respective social roles. For example, a doctor has a different social role than a teacher.

Basically, status and social roles cannot be separated from one another. That is because a person will not have a social role if he does not have a social status.

See also  difference between convection bake and bake

Broadly speaking there are three issues related to social roles. Here are some problems of social roles.

a. Social roles are governed by norms

The problem of this social role is a problem that arises when an individual carries out his social role, at the same time he must obey the norms or rules in that social status. An example of this problem is someone who serves as a teacher, he must maintain behavior that is in accordance with applicable norms and regulations.

b. The social role that must be carried out because of the demands of society

The problem of this social role is a problem that occurs when someone who has social status must carry out his role in accordance with the expectations of society. An example of this problem is a student who has entered school must get good grades to be considered a smart student.

c. Social roles are an important part of the social structure

The social role is an important part of the social structure because with a social role, a person will undergo a social structure well. An example of this problem is someone who has a position as a teacher will carry out his role or duties in educating his students.

B. Characteristics of Social Structure

In general, every society is divided into three groups, namely simple society, middle society, and modern society. Therefore, the characteristics of the social structure in each community group are also different. The following are the characteristics of social structure in each community group.

1. The characteristics of the social structure of a simple society

  • Having a social group based on hereditary traditions
  • Having social group ties based on local customs or traditions
  • Having belief in things beyond reason or supernatural powers
  • Still maintaining the values ​​of kinship and gotong royong
  • Has an unwritten law that still applies

Broadly speaking, this simple community group is a group that still adheres to the values ​​and norms instilled or taught since childhood. Usually simple people live in a place that is rarely visited by other people who are not their group.

2. The characteristics of the social structure of middle society

  • Began to accept a new culture that comes from outside the group
  • Began to accept the social changes that occur
  • Having a family relationship that is not as tight as a simple society
  • Written law begins to coexist with unwritten law

After knowing the characteristics of middle society groups, it can be said that social roles and status in these community groups are still influenced by the values ​​of rationality. Usually these people live somewhere on the outskirts of the city.

3. The characteristics of the social structure of modern society

  • Have the nature of openness to culture and new things
  • Every social relationship will always be influenced by the knowledge and technology possessed by a person
  • Someone who has expertise and knowledge will be more appreciated.
  • Belief in supernatural things has begun to be abandoned

In general, modern society groups more often see someone and something with science and technology. The values ​​of rationality in modern society are highly respected. Usually these modern people live in the middle of the city and every day is always filled with busyness.

After knowing the characteristics of social structure based on community groups, then the characteristics of social structure in general. According to Elly M. Setiadi, there are four general characteristics of social structure.

  • Social structure is a system that regulates various forms of relationships that occur between individuals in society. Thus, the social structure is part of the regulation of behavior and patterns of public relations
  • Social structure has an abstract nature. This means that the social structure cannot be seen clearly, only members of the group are able to see the social structure.
  • The social structure will always develop and change along with the times
  • Social structure is divided into vertical and horizontal dimensions. The vertical dimension is the level of social status of the community. While the horizontal dimension, the whole society is divided into social groups that have the same values.

C. Elements of Social Structure

1. Social groups

The element of a social group has a meaning, namely a unit which consists of several people. Each social group has a behavior that they have agreed with the aim of maintaining the unity of its members. If the role of each individual is carried out well then social groups can be maintained properly too.

2. Social institutions

The element of social institutions has a meaning, namely a set of norms and rules to maintain the rules of conduct or patterns of community behavior. With social institutions, people will not be careless in doing things.

See also  difference between china and india time

3. Rules or social norms

Elements of social rules or norms have a meaning, namely a guideline or guide used by the community in carrying out social interactions in their environment.

4. Social stratification

The element of social stratification has a meaning, namely the grouping of people based on stratified social classes. This social stratification system is closely related to the formation of class and social status in society.

The definition of social status is the position or rank of a person in a community group which is closely related to certain rights and obligations.

5. Culture 

The cultural element means all the knowledge possessed by humans as social beings that are used to study and understand their environment and experiences.

While social class has a meaning ( social class ) has the meaning of grouping people based on certain levels or criteria, such as politics, economics, heredity, and education.

D. Forms of Social Structure

1. The form of social structure based on its nature

Based on its nature, the form of social structure is divided into three, namely rigid social structure, flexible social structure, formal social structure, and informal social structure.

a. Rigid social structure

Rigid social structure is a form of social structure that cannot be changed or people experience difficulties when they want to transfer status or position.

b. Flexible social structure

Flexible social structure is a form of social structure whose patterns and arrangements are more dynamic. In general, this social structure is owned by an open society.

c. formal social structure

The formal social structure is a social structure that is official and recognized by the authorities based on applicable law.

d. Informal social structure

Formal social structure is a social structure that has a function in society, but there is no legal provision.

2. Forms of social structure based on communication patterns

Based on the pattern of communication, the form of social structure is divided into two, namely open social structure and closed social structure.

a. Open social structure

An open social structure is a social structure characterized by smooth communication at all social levels. Smooth communication occurs because each individual is aware of the equal rights and obligations in embracing that position.

b. Closed social structure

A closed social structure is a social structure characterized by a lack of smooth communication at the social level. This lack of communication is caused by every status and social role of a person tends to be static or fixed.

3. The form of social structure based on the identity of community membership

The form of social structure based on the identity of community membership is divided into two, namely homogeneous social structure and heterogeneous social structure.

a. Homogeneous social structure 

Homogeneous social structure is a social structure in which members of the social group have the same background. For example, similarities in religion, race, ethnicity, and nation.

b. Heterogeneous social structure

Heterogeneous social structure is a social structure in which group members have diverse backgrounds. For example, there are differences in ethnicity, race, religion, and nation.

4. Forms of social structure based on social inequality

Based on social inequality, the form of social structure is divided into two, namely social differentiation and social stratification.

a. Social differentiation

Social differentiation is individual or group differences within a community group that does not show a level. Forms of social differentiation, such as gender differences, ethnic differences, religious differences, and racial differences.

b. Social stratification

Social stratification is a level that exists in a community group. Forms of social stratification are usually judged by the size of wealth, honor, knowledge, and wealth.

E. Social Structure Functions

1. Identity function

The social structure functions as an affirmation of identity in a community group. Each region has a diverse culture so that a social structure is needed so that the identity of a group becomes clear.

2. Control function

The social structure functions as a control system for a group of people so that they behave according to the norms and rules that apply in society.

3. Community learning function

Social structure can serve as a basis for instilling social discipline in groups or communities. With this learning function, each member of the community group is expected to act and behave according to the norms and rules that apply.

F. Example of Social Structure

Basically, there are many examples of social structures. Here are some examples of social structures.

  1. Giving honorary titles to the heroes who contributed to liberating Indonesia
  2. The application of the caste system that occurs in Balinese society
  3. Owners of business capital have a higher position than workers
  4. A person is appointed as village head for his services in developing and improving village governance
  5. Placing the 1945 Constitution as the highest legal basis in Indonesia

G. Conclusion

Basically, the social structure is very diverse. This is because society is a heterogeneous group of people. Thus, every human group, lives guided by certain values ​​and norms and upholds the members of the group.

The existence of a social structure in society will be able to create or produce relationships for each individual and each group to become more orderly and organized. It is important for humans to carry out the social structure properly because if the social structure is not running well then harmony and order in society will not be created.

Also read the article “Social Structure” :

  • Definition of Social Change
  • Definition of Social Institutions
  • Definition of Social Structure
  • List of Ethnic Nations in Indonesia
  • Definition of Social Differentiation