Role and Labeling Theory Applied to the Adopted Child
- The division of labour in society takes the form of the interaction among heterogeneous specialised positions, we call roles.
- Social roles included appropriate and permitted forms of behaviour, guided by social norms, which are commonly known and hence determine the expectations for appropriate behaviour in these roles.
- Roles are occupied by individuals, who are called actors.
- When individuals approve of a social role (i.e., they consider the role legitimate and constructive), they will incur costs to conform to role norms, and will also incur costs to punish those who violate role norms.
- Changed conditions can render a social role outdated or illegitimate, in which case social pressures are likely to lead to role change.
- The anticipation of rewards and punishments, as well as the satisfaction of behaving prosocially, account for why agents conform to role requirements.
- Societal influence: The structure of society often forms individuals into certain roles based on the social situations they choose to experience. Parents enrolling their children in certain programs at a young age increases the chance that the child will follow that role.
- Genetic predisposition: People take on roles that come naturally to them. Those with athletic ability generally take on roles of athletes. Those with mental genius often take on roles devoted to education and knowledge. This does not mean that people must choose only one path, each individual can reprise multiple roles (i.e. Evelyn can be the point guard on the basketball team and the editor of her school newspaper).
- Cultural influence: Different cultures place different values on certain roles based on their lifestyle. For instance, soccer players are regarded higher in European countries than in the United States, where soccer is less popular.
- Situational influence: Roles can be created or altered based on the situation a person is put in outside their own influence.
- Functional Role Theory, which examines role development as shared social norms for a given social position,
- Symbolic Interactionist Role Theory, which examines role development as the outcome of individual interpretation of responses to behaviour,
- Structural Role Theory, which emphasises the influence of society rather than the individual in roles and utilises mathematical models,
- Organizational Role Theory, which examines role development in organisations, and
- Cognitive Role Theory, which is summarised by Flynn and Lemay as "the relationship between expectations and behaviours"