What determines your master status?

What determines your master status?

Understanding master status.

While some statuses are earned and others are the result of circumstances, some statuses are formed as a self-perception or label that is a primary identifier. This is known as the master status and it is considered the “architecture of an individual’s identity” (Macionis, 2011). The label of American one assigns to herself would be considered a master status. Our master status is the core status that we occupy and can also be defined by our sexual orientation, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, education and race.

Our master status determines our identity and affects roles with friends, family, job position. This master status overshadows all other identifying statuses. These statuses seldom change and are how people identify themselves. Our master status may change however, if an event occurs that drastically changes one’s role and purpose that becomes the most important identifier. For example, a person may go through a portion of their life using entrepreneur as a master status and then become a parent. Parenthood may supersede their original master status and become the new one. These master statuses affect the way people interact with the world and with other people who have the same master status.


Macionis, J. (2011) Society: The Basics, Eleventh Edition, by. Published by Prentice Hall. by Pearson Education, Inc.


Triola Vincent. Sun, Jan 17, 2021. What determines your master status? Retrieved from

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