Ascribed vs. Achieved

by Emily White

Ascribed Status

An ascribed status is a social position that an individual receives when they’re born or receives later in their life involuntarily. This position is not chosen by the individual, it’s instead given and assigned to them. Such as being wealthy, for example, they have a high ascribed status from the start because of benefits that come with being born into a wealthy family that an individual born into a poor family wouldn’t recognize. There is a large controversy that people with lower ascribed statuses often have lower self esteem, whereas people with higher ascribed statuses have higher self esteem. Also, in society, people with higher ascribed statuses tend to be more dominant in society, pushing those who were given lower ascribed statuses to reign beneath them. Though ascribed statuses have no relevance to ability and talent, the achieved status is the exact opposite.


Achieved Status

An achieved status is one that is earned by the individual, instead of assigned to them at birth. The purpose of achievement is so that everything you’ve worked up for to achieve, was gained by that person’s efforts and they did it for themselves. Society, however, tends to decide which achievements are important, so while one might think they’ve achieved great things society might think differently. Society also values work, and doesn’t really care about how you did it, just about how much work you put into it to get that achieved status. Achieved statuses reflect on effort, ability, talent and skills, opposite of the ascribed status. For example, athletes, they’ve personally worked to achieve where they have gotten to today.

Works Cited


"Achieved vs Ascribed." (2002): n. pag. Web. 18 May 2016.


Foladare, Irving S.. “A Clarification of "ascribed Status" and "achieved Status"”. The Sociological Quarterly 10.1 (1969): 53–61. Web…