Structure: Order and Predictability
For sociologists, the idea that human beings do not have instincts (we do not have genetic programming that tells us how to behave) means we have to develop a sense of how to behave towards each other. The fact we have to develop and learn role play is, in this respect, strong evidence against the existence of instincts.
In this respect, by playing roles we introduce two things into our life:
Order and predictability are important to us, since without them the social world would be a very dangerous and confusing place. For example, consider the idea that if we didn't play certain roles how impossible life would be. Imagine, for example, a situation in which you could not remember what your relationship to everyone around you was supposed to be. By playing roles, therefore, we organise our behaviour so that we can deal appropriately with other people.
In this respect, role play helps us to regulate our behaviour and that of others. The adoption of roles is a way of controlling people's behaviour, mainly because the norms associated with each role give us boundary markers against which to judge acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. When people play a certain role, therefore, their behaviour is being controlled because they are obeying the rules of that role.
One of the great advantages of role play, therefore, is that it helps us to accomplish certain tasks easily and effectively.
For example, the teaching and learning process is made easier if both teacher and student are behaving towards each other in ways that are considered appropriate for their roles.
One final idea we have to note is that, for all the advantages they give us in the organisation of our lives, the wide number and variety of roles that we play occasionally causes us problems and one major problem here is called role conflict.