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Pervasive computing envisions distraction-free support for user tasks by means of cooperating devices that are invisibly integrated into the environment. Due to device mobility and continuous changes in context, pervasive systems need to be adaptive to realize this vision. To simplify their development, pervasive computing middleware ease the resulting configuration tasks. In the past, middleware developers have used independent abstractions to support different task. In this paper, we argue that support for the configuration should be built on top of one generic abstraction. For this, we introduce the abstraction of a role and we outline how role assignment can be used to support configuration. Finally, we also show that our approach has additional benefits such as improved reuse of configuration logic and increased flexibility to support novel configuration tasks.