L.2.5.Status - Gr oups t end t o divide int o r elat ive h...

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Groups tend to divide into relative hierarchies based on status Status = an individual’s relative standing in a group’s hierarchy based on prestige, honor, and respect Your position in a status hierarchy reflects how good people think you are These hierarchies are the product of all status-relevant information available “Status characteristics” Characteristics of individuals that are status-relevant Information about these characteristics is combined to create a general sense of each person’s position in the group’s status hierarchy
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Bases of status differentiation (“status characteristics”) include…. Bases of discrimination in the larger society Race Gender Sexual Orientation Wealth Power Attractiveness
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But also, more merit-based factors that more directly reflect levels of competence or virtue Education Specific skills Intelligence Generosity, honesty Thus, status hierarchies are based on both fair and unfair criteria And status hierarchies have both good and bad effects They lead to patterns of discrimination But also streamline interaction and help groups coordinate action
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What does status do? Higher Status standing leads to…. Greater respect from others Greater influence More opportunities to speak Ideas/thoughts more positively evaluated Higher perceived competence Higher perceived honesty and integrity Better pay More lenient standards of evaluation Making it hard to lose status
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Status hierarchies are relative You are “ranked” relative to others around you or in your group The exact same person could be low status in one setting (popular kids, wealthy people) but high in another (with nerdy kids, poor people) Likewise, you could have apparently high status characteristics (wealthy, white male) but be low status in a certain group In one day one person could occupy many status levels Think of an example from your life Steerage , Alfred Stieglitz
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Different cultures and historical periods develop different criteria for status stratification The Geneaology of Morals (1887) Romans vs. Christians Roman idea of morality and what is deserving of respect based on might, power, competence, excellence Virtue = virtuoso Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Yo-Yo Ma Christian conception based on generosity, honesty, self-sacrifice Virtue = Principled, ethical, chaste Priests, nuns, relief workers, social Friedrich Nietzsche     (1844- 1900)
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Research shows that even those unfairly disadvantaged by status beliefs tend to hold them Goldberg 1968 Both men and women rated a text authored by a woman lower than if the same text was authored by a man Kenneth and Mamie Clark doll experiments Black children viewed white dolls as prettier, preferred playing with them, and colored themselves as lighter than they really were Research cited in Brown vs. the Board of Education (1954)
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