The Status Sphere

  • Hans H. Gerth
  • C. Wright Mills
Part of the Main Trends of the Modern World book series (MTMW)


Prestige involves at least two persons: one to claim it and another to honor the claim. The bases upon which various people raise prestige claims, and the reasons others honor these claims, include property and descent, occupation and education, income and power—in fact, almost anything that may invidiously distinguish one person from another. In the status system of a society these claims are organized as rules and expectations governing those who successfully claim prestige, from whom, in what ways, and upon what basis. The level of self-esteem enjoyed by given individuals is more or less set by this status system.


High Birth Wage Worker Status Sphere High Prestige Status Claim 
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  1. 1.
    See Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class (New York: Viking, 1924).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    On professional charlatans, see Grete de Francesco, The Power of the Charlatan (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1939).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    See Hans H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, The Psychology of Social Institutions (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1953), ch. xiv. The Sociology of Leadership. Cf. C. E. Merriam, Political Power (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1950), Chapter iv.Google Scholar

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© Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1953

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans H. Gerth
  • C. Wright Mills

There are no affiliations available

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