Understanding Status as a Social Resource

Part of the Critical Issues in Social Justice book series (CISJ)


Status has been the focus of a large number of studies in sociology and social psychology. However, less attention has been devoted to systematic conceptual analyses of status. In this chapter, Kevin Binning and Yuen Huo apply social resource theory to gain insight into the meaning and uses of social status in everyday social experience. The authors present a taxonomy in which status is theorized to vary along the particularism and concreteness dimensions. Thus, status can be highly symbolic (e.g., politeness) or relatively concrete (e.g., military or societal ranking or position). It can also be held and distributed in universalistic fashion, without regard to personal or idiosyncratic features, or in a highly particular, targeted, and specific fashion. Combining the two dimensions, four distinct types of status are developed to understand status in a variety of manifestations: status as a symbolic recognition of human dignity, status as respect and social deference, status as a concrete ranking system in a group or organization, and status as a broad, societal hierarchy. This chapter illustrates the possibility of distinguishing resource subtypes along the same two dimensions that are used to distinguish among Foa’s six “major” resource classes.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUCLALos AngelesUSA

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