Emergence of Collectives as Status Groups
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In this chapter the concept of status groups is introduced. The claim that collectives operate as status groups is central to the intrinsic structuralist model. Status groups are understood here as communities of a common language and concepts, which develop a distinctive ‘culture’ based on the adoption of shared collective properties. Their members share and recognize particular markers of honor and prestige which become status group markers. Status group markers delineate and constitute group boundaries: possession or not of the group’s status markers distinguishes the insiders from the outsiders and thus members from non-members. The basic assumption is that status markers operate as collective goods and they are always situated and contextual. This means that exclusion from a group results in the loss of certain forms of social identity, and of access to the given reality adopted by such groups. According to the intrinsic structuralist position, status markers are contingent and fluid—they must be continuously maintained by the interacting collective. Identifying the process by which such status markers emerge is key to understanding individual practice, group dynamics, and social life at large.