Status distinctions and boundaries

Authored by: Murray Milner

Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  July  2010
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415474450
eBook ISBN: 9780203891377
Adobe ISBN: 9781134026159

10.4324/9780203891377.ch28

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Abstract

The thesis of this essay is that both general theories and attention to cultural variations are needed to understand patterns of social behavior. Such patterned behavior in turn reproduces and changes the form and content of the culture. I will illustrate this thesis by focusing on the operation of status systems. After defining a few key terms and outlining a general theory of status relationships, I show how the processes and tendencies identified by the theory are accentuated or retarded by the content of the particular culture in which they operate. Proposing a general theory does not imply that culture is simply derived from or a reflection of structural relations.

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