Status group

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The German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) formulated a three-component theory of stratification that defines a status group[1] (also status class and status estate)[2] as a group of people who, within a society, can be differentiated on the basis of non-economic qualities such as honour, prestige, ethnicity, race and religion.[3] (Weber used the German terms Stand (status group) and Stände (status groups).)

Since Weber's day, sociologists have intensively studied the matter of “status incongruence” - both in post-industrial societies, and in other countries.[4]

Weber said that status groups emerge from "the house of honor", and that such status-honor stands in contrast with:

Status groups, social classes, and political parties are the constituent concepts of the three-component theory of stratification. Discussion of the relationships among status groups, social class, and political parties occurs in Weber's essay "Class, Status, Party", written before the First World War (1914–18); the first translation into English, by Hans Gerth and C. Wright Mills, was published in the 1940s. Dagmar Waters and colleagues produced a newer English translation of the essay, titled “The Distribution of Power within the Community: Classes, Stände, Parties” (2010), published in the “Journal of Classical Sociology”; the title of the new English-language translation includes the German word “Stände” (status groups) in place of the English term.[5][6]

According to Weber, status groups feature in a wide variety of social stratifications which both popular discourse and the academic literature commonly refer to. These include categorization by race, ethnicity, caste, professional groups, neighborhood groups, nationalities, and so forth.[7] These contrast with relationships rooted in economic relations, which Weber calls "class".

Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) discusses issues of cultural capital and symbolic capital. Like Weber, he comments on how non-monetary means are used[by whom?] to confer and deny status to individuals and groups. However, Bourdieu developed independently from Weber,[citation needed] even though they[who?] probably[original research?] do reflect the type of "capital" that status groups confer on those who are privileged.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reinhart Bendix. 1960. Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait. p. 105. London: Heinemann.
  2. ^ Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich (eds). 1978. Economy and society: an outline of interpretive sociology, Volume 1. p. 300. University of California Press.
  3. ^ Terry N. Clark, Seymour Martin Lipset (2001-05-22), The Breakdown of Class Politics, ISBN 9780801865763
  4. ^ From Social Class and Religious Identity to Status Incongruence in Post-Industrial Societies, by Mattei Dogan in Comparative Sociology (2004)
  5. ^ "The Distribution of Power within the Community: Classes, Staende, Parties", Journal of Classical Sociology, 2010:137-152,
  6. ^ The New Zeppelin University of "Class, Status, Party" by Tony Waters and Dagmar Waters, Journal of Classical Sociology 2010:142-148
  7. ^ Waters, Tony and Dagmar Waters (2016). Are the Terms 'Socioeconomic Status' and 'Class Status' Oxymorons for Max Weber? Palgrave Communications