How do people in the United States demonstrate social status?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

People in the United States show their status in a number of ways, though not all Americans will show that status in exactly the same way.  In general, Americans show status through spending money.  They show status by buying expensive cars.  They show it through buying big houses.  They show it to some degree in the clothes they wear.  They show it by going on expensive vacations. 

To some extent, social status can be shown in other ways as well.  Elites may well choose to do things that the lower classes do not.  For example, they may go to the ballet or to the opera rather than watching TV. 

The main ways that status is shown, however, revolve around the spending of money.

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pholland14's profile pic

pholland14 | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Social status in America (and other market economies) is reflected in how we spend our money and free time.  People of high social status often have new luxury cars and large homes.  In order to continue this wealth, they send their children to prestigious private schools and to top-tier universities regardless of their academic aptitude.  They travel extensively and post many pictures to social media showing their possessions and experiences--it is not enough to be wealthy, but others must acknowledge the wealth as well.  

People of lower social status show off their values as well.  They endorse bargain stores and clothing and talk about them to create a kind of "coolness" factor.  Music and TV shows talk about the value of the common man to America and how his labor and down-to-earth values are what built this country.  People of lower social status also show their values by not trusting those of higher status; likewise, the upper class looks down on the lower classes.  

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