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Status Construction Theory

Status construction theory describes social processes that transform nominal differences among peoplesuch as ethnicity, sex, occupation, or religioninto status distinctions in a society or population. A social difference becomes a status distinction when people develop beliefs that those in one category of the social difference (e.g., Whites, men) are more socially respected and are presumed to be more competent at socially valued tasks than are those in another category of that difference (e.g., people of color, women). These status beliefs, when widely shared in the population, have consequences for inequality among both individuals and social groups. Thus, to explain how a social difference becomes a status distinction, status construction theory describes (a) how status beliefs can be created and spread in interpersonal encounters among socially ...

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