Status group

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The German sociologist Max Weber formulated a three-component theory of stratification that defines 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] The German terms are Stand (status group) and Stände (status groups).

Since the time of Max Weber, the matter of “status incongruence” has been much studied in post-industrial societies, and also in other countries.[4]

Weber said that status groups emerge from "the house of honor", and that such status-honor is 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 is in the essay "Class, Status, Party", written before the First World War (1914–18); the first translation to English, by Hans Gerth and C. Wright Mills, was published in the 1940s. A newer English translation of the essay, titled “The Distribution of Power within the Community: Classes, Stände, Parties” (2010), was by Dagmar Waters and colleagues, and 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 include a wide variety of social stratification which are commonly referred to in both popular discourse, and the academic literature. Among these are race, ethnicity, caste, professional groups, neighborhood groups, nationalities, and so forth.[7] These are in contrast to relationships rooted in economic relations, which Weber calls "class."

Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu discusses issues of cultural capital, and symbolic capital. As with Weber, he is commenting on how non-monetary means are used to confer and deny status to individuals and groups. However, Bourdieu developed independently from Weber, even though they probably do reflect the type of 'capital' that Status Group confers 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, The Breakdown of Class Politics 
  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