Status quo

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"Status Quo" redirects here. For the band, see Status Quo (band). For other uses, see Status Quo (disambiguation).

Status quo is a Latin phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regards to social or political issues.[1] In the sociological sense, it generally applies to maintain or change existing social structure and values.[2]

It is the nominal form of the prepositional Latin phrase "in statu quo" – literally "in the state in which", which itself is a shortening of the original phrase in statu quo res erant ante bellum, meaning "in the state in which things were before the war". To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are. The related phrase status quo ante, literally "the state in which before",[3] means "the state of affairs that existed previously".[3]

Political usage[edit]

The original phrase from 14th-century diplomatic Latin was in statu quo res erant ante bellum, meaning "in the state in which things were before the war". This gave rise to the shorter form status quo ante bellum "the state in which (it was) before war" (indicating the withdrawal of enemy troops and restoration of power to pre-war leadership), as well as other variations such as status quo itself.[citation needed][clarification needed]

The social movement is an example of the status quo being challenged. The phrase frequently refers to the status of a large issue, such as the current culture or social climate of an entire society or nation.[4] When people are seen as supporting the status quo, it is generally seen in a negative way, and they are often portrayed as being resistant to societal progress.[5]

Politicians sometimes refer to a status quo. Often there is a policy of deliberate ambiguity, referring to the status quo rather than formalizing the status. Clark Kerr is reported to have said: "The status quo is the only solution that cannot be vetoed",[attribution needed] meaning that the status quo cannot simply be decided against; action must be taken if it is to change.[citation needed]

Status quo can also refer to a situation that people find mutually undesirable but the outcome of any changes to it may be overly risky; at the same time they recognize that eventual change will occur, and openness to the potential that a better alternative solution may emerge over time. For example, Taiwan's political status straddles the line of a sovereign state in its own right and a non-sovereign area of China.[neutrality is disputed] Neither a full declaration of independence nor a forceful incorporation of the island into China is considered ideal by both parties at the current stage. Thus 'pro status-quo' in this case generally means 'wait-and-see'.[citation needed]

Karl Marx viewed organized religion as a means for the bourgeoisie to keep the proletariat content with an unequal status quo,[6] and education is seen by others as a means of maintaining the status quo of society.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Status Quo" - Google Definitions
  2. ^ Dr. C. Michael Botterweck. "Glossary for Sociology 100". Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Status Quo Definition". Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Clark, Pamela (2000). "The Social Climate". The Optimal Environment: Part Four. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  5. ^ "Status Quo - Dictionary Definition". Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Boundless. "Religion and Social Control." Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 27 Jun. 2014. Retrieved 08 Feb. 2015 [1]
  7. ^ "Sociology of Education". Retrieved 8 February 2015.