We Build Civilizations on Status. But We Barely Understand It

We Build Civilizations on Status. But We Barely Understand It, Ezra Klein Show with Cecilia Ridgeway.

You can listen to the podcast on your favorite platform. The transcript is here (behind paywall).

From the Intro:

Cecilia Ridgeway is a sociologist and professor emerita at Stanford University. She spent her entire career studying what she calls the deep story of status, what it is, why it matters, how it works and all the ways it shapes our world. And Ridgeway’s basic argument is that the way we typically think about status is all wrong. Status isn’t just some social vanity limited to elite institutions or the top percentages of the income ladder. It’s a cultural system that is absolutely fundamental to how our society operates, one that permeates literally every aspect of our lives, from the office, to the classroom, to the dinner table. At the heart of Ridgeway’s theory and of this conversation is what she calls the double-edged sword of status…

My comment:

While listening to this valuable podcast, it struck me that they did not address the need to respect everyone’s essential equality, as does Beatrice Bruteau when she affirms “a worldview that features the incomparable value of each person, [which leads to] mutual respect and care.” Recognizing everyone’s “incomparable value” seems to be a critical starting point. At the conclusion, however, the podcast does touch on this issue with these remarks:

Secondly, respect others. Respect others. Understand that they’re all in this game too. And treat them with respect. If you want to be treated with respect, treat others with respect. It works. It works. So that can help. Because a lot of when you get really obsessed with status, it’s because nobody treats you with it. You don’t get no respect. But if you respect others, they tend to respect you back. They do. And then that gets you through.

But even here they don’t clearly affirm everyone’s infinite value.

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