How do status beliefs develop? the role of resources and interactional experience

Cecilia L. Ridgeway, Kathy J. Kuipers, Elizabeth Heger Boyle, Dawn T. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

229 Scopus citations

Abstract

Status construction theory argues that interaction between people with unequal structural advantages is crucial in the development and spread of status value beliefs about people 's distinguishing attributes. A central claim is that goal-oriented encounters between those who differ in material resources as well as in an easily observed nominal attribute create status beliefs about that attribute which favor the "richer" actors'attribute category. We conduct an experimental test using dyadic, same-sex encounters between participants who differ in pay level and a "mere difference" attribute; the claim is supported for males and females. Status beliefs are distinguished from own-group favoritism by their acceptance by those they disadvantage. A second experiment and other evidence suggest that the interactional hierarchy associated with pay and the distinguishing attribute in such doubly dissimilar encounters pressures low-pay subjects to accept beliefs that disadvantage them. This acceptance is key to the power of interaction to transform structural advantages into status beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-350
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Sociological Review
Volume63
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

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