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The formation of status beliefs Improving status construction theory

Advances in Group Processes

ISBN: 978-0-76230-651-0, eISBN: 978-1-84950-049-4

Publication date: 31 July 2000


Widely shared status beliefs that characterize people in one social category as more esteemed and competent than people in another category play an important role in the organization of inequality. Status construction theory argues that the terms on which people interact across a social difference boundary can cause shared status beliefs to form and spread widely throughout a population. This chapter reviews the evidence for status construction theory and develops it further by offering an explicit theoretical account of the mechanism by which interactional contexts induce participants to form status beliefs even when those beliefs disadvantage the participant. I derive testable hypotheses from this account. I show as well how this account can be represented in the graph-theoretic terms of expectation states theory, allowing further testable predictions to be derived.


Ridgeway, C.L. (2000), "The formation of status beliefs Improving status construction theory", Advances in Group Processes (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 77-102.



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