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Status symbol

From Academic Kids

A status symbol is something that is perceived to indicate a high social status in its owner.

Status symbols change rapidly along with technological and economic developments in a society and are often a good indicator of such changes. For example, before the invention of the printing press, owning a large number of books would be considered a status symbol. After books began to become more widespread, owning books was somewhat less of a status symbol. The histories of pearls or jade present many illuminating examples. Heraldry offers many badges of status.

Status symbols can also indicate the cultural values of a society. In a materialistic or commercial society, wealth and symbols of said wealth are often status symbols. In a society valuing bravery or honor, a battle scar would be more of a status symbol.

In modern-day Western society, some possessions that could be labeled as status symbols include a large, expensive house, expensive car, or fine clothes. Even one's skin color has been seen as marking ones status, being that some symbols are achieved while some others are ascribed to.

The expression "status symbol" was first recorded in 1955 [1] (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?l=s&p=40) but gained wide currency through the 1959 best-seller The Status Seekers in which the journalist Vance Packard described American social stratification and behavior in popularized sociological terms.

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