Status Currency

The following pages explore status as an analytical lens for history, literature, and real life. Understanding the varying currency of status in different communities is often a crucial step to breaking down underlying motivations and conflicts. Students tend to be overly, even painfully, familiar with status hierarchies, and their personal experience provides a rich analogous context to help them dissect these larger worlds.

Summary Points:

1. Charting the levels of a status hierarchy and the salient variables involved (status currency) allows students to break down a complex system and understand the factors driving social mobility, both upward and downward.

2. Once students understand status currency, they can dissect the values of any community (either historical, literary, or contemporary) and make stronger causal and predictive inferences.

3. Imagining an ideal status hierarchies and ideal status currencies helps students see the injustice of various models, especially those that use uncontrollable factors like race or sexual orientation as salient variables.

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