Definition of status
It would be useful to consider the definition of status in understanding the concept. Some definitions are as follows:
“A Person‘s status is his group standing in the relation to other.” This is the simplest definition of the term status. In Hindu society, the status of Brahmins is at a higher level than of the Shudras. The status will be ranking in relation to other position.
“We define status as a position in social aggregate recognized with a pattern of esteem symbols and actions.” This definition indicates that social status is to be recognised by a pattern of prestige symbols and actions. For example, Within the same collage the status of the principle and the teachers are different. Now consider the pattern of actions. The principle keeps eye on the work of each of the teachers, maintaining order among them and directs them from time to time. The prestige symbol related to the principle’s status. This pattern differ from the pattern of prestige symbols and action related to teachers. Difference in the status of both is evident from this difference in these respective pattern.
“Status is the social position that determines for its owner, apart from his personal attribute or social service, degree of respect, reputation and influence.” According to it, some proportion of an individual’s respect, prestige and influence is determined by his social status.
Determinates of Status
There are two positions. Some positions are due to ‘Office’ or title such as the post of the college principle. In the case of such post, the social status is determined by the office occupied or held, just as the person occupies the chair of the principal is accorded the respect in accordance with his position. The rights of the principal do not change with change of the principal. Besides these, some position derived from family, Physical capacity knowledge or skill etc. of the individual. For example, some roles and respect are related to the post of country’s prime minister. In this way, Physical beauty, power, skills in music, scientific knowledge, cultural excellence etc. or other special qualities attainable by human beings raise the status of an individual. For example, The social status of film actresses is due to their physical charms. In the same way, status is lowered by defects in character. The daughter of the rich man married to into poorer family. But factors and causes which determine status Change according to time and place to which they belong. For example,
- In some private societies, the social status of an individual bears a direct and proportionate relation to the number of wives he has. The more wives one has the better is the status.
- In some tribes, the social status of women increases with every new divorce that she gets.
- According to some of the determinants of the social status of an individuals is his financial condition.
This theory is completely one-sided. In India the social status enjoyed by Gandhi, Dayanand, Sri Aurobindo, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Prem Chand and others was not due to their economic condition.