Status and Culture

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Solving the long-standing mysteries of culture--from the origin of our tastes and identities, to the perpetual cycles of fashions and fads--through a careful exploration of the fundamental human desire for status.

All humans share a need to secure their social standing, and this universal motivation structures our behavior, forms our tastes, determines how we live, and ultimately shapes who we are. We can use status, then, to explain why some things become "cool," how stylistic innovations arise, and why there are constant changes in clothing, music, food, sports, slang, travel, hairstyles, and even dog breeds.

Status and Culture demonstrates exactly how individual status seeking creates our cultural ecosystem. Here W. David Marx examines three fundamental questions: Why do individuals cluster around arbitrary behaviors? How do distinct styles, conventions, and sensibilities emerge? Why do we change behaviors over time and why do some behaviors stick around? The answers he will come up with will offer a new understanding for the seeming "weightlessness" of internet culture.

Status and Culture is a book that will appeal to entrepreneus, designers, students, creators, and anyone who has ever wondered why things become popular, why their own preferences change over time, and how identity plays out in contemporary society. Readers of this book will walk away with deep and lasting knowledge of the often secret rules of how culture really works.

368 pages. Hardcover.

About the Author
W. David Marx is a longtime writer on culture based in Tokyo and the author of Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Lapham's Quarterly, Popeye, The New Republic, and Vox.