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Status Symbols and Luxury Goods in International Relations

Status Symbols and Luxury Goods in International Relations

(p.33) Chapter Two Status Symbols and Luxury Goods in International Relations
The Price of Prestige
Lilach Gilady
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores five aspects of status symbols and luxury goods in international relations. It first develops a functionalist explanation for the utility of status symbols in international relations before discussing the evolution and diffusion of status symbols and their role as markers of class distinctions. Before demonstrating the relationship between status symbols and classification, the meaning, origins, and implications of class in international relations are analyzed. The chapter shows that, as a category of social hierarchy, class formation is tightly connected to the dynamics of prestige. It goes on to examine what makes for an effective status symbol in international relations, paying special attention to Erving Goffman's test of status mechanisms. Finally, it describes three structures of restrictions that can serve as effective tests of status: intrinsic restrictions, natural restrictions, and cultivation restrictions.

Keywords:   status symbols, luxury goods, international relations, class distinctions, social hierarchy, prestige, Erving Goffman, intrinsic restrictions, natural restrictions, cultivation restrictions

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