Chapter VII: Functions of Prestige
Why do people show prestige to others? Because it may bring returns.
An answer to a survey interview question, March, 1998.
The hierarchy of prestige, which mirrors the prevalent value system, is a pillar of social hierarchies: it supports their organic wholeness, buttresses the order and stabilises the system of power. These are the central functions of prestige on the macro-system scale.
There is also a micro-system scale. Prestige meets several important individual needs as the interviews with the intelligentsia, workers and farmers attest. Let us synthesise their opinions to sum up our inquiry into how prestige affects and shapes social relationships.
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