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Henryk Domański

Prestige examines whether social prestige is still an important axis of the stratification hierarchy. It appears that prestige has lost some of the close connection with social position it had in estates societies. Prestige distribution patterns have changed and individualized gradations emerged, while agreement in the occupational prestige in Poland is lower than in the West and still declining. However, low consensus in occupational prestige rankings does not entail a disintegration of respect norms as such: personal prestige is still a relevant factor in designing life strategies and people do care about respect. This volume presents empirical evidence that all social classes recognize the motivational, integrative and satisfying functions of prestige.
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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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