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  • Cited by 8
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Røren, Pål and Beaumont, Paul 2018. Grading greatness: evaluating the status performance of the BRICS. Third World Quarterly, p. 1.

    Pedersen, Rasmus Brun 2018. Bandwagon for Status: Changing Patterns in the Nordic States Status-seeking Strategies?. International Peacekeeping, Vol. 25, Issue. 2, p. 217.

    Krickovic, Andrej and Weber, Yuval 2018. What Can Russia Teach Us about Change? Status-Seeking as a Catalyst for Transformation in International Politics. International Studies Review, Vol. 20, Issue. 2, p. 292.

    Duque, Marina G 2018. Recognizing International Status: A Relational Approach. International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 62, Issue. 3, p. 577.

    Zala, Benjamin 2017. Polarity Analysis and Collective Perceptions of Power: The Need for a New Approach. Journal of Global Security Studies, Vol. 2, Issue. 1, p. 2.

    Ward, Steven Michael 2017. Lost in Translation: Social Identity Theory and the Study of Status in World Politics. International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 61, Issue. 4, p. 821.

    Kwan, Alan Shiu Cheung 2016. Hierarchy, status and international society: China and the steppe nomads. European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 22, Issue. 2, p. 362.

    Petrova, Margarita H. 2016. Rhetorical Entrapment and Normative Enticement: How the United Kingdom Turned From Spoiler Into Champion of the Cluster Munition Ban. International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 60, Issue. 3, p. 387.

  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: June 2014

4 - Status Is Cultural: Durkheimian Poles and Weberian Russians Seek Great-Power Status


Like its etymological twin − the state, status emerges within a specific cultural context or, to better capture the importance of relations between polities, a civilizational context. According to Durkheim and Mauss, “[a] civilization constitutes a kind of moral milieu encompassing a certain number of nations, each national culture being only a particular form of the whole.” Status-seeking between any groups of polities takes place in a specific social context. What Durkheim and Mauss had in mind was Christendom.

The historical fact that the state system grew out of Christendom and a Christian legal code (first ius gentium, then ius inter gentes) has repercussions not only for those left status-less, but also for how status was conferred within the system. Conflict over status played itself out as a discussion of which king was closest to God. Earthly powers were ordered in a hierarchy of descending closeness to God, with France on top, then other Christian rulers, then non-Christian rulers (and, we may add, people who were seen to be without rulers altogether). This hierarchical order carried over into early modernity and beyond, most recently as a “standard of civilization.”

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