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Prestige [ pʁɛs.ˈtiːʒ ] denotes the reputation ( reputation ) of a person , a group of people , an institution or even a thing (e.g. an object, a place) in the public of a certain cultural environment. Colloquially, prestige is often equated with a very good reputation (high reputation , very good image ). The word is a takeover of the French word prestige (reputation or validity) and comes from the Latin ( praestigium , leading sign, as well as praestigiae meaning juggling, delusion).

The prestige of an actor (i.e. a person, group or institution) is one of the so-called cultural resources ( social capital ). A higher prestige is connected with a higher status and can offer the possibility to gain influence and power . Prestige can increase (gain in prestige) or decrease (loss of prestige) through certain actions or circumstances. A gain in prestige can be achieved, for example, through outstanding performance, but also through the acquisition and presentation of status symbols or through demonstrative consumption . Some indigenous peoples in South and North America know a ritual called potlatch , in which a lot of valuable things are consumed, even destroyed, but with the help of which a lot of prestige can be gained. An example of a loss of prestige is the lower standing of a political party after a significant election defeat.

In industrial and post-industrial societies, too, actors tend to collect as much prestige as possible and to increase their status. For example, a person's job has a major impact on a person's reputation. The profession of doctor or lawyer brings more prestige than the profession of garbage collector or cashier in the supermarket (see professional prestige ). However, some people consciously forego the hunt for more success and prestige (“ simple life ”).

As early as 1957, the sociologist Heinz Kluth distinguished between social prestige and social status , whether reputation is based on actual performance or on other factors. Based on the terms of Talcott Parsons , he called the reputation based on empirically accessible performance "social prestige" and a reputation based on diffuse attributions "social prestige ".

A form of prestige is also the nimbus as a designation for a special reputation or glamorous fame . Gustave Le Bon defined this in 1895 as “a kind of magic that a personality, a work or an idea casts on us”, thereby paralyzing “all our critical faculties” and “filling our souls with astonishment and awe”.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Prestige  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Duden .
  2. Gustave le Bon: Psychology of the masses. After the Paris 1895 edition ( Psychologie des foules ) with an introduction by Helmut Dingeley. Stuttgart 1950 (= Kröner Taschenbuch. Volume 99), pp. 109 f., 112 and 118 f.