W. David Marx on 'Status and Culture' : It's Been a Minute What is culture, where does it come from and why does it change? W. David Marx, author of the new book Status and Culture: How Our Desire for Social Rank Creates Taste, Identity, Art, Fashion, and Constant Change, says the answers come from our desire for prestige. Marx tells guest host Elise Hu how status has historically worked to drive trends like gourmet cupcakes or dark wash jeans, how the internet can lead to cultural stagnation, and ways we can redefine status to build a more equitable society.

Status and Culture is out Sept. 6.

You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at IBAM@npr.org.

From cupcakes to private jets, how the quest for status drives culture

From cupcakes to private jets, how the quest for status drives culture

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Celebrities in the front row of London Fashion Week. Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images hide caption

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Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Celebrities in the front row of London Fashion Week.

Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

What is culture, where does it come from and why does it change? W. David Marx, author of the new book Status and Culture: How Our Desire for Social Rank Creates Taste, Identity, Art, Fashion, and Constant Change, says the answers come from our desire for prestige. Marx tells guest host Elise Hu how status has historically worked to drive trends like gourmet cupcakes or dark wash jeans, how the internet can lead to cultural stagnation, and ways we can redefine status to build a more equitable society.

This episode was produced by Jessica Mendoza, with production help from Barton Girdwood. It was edited by Jessica Placzek. Engineering support came from Stuart Rushfield. Our executive producer is Veralyn Williams. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at IBAM@npr.org.