Place and Status Recategorization

Mélodie Cartel, Eva Boxenbaum, Sylvain Colombero

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This paper contributes to the emerging literature on status recategorization by analysing the extreme case of reinforced concrete from 1885 to 1930. Status recategorization refers to the change in a category's status within a social hierarchy. It occurs when new--more appealing--associations form around a low status category. We find that, over the period studied, buildings encoded, emotionalized, and energized new associations around reinforced concrete, leading architects to assign the material a higher status. Drawing on these findings, we conceptualize an embodied mode of status recategorization in which the ability of audiences to process new associations around a category is a function of bodily experience. We make two contributions to the category literature. First, we distinguish between discursive associations and associations encoded in the physical environment. Second, we show that emotions and emotional energy mediate audiences' interpretations of new associations that are encoded in the physical environment. Negative emotional responses to new associations trigger status maintenance, while positive emotional responses and emotional energy trigger status change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-second Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonja Taneja
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2022: Creating a Better World Together - Seattle, United States
Duration: 5 Aug 20229 Aug 2022
Conference number: 82


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings

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