Automobiles: Symbol of Status

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As I roamed around the campus and interviewed people, asking questions with regard to automobiles, I realized that people from UP Baguio perceive things differently and diversely. Of all the answers that I gathered from different sectors of UP Baguio, from the students, faculties and even staffs this statement was the most strucking for me. One of our sanitary janitors told me " Alam mo, ang tao nahahati lang naman yan sa dalawa e. Yung mga taong meron at yung mga taong wala- yung mga taong may kotse at yung mga taong wala nito. At kung tatanungin mo ako kung importante ang pagkakaroon ng lugan (kotse), ang sagot ko ay oo, dahil kung may kotse ka ibig sabihin nun angat ka at nakalampas ka na sa pagiging mahirap." Overview: Cars as status symbol before and now. From earliest times, people have felt a need to set themselves apart from others in the society in which they live. As Weber would put, it is status that sets as from others and thus it is through evaluation of other people where we can find our place in the society. By this, often this competitive desire takes the shape of acquiring material items to symbolize one’s uniqueness. These “status symbols” can come in many shapes and sizes. This paper primarily would talk about automobiles (particularly cars) as a mark of distinction and as a status symbol. Since cars have long been another common status symbol. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the automobile has been one of the most powerful and pervasive status symbols (Brown, 1998). This paper aims to answer two things 1.) Can cars be considered as a status symbol in the UPB community? 2.) How does one define and associate cars into ones status? Randomly, I interviewed different people in the academe; it may be a student, teachers and staffs. I decided not to limit myself into just one sector of the university for this can result to hasty generalizations. I have interviewed them in a manner by which I can get their idea with regard to

their...
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