1 votes
Status Anxiety

Status Anxiety

Channel 4 2004

Philosopher and author Alain de Botton believes there's something the vast majority of people desire even more than money. Whatever their background or social class, whatever their age or country of origin, what they desperately crave is status. In this two-and-a-half-hour programme, as well as testing his theory in Britain, De Botton travels to the United States to investigate status anxiety, asking why people are unable to curtail their painful aspirations and whether those at the bottom of society merit their position there as much as those at the top do theirs. As well as examining the work of classical philosophers, de Botton develops his theory with the help of a Washington DC restaurant manager who considers himself destined to become a chat show host; motivational speaker Les Brown; homeless lady Jenny Lamont; and members of the Native American population. De Botton's search for possible cures to status anxiety takes him to churches on both sides of the Atlantic; the bohemian world of punks, nudists and hippies who live by their own rules; and both ancient and modern philosophers.

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The 10 Best Episodes of Status Anxiety

#1 - Causes


Season 1 - Episode 1

Status anxiety is the pernicious worry about the danger of failing to conform to ideals of success laid down by society. We’re anxious because our self-concept is dependent on what others make of us. Why is this?

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#2 - Manifestations


Season 1 - Episode 2

In episode two, Alain de Botton explores how our anxieties about our status affect almost every aspect of our everyday lives, from our relationships with others, to our feelings about ourselves

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#3 - Solutions


Season 1 - Episode 3

In the final episode, de Botton offers some ideas on how our status ideals might be changed, in order to enable enable us to lead deeper, richer, and ultimately, more satisfied lives.

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Last updated: oct 09, 2020

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