[extropy-chat] Signaling and Social Markers

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Dec 27 05:38:35 UTC 2006

Anders writes

Sent: Friday, December 15, 2006 3:50 PM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] When Did (or Do) People Start Locking Doors?

> Damien Broderick wrote:
>> Walking home in the hot winter sun today, I was
>> aghast (as usual) by the crap and detritus scattered
>> along the street:
> Yes, trash as a social marker. I think it has to do with signalling, a bit
> like middle class values are so much about demonstrating that one is
> investing in one's human capital - health, education and similar signals
> tell a story about being successful in a meritocracy beyond just showing
> off wealth and status (I might not be rich, but look at my *prospects*!).

Fashion is the ultimate in social signaling. But what to make about
fashions in the west since 1980?  Yes, informal came "in" in the
1960s, but grunge had to wait until 1980. I am a total amateur on
this, so http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Lounge/8578/main2.htm
about grunge.

(My friends say I was the first in our group to use "google" as a verb;
amn't I the first here to link as a verb?)

I sense signaling in grunge, but don't really have any more than a
vague hunch.

Suppose someone doesn't keep his yard up in a well-kept neighborhood.
Anders may say that this is a message, much perhaps as he's describing
trash as signaling. There is SOMETHING going on here, I just don't
understand it.

After all, some people are just too lazy (er, interested in other things) to
keep up their yards, and some people throw trash on the streets simply
simply because that's how it was done while they were growing up.  No?
that's how they grew up.


> Not caring about one's environment seems to signal that either it can't
> get worse, or that it is not *my* environment. By throwing out the trash
> they might also mark the territory to some extent by placing a symbolic
> trace. There are of course other factors too: young litter more than old,
> alone people litter more, and there is a correlation to eating fast food,
> smoking and going to bars (class markers, class markers).

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