What is status? How does it work? What effects does it tend to have? A new wave of scholarship on status in international relations has converged on a central definition of status, several causal pathways, and the claim that the pursuit of status tends to produce conflict. The authors take stock of the status literature and argue that this convergence is not only a sign of progress, but also an obstacle to it. They find that the consensus definition conceals critical contradictions between standing and membership, that its causal pathways are promising but often in tension with each other, and that the literature may be overlooking the ways in which status can help states avoid conflict and promote cooperation under certain conditions.