At Earlham College, it is customary to address faculty and administrators by their first name rather than professor.
This tradition evolved from the school’s Quaker origins. Quakers believe that simplicity and plainness is one of the pillars of religious virtue. Quakers often refuse to use pre-nominals such as mister, sir, or doctor.
Does the apparent rejection of status indicators mean that it is not there? For one, faculty at Earlham follow a Quaker tradition and aren’t necessarily Quaker themselves. A point made because Earham offers an interesting but not wholly accurate example of status rebellion.
The question raised by the Quakers and other pious traditions such as Amish and Mennonites is whether a status absent model exist. I am guessing that if we review the ethnographies of these groups we will find that social status is as important among them as it is to the individual in society-at-large. We would likely find that each individual has ways of positioning himself or herself, strive to be influential, and are aware of those who are—that their societies give elevated statuses, though it may be implicit.
(A subject for later consideration)