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Encyclopedia > Social hierarchy

Social hierarchy is a multi-tiered pyramid-like social or functional structure having an apex as the centralization of power. The term can also be applied to animal societies, but the term dominance hierarchy is preferred most times. Typically, institutions such as businesses, churches, armies and political movements, etc., are structured hierarchically. Commonly, seniors in the apex position, called bosses, have more power than their subordinates at the base of the structure. Thus, the asymmetrical relationship might be one "has power over" others. Some analysts however question whether power "really" works as the standard indicates[citation needed]. See also: chain of command. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... A dominance hierarchy or social hierarchy is an organizational form by which individuals within a community control the distribution of resources within the community. ... In economics, a business is a legally-recognized organizational entity existing within an economically free country designed to sell goods and/or services to consumers, usually in an effort to generate profit. ... For the architectural structure, see Church (building). ... A hierarchy (in Greek: , derived from — hieros, sacred, and — arkho, rule) is a system of ranking and organizing things or people, where each element of the system (except for the top element) is a subordinate to a single other element. ... Much of the recent sociological debate on power revolves around the issue of the constraining and/or enabling nature of power. ... For the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, see Chain of Command (Star Trek: The Next Generation). ...

Many social criticisms include a questioning of social hierarchies seen as being unjust. Feminism, for instance, often discusses a hierarchy of gender, in which a culture sees males or masculine traits as superior to females or feminine traits. In these terms, some criticize a hierarchy of only two nodes, "masculine" and "feminine", connected by the asymmetrical relationship "is more valuable to society". Feminists redirects here. ...

In this context, and in other social criticisms, the word hierarchy usually is used as meaning power hierarchy or power structure. Feminists may not take issue with inanimate objects being organized in a hierarchical fashion, but rather with the specific asymmetrical organization of unequal value and power between men and women and, usually, other social hierarchies such as in racism, anti-gay bias, and bullying. Manifestations Slavery Racial profiling Lynching Hate speech Hate crime Genocide (examples) Ethnocide Ethnic cleansing Pogrom Race war Religious persecution Gay bashing Blood libel Paternalism Police brutality Movements Policies Discriminatory Race / Religion / Sex segregation Apartheid Redlining Internment Anti-discriminatory Emancipation Civil rights Desegregation Integration Equal opportunity Counter-discriminatory Affirmative action Racial... Homophobia is a term used to describe: A culturally determined phobia manifesting as fear, revulsion, or contempt for desire or physical love between people of the same sex. ... Bullying is the act of intentionally causing harm to others through verbal harassment, physical assault, or other more subtle methods of coercion such as manipulation. ...


Distribution of power within political systems

There are many models of power distributions, also known as "forms of government". Most real governments exhibit properties of multiple forms. Common forms are:

  • Autocracy: One individual retains complete and absolute power over others. This is also known as despotism.
  • Monarchism: A king or queen has ultimate control over the distribution of power, but does share it with other individuals. Power is usually transmitted by heredity— in the primogeniture system, for example, the eldest son of a king will ascend to that position when the current king dies or resigns.
  • Oligarchy: Political power is vested in a few individuals, who usually pass power by a hereditary[citation needed] system.
  • Republic: Voting citizens elect representatives who propose, make, and enforce laws. Also known as representative democracy.
  • Democracy: Citizens directly vote in lawmaking. In contrast to representative democracy, this is sometimes known as a direct democracy.
  • Anarchism: A decentralized grassroots participatory system of free associations and institutions where the law and social structure ensure an absence of hierarchy.
  • Ochlocracy: What some argue to be the end product of an unstable lawless system, a system known as "rule by organized crime". Such a system emerges when powerful gang-like organizations arrogate power and develop a semi-legitimate status.

These terms describe models of government more precisely than actual governments, and most real systems are complex mixtures of the systems described above. For example, the United States is considered a republican democracy, but the economic system is not democratic. However, direct democracy is employed on some issues and in some states (see: referendum). Likewise, the United Kingdom and many European nations are technically monarchies, but de facto republics or democracies as the monarchs have become largely celebrity figureheads rather than actors within the political arena. Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An autocracy is a form of government in which the political power is held by a single person. ... Absolute Power is the name of several works: Absolute Power (novel), a novel by David Baldacci Absolute Power (film), a film, based on Baldaccis novel, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood Absolute Power (band), a rap group responsible for the album A Vision of Kings Absolute Power (album), an... This does not cite its references or sources. ... Monarchism is the advocacy of the establishment, preservation, or restoration of a monarchy. ... For other uses, see Monarch (disambiguation). ... Cleopatra is one of the most well-known queens regnant A queen regnant (plural queens regnant) is a woman monarch possessing and exercising all of the monarchal powers of a king, in contrast with a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king, and in and of her... See Heredity (disambiguation) for other meanings. ... Primogeniture is the common law right of the first born son to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Oligarchy (Greek , Oligarkhía) is a form of government where political power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society (whether distinguished by wealth, family or military powers). ... Look up republic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For the Finno-Ugric people, see Votes. ... A legislature is a governmental deliberative body with the power to adopt laws. ... This article is about law in society. ... Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principles of popular sovereignty by the peoples representatives. ... Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy,[1] comprises a form of democracy and theory of civics wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. ... Anarchist redirects here. ... Ochlocracy (Greek: οχλοκρατια; Latin: ochlocratia) is government by mob or a mass of people, or the intimidation of constitutional authorities. ... A gang is a group of individuals who share a common identity and, in current usage, engage in illegal activities. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A referendum (plural referendums or referenda), ballot question, or plebiscite (from Latin plebiscita, originally a decree of the Concilium Plebis) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Celebrity (disambiguation). ...

Anglo-American scholarship credits the United Kingdom and the United States with the 2nd millennium's transition from monarchism to democracy: the shift is said to have begun with King John's signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 and to have accelerated on account of the English Bill of Rights and Glorious Revolution in the 17th century. At the time of the American Revolution in 1776, while the United Kingdom was technically a monarchy, many historians consider the United Kingdom's political system to have been one of the most "progressive" systems in Europe at the time. English Americans (occasionally known as Anglo-Americans) are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England. ... On the Gregorian calendar, the 2nd millennium commenced on 1 January 1001, and ended at the end of 31 December 2000. ... This article is about the King of England. ... This article is about the English charter issued in 1215. ... A certified copy of the Magna Carta March 4 - King John of England makes an oath to the Pope as a crusader to gain the support of Innocent III. June 15 - King John of England was forced to put his seal on the Magna Carta, outlining the rights of landowning... The Bill of Rights 1689 is an English Act of Parliament with the long title An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown and known colloquially in the UK as the Bill of Rights. ... The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England (VII of Scotland) in 1688 by a union of Parliamentarians and the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau (William of Orange), who as a result ascended the English throne as William... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... John Trumbulls Declaration of Independence, showing the five-man committee in charge of drafting the Declaration in 1776 as it presents its work to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia The American Revolution refers to the period during the last half of the 18th century in which the Thirteen... For other uses, see 1776 (disambiguation). ...

European scholars would give greater emphasis to the Hanseatic League, the Swiss Cantons, Italian city states, the Novogrod Republic, and Icelandic democracy. One-citizen-one-vote was not a reality in many "liberal democracies" until after the second world war - the 1950 general election for the United Kingdom, post civil-rights for the southern states of the USA. The aftermath of the rioting that occurred in France, USA, and the Netherlands amongst other countries in 1968, saw a marked reduction in formality and social hierarchy with democratization of educational institutions. Carta marina of the Baltic Sea region (1539). ... The twenty-six cantons of Switzerland are the states of the federal state of Switzerland. ...

Democratic traditions arose independently in other parts of the world before contact with European culture, for example the Kotla system of the Tswana people in Botswana. Kotla is the name of: Four separate villages: - one in Pakistan - Kotla Musa Khan in Pakistan - one in Poland commune in Poland a Polish conductor Pavel Kotla Category: ... Tswana (Motswana, plural Batswana) is the name of a Southern African people. ...

Classical Viewpoint

In the aristocratic world of pre-Christian classical Europe, philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle did not share the modern egalitarian, humanist identification of justice with linear social equality. As British philosopher Bertrand Russell points out, "Under the influence of democratic theory, we have come to associate justice with equality, while for Plato it has no such implications ... Plato's definition of justice makes it possible to have inequalities of power and privilege without injustice. The guardians are to have all the power, because they are the wisest members of the community" (A History of Western Philosophy, Simon and Schuster, 1972, p. 114). Similarly, in his Politics, Aristotle argues that some men are marked out by their inherent virtues for subjection, others for rule; "the man who is by nature not his own but another man's is by nature a slave." Aristotle states that tame animals are better off when ruled by man, and so are those who are naturally inferior and materialistic when ruled by their superiors. For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Aristotle (disambiguation). ... Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970), was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, and pacifist. ...

Distribution of wealth

Distribution of wealth is often used as a measure of the progressiveness and social justice of a society. The Gini coefficient measures the economic equality within a society. Developed societies generally vary between 0.2 and 0.5, with welfare states, like Denmark scoring on the lower end and purer free markets like the United States scoring on the higher end. For other uses, see Progressivism (disambiguation). ... Social justice refers to the concept of an unjust society that refers to more than just the administration of laws. ... Graphical representation of the Gini coefficient The Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality of income distribution or inequality of wealth distribution. ... There are three main interpretations of the idea of a welfare state: the provision of welfare services by the state. ...

Critics of capitalism describe it as a system wherein wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few people, the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production and where the majority of people, the proletariat, have none. Others argue that this model is inaccurate, since human and cultural capital are also important in predicting an individual's leverage, autonomy, and eventual fortune, and are more equitably distributed. In the developed world, particularly in materialistic societies like the United States and Japan, have large amounts of wealth tied up in personal possessions like homes, cars, and electronics. People in these societies tend to value these possessions highly, and thus are quite happy with their financial situation. For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Means of production (abbreviated MoP; German: Produktionsmittel), are the combination of the means of labor and the subject of labor used by workers to make products. ... The proletariat (from Latin proles, offspring) is a term used to identify a lower social class; a member of such a class is proletarian. ... Human capital is a way of defining and categorizing the skills and abilities as used in employment and as they otherwise contribute to the economy. ... Cultural capital (le capital culturel) is a sociological term used by Pierre Bourdieu. ...

Opposite to the capitalist system are socialist systems wherein, in theory, wealth is distributed proportionally to one's contribution to society, and communist systems wherein it is distributed according to necessity. Examples of societies nearing these ideals are the Israeli kibbutzim and the anarchist collectives of the Spanish Revolution. Socialism is a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation. ... For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ... This article is about the form of society and political movement. ... Kibbutz Merom Golan as seen from Bental mountain A Kibbutz (Hebrew: Translit. ... Anarchist redirects here. ... In Spanish history, there have been several revolutions. ...

Karl Marx argued that it was the goal of the proletariat itself to displace the capitalist system with socialism, changing the social relationships underpinning the class system and then developing into a future communist society in which: "..the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." Communist Manifesto. Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... The proletariat (from Latin proles, offspring) is a term used to identify a lower social class; a member of such a class is proletarian. ... Socialism is a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation. ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... Malayalam editon of the Manifesto The Communist Manifesto, also known as The Manifesto of the Communist Party, first published on February 21, 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is one of the worlds most historically influential political tracts. ...

On the other hand, many sociologists supporting the status quo emphasize that hierarchical social stratification is normal and inherent to all societies. Renowned sociologist Pierre van den Berghe believes that the predominating liberal-Marxist obsession with linear equality is dysfunctional: "That all men are created equal may have seemed a self-evident truth to the amiable optimist who signed the United States Declaration of Independence, but it flies in the face of all evidence ... Egalitarianism may be good rhetoric, but is bad sociology, and empirically, rank nonsense ... A hierarchical order is evident in the human family, the smallest and most universal form of human social organization" (Man in Society: A Biosocial View, New York: Elsevier, 1978, pp. 137-8). Sociologist Joseph Fichter argues, "The aspiration for complete democracy or for perfect equality among people is without scientific validity. Similarly, the promotion of an ideal of a classless society is both unrealistic and impossible" (Sociology, Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1957, p. 49). Dye and Ziegler point out: "Even if inequalities of wealth were eliminated, differences among men in intelligence, organizational skills, leadership abilities, knowledge and information, drive and ambition, and interest and activity would remain ... Men are not born with the same abilities, nor can they acquire them by education. Inequalities among men are inevitable" (The Irony of Democracy, pp. 363-364). Anarchists, however, maintain that inequalities are artificially magnified in our society, and point out that for most of human history humans lived in much more egalitarian societies. Noam Chomsky believes that egalitarian sentiments are "just below the surface"[1], and has used the militant history of labor movements, Bakunin's theories about an "instinct for freedom", Kropotkin's mutual aid evolutionary principle of survival and Marc Hauser's evidence supporting an innate and universal moral faculty[2], to explain the incompatibility of hierarchy with certain aspects of human nature. [3][4] Ethnic nepotism describes a human tendency for in-group favoritism applied on the ethnic level. ... Avram Noam Chomsky (Hebrew: אברם נועם חומסקי) (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. ... Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (Russian — Михаил Александрович Бакунин), (May 30, 1814–June 13, 1876) was a well-known Russian anarchist contemporaneous to Karl Marx. ... Peter Kropotkin Prince Peter Alexeievich Kropotkin (Пётр Алексе́евич Кропо́ткин) ( December 9, 1842 - February 8, 1921) was one of Russias foremost anarchists and one of the first advocates... Marc Hauser is an ethologist who teaches at the Psychology Department at Harvard University. ...

Social status

Social status represents an individual's overall ability to control or influence other people and institutions. Unlike economic status, it is difficult to quantify social status. Social status is the honor or prestige attached to ones position in society (ones social position). ...

Social status is recognized officially by notions of rank, religious title, or academic title, and informally by notions such as reputation and mind share. The Lords and Barons prove their Nobility by hanging their Banners and exposing their Coats-of-arms at the Windows of the Lodge of the Heralds. ... Academia is a collective term for the scientific and cultural community engaged in higher education and research, taken as a whole. ... Look up reputation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
The Medieval Social Hierarchy, Imagined and Real (1301 words)
The social hierarchy was said to be "good" because "ordained by God" and, by analogy with the overarching hierarchy of the Created Universe with the all-powerful God in control.
Similarly, all hierarchies are analogous to that of "Adam" and "Eve".
And the overturning of any hierarchy, the upsetting of any order, could be seen as recapitulating, or repeating, reiterating, etc. in the present the Original Sin of Eve's yielding to the Serpent and "seducing" Adam to disobey God by eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
  More results at FactBites »



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