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A group of people who form an ascending chain of power or authority.

Officers in a government, for example, form an escalating series of ranks or degrees of power, with each rank subject to the authority of the one on the next level above. In a majority of hierarchical arrangements, there are a larger number of people at the bottom than at the top.

Originally, the term was used to mean government by a body of priests. Currently, a hierarchy is used to denote any body of individuals arranged or classified according to capacity, authority, position, or rank.


(Arrangement in a series), noun categorization, chain, classification, collocation, gradation, grouping, order, order of succession, range, run, seriation, series, succession, system


(Persons in authority), noun authorities, bureaucracy, commanders, controllers, dictators, directors, government, heads, leadership power, management, managers, masters, officials, persons in power, powers, regency, regime, rulers, sovereignty
See also: class

HIERARCHY, eccl. law. A hierarchy signified, originally, power of the priest; for in the beginning of societies, the priests were entrusted with all the power but, among the priests themselves, there were different degrees of power and authority, at the summit of which was the sovereign pontiff, and this was called the hierarchy. Now it signifies, not so much the power of the priests as the border of power.

References in periodicals archive ?
Results show effects of the way information is hierarchized and contextualized within the system on the subjects' discourse organization.
This criterion has to be alternative, because life hierarchized as the center of development is incompatible with the neoclassical and neoliberal utopia of the capitalist market as the best mechanism for the assignment of resources and the satisfaction of needs.
The Indian societies of North America (the Iroquois, Sioux, Comanches, Apaches), of the subtropical forests (the Carib, Tupinamba, and Amazonian tribes), and of South America (the Araucan Indians of the pampas) all testify to this full expression of man, which seems to precede the specializations of the hierarchized and sedentary societies (Mexicas, Mayas, Quechuas).
Generally speaking, in a caste system "society is divided up into a large number of permanent groups which are at once specialized, hierarchized, and separated (in matter of marriage, food, physical contact) in relation to each other.
He argues that this approach stems from a "Romantic notion of the autonomous transcendent artwork [that] entailed a hierarchized, strictly enforced split between emancipated creators, beholden (in theory) to no one but the music, and selfless curators, sworn to submission" (p.
But we do not know whether these groups were knitted into a fixed and hierarchized social frame bearing some resemblance to the modern Hindu jati system or whether there was only one system of ranking, incorporating the many groups of followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Iranian religions into one and the same scheme.
In his fieldwork Holmes spent much time with his feet literally on the ground, bending over to pick strawberries, as well as hanging around with the workers who are positioned lower to the ground by a racist and hierarchized labour system.
If modernity is not whole and monolithic but multivalent, hierarchized and even contradictory, it, therefore, presents a contested and contestable site for cultural negotiations and re-negotiations.
Many use quantitative data as a smokescreen for privileging masculinist and hierarchized knowledge.
Even as flows of capital, technology and workers traverse national borders "with the impetuosity of rivers," the modern state functions to maintain "a hierarchized system of places, functions and institutions.
Any investigation into the ontological status of a literary work can result in two different ways of interpreting the work: on the one hand, it can be described as an imitation, as a spiritual reproduction of reality, as a fictional representation of the real world, or as a complexly hierarchized meaning structure; on the other hand, it can be viewed it as a concrete material fact.
One important part of this complex was a systematic development of ambivalence and a systematic undermining of the main ideological functions of heroic tragi-comedy--increased in-group identification, antagonism toward an out-group, and the alignment of positive values with the in-group as socially hierarchized.