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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
A similar situation can be observed in the treatment of the cultural dimension which, when approached from perspectives related to cultural pluralism, is limited to policies of cultural recognition that deny the conflict and the processes of hierarchization and social exclusion that are produced from the cultural identity of migrants.
However, it is fitting to conclude that the questioning of racialized workers' knowledge by co-workers also was associated with systems of social classification based on racial differences and hierarchization.
(9-11) And there is a historical construction that reinforces a hierarchization between the sexes and women's subaltern roles.
The literary or artistic field is at all times the site of struggle between the two principles of hierarchization: the heteronomous principle (e.g.
Bio-power also acted as a factor of segregation and social hierarchization, ensuring relations of domination.
But then we paused to reflect on their sources and effects and gained profound insights into how the politics of ego and stardom, and the compartmentalization and hierarchization of different kinds of labor, were precisely the neoliberalized configurations of power that we were critiquing in our work; and we realized how easy it was to get caged by them--whether in NGOS in India or in a seminar or dinner conversation with academics or activists in the United States.
Overall, the results allow a hierarchization of the influence of coproduction factors in strategic networks of shared service provisioning of distance education.
Hardt and Negri add "|the| global politics of difference is defined not by free play and equality, but by the imposition of new hierarchies, or a process of constant hierarchization (2000, 154).
"Taste Differentiation and Hierarchization within Popular Culture: The Case of Salsa Music." Poetics 47:60-82.
Certeau's words help express our aim in distinguishing between tactical and strategic ecumenism: "How is it possible to foil here and now the social hierarchization which organizes scientific work on popular cultures and repeats itself in that work?" (24) If the strategic ecumenism manifested by official ecumenical dialogue performs division even alongside its promotion of unity, how can ecumenical dialogue transform itself so as to more fully serve Christian unity?
It is precisely this hierarchization that allows the French or European reader to identify with those Oriental characters who do not display stereotypically Arab or African features.