Hierarchy

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Hierarchy

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.

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 ?
Insofar as claims of temporal coevalness seek to overturn Eurocentric conceptions of modernity, anchoring an alternative and to some an increasingly attractive discourse about multiple modernities, they hold out the promise of putting to rest, once and for all, a fundamentally hierarchizing discourse of Self and Other, the West and the Rest.
Branding the black woman as mad and "offering" her psychologic treatment is our contemporary society's mode of containing her difference, providing her with a new identity which is the result of a process of comparing, differentiating, hierarchizing, homogenizing and excluding; as Foucault puts it, of "normalizing" (1979: 183).
When she performs her close analyses of texts by Stephen Birkett, June Levine, and Edna O'Brien, she "show[s] how writers seemingly resistant to the nationalist silencing of feminist and homosexual narratives can reinforce the image of queer-as-foreigner, the hierarchizing of freedoms, and the privatization of the politics of sexuality that characterizes national discourse" (18).
Minority Report marries Locke's law, which made all men sovereign and corruptible, to Bentham's discipline, which goes about maximizing human potential by hierarchizing it.
(7) Establishing a sophisticated public sphere of letters, through a system of reviews, prizes, medals, honors and memberships, this literary elite performed triage on a massively global scale; hierarchizing the world's literary wares with connoisseurial hubris, while protecting what were essentially Western values under the guise of equality and universality.
The theoretical and empirical demonstration of this position would have been more rigorous had it distinguished between the notion of cultures (which refers to complex symbolic systems) and identity discourses (second order), which view these same cultures in objectivizing, classificatory, and hierarchizing terms.
From the point of view of style, these sites were presented as equal, but the guidebooks and contemporary reactions distinguished sharply between the exotic and the familiar, the domestic and the foreign, the Western and the Eastern, now allowing influence and analogy, now moralizing and hierarchizing.
If Haygood's moralizing for Our Brother in Black helped solidify a race-based social hierarchy, his impressive accumulation of data on education "for colored people in the Southern States" in his 1885 Slater report indicated a close connection between the rapidly developing view of education as a science (hence, a masculine professional enterprise) and the hierarchizing of curricula for different groups in the United States to reaffirm the top-dog position of white men (18,3).