1. (noun) The system of power distribution in which an individual or group resides within a culture, organization, or society.
2. (noun) A ranking of people or things.
Audio Pronunciation: (hi·er·ar·chy)
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- Plural: hierarchies
- As societies became more complex, increasingly multi-layered hierarchies develop to control people and resources.
- Also called:
- class structure
- power structure
- social hierarchy
- social ladder
- social pyramid
- status hierarchy
- Also informally called pecking order.
- Sociologists study stratification to understand (adjective) hierarchic or (adjective) hierarchical power structures.
- Word origin of “hierarchy” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Dahrendorf, Ralf. 1988. The Modern Social Conflict: An Essay on the Politics of Liberty. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
- Giddens, Anthony. 1973. The Class Structure of the Advanced Societies. London: Hutchinson.
- Grusky, David B., and Katherine R. Weisshaar. 2014. Social Stratification: Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective. 4th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
- Kerbo, Harold Ray. 2012. Social Stratification and Inequality: Class Conflict in Historical, Comparative, and Global Perspective. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1848. The Communist Manifesto.
- Massey, Douglas S. 2007. Categorically Unequal: The American Stratification System. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
- Mills, C. Wright. 1956. The Power Elite. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Riesman, David. 1950. The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character. New York: Doubleday.
- clear division of labor
- explicit rule
- Iron Rule of Oligarchy
- total institution
- Weber, Max
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.
Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).
Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
How to Cite the Definition of Hierarchy
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “hierarchy.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved February 18, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/hierarchy/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
hierarchy. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/hierarchy/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “hierarchy.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed February 18, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/hierarchy/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“hierarchy.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/hierarchy/>.