Is the Hierarchical Society Cardinal?

Even the question posed has a stink of the inhuman, or un-human, though it is evident that in theory we might try and flatten such hierarchies, the same never holds true in practice. Although such hierarchies might be held on to surreptitiously, the tendency to be resilient is never really ruled out in matters as sensitive as these, which make us prone to getting branded as fundamentalists or fanatics, or anything which has semblance to the right-wing ideology. So, in a nutshell, hierarchies in the Social are indeed emanating from the right-wing, or are at least given to sway in their descriptions and prescriptions.

So, are these hierarchies important? Well, the answer at first go is a strict ‘no’. But, let us deliberate upon. One way is to look upon hierarchy as dominant, and the other is identity when there is an absence of hierarchies. Now, those that belong to the first camp would imply reciprocity as enabling social order. Reciprocity is a relationship that exists one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-one as regards the first camp, while one and the many merge into one another as regards the second camp. In the first camp, reciprocity is built up on adherence, while in the second, it is more and more symbiotic. The existing of social strata could advocate the existence of micro-cultural forms characterised by the features that lead to the formation of such strata in the first place and could include notions like religiosity, power (both muscle and economic), cultural and intellectual/ideological. On the flip side, such notions are tolerant towards multiculturalism or pluralism. Dominance becomes a nested approach, while becoming-identity is a web-like structure with nodes of individuals or clusters of societies that interact on a horizontal level, or to put it more politically, act on a democratic level, in theory at least, to say the least. Disturbance in this net is knotted into a nest, where dominance takes over the democratic structure and subsequently forcing the second camp to be evacuated onto the first one. Now here is where the catch lies. From netted to a nested structure would mean classification, and it is classification that gets conceptual authority, thus in a hugely ironical manner ameliorating the potential of conflicts due to centralised authoritarian structure. This is its use value. Hierarchies try to make sense out of the apparent relationships between things with the caveat that orientations that determine those relations are just looming round the corner.

In hierarchical societies there are domains of individuals, clusters, micro-cultures or societies that are instances of isolated-ness from each other, whereas in non-hierarchical societies these domains tendentially overlap into one another, or even across one another making the very study of latter kind of studies difficult in intent. Other use value would lie in mapping domains become easier in dominance or stratified societies as compared with in non-hierarchical societies.



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