Skip to main content

Social Hierarchies

Synonyms

Power structure; Social ranking; Stratification

Definition

Systems of social organization in which individuals are arranged by group status and have differential access to social and material resources.

Introduction

Social hierarchies are broadly defined as systems of social organization in which some individuals enjoy a higher social status than others (Sidanius and Pratto 1999) – specifically, in which people are stratified by their group membership (Axte et al. 2014; Jost et al. 2004; Sidanius and Pratto 1999). In socially stratified societies, high-status groups are afforded greater access to material and social resources relative to low-status groups, leading to differential opportunities and outcomes. For example, those with low status face more verbal harassment and physical assault (Katz-Wise and Hyde 2012), are discriminated against in employment decisions (Parker et al. 2016), and face harsher treatment by the criminal justice system (Wu 2016).

Theoretical...

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1833
  • Chapter length: 7 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   3,999.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-24612-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   5,499.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kimberly Rios .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Roth, Z.C., Rios, K. (2020). Social Hierarchies. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1833

Download citation