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Social Sci LibreTexts

Cultural Hierarchies

  • Page ID
    17518
  • Cultural distinctions make groups unique, but they also provide a social structure for creating and ranking cultures based on similarities or differences. A cultural group’s size and strength influences their power over a region, area, or other groups. Cultural power lends itself to social power that influences people’s lives by controlling the prevailing norms or rules and making individuals adhere to the dominant culture voluntarily or involuntarily.

    Culture is not a direct reflection of the social world (Griswold 2013). Humans mediate culture to define meaning and interpret the social world around them. As a result, dominant groups able to manipulate, reproduce, and influence culture among the masses. Common culture found in society is actually the selective transmission of elite-dominated values (Parenti 2006). This practice known as cultural hegemony suggests, culture is not autonomous, it is conditional dictated, regulated, and controlled by dominant groups. The major forces shaping culture are in the power of elite-dominated interests who make limited and marginal adjustments to appear culture is changing in alignment with evolving social values (Parenti 2006). The culturally dominating group often sets the standard for living and governs the distribution of resources.