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The Dynamics of Social Hierarchy

Redhead, Daniel Joseph (2018) The Dynamics of Social Hierarchy. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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A growing body of research has outlined that humans gain social rank through two pathways: prestige and dominance. This dual model of social hierarchy advocates that individuals either attain positions of high rank though signals of an ability and willingness to either inflict harm (dominance) or confer benefits (prestige) to group members. While there is growing support for the dual model of social hierarchy, the extant empirical evidence has been cross-sectional and has neglected the impact that time and context has on the efficacy of prestige and dominance as long-term processes. The present research outlines a theoretical framework for the trajectories of prestige, dominance and social rank over time, and further provides longitudinal evidence of their temporal dynamics. In addition, the current research tests the longitudinal associations that prestige and dominance have with social networks, Results of study 1 suggest that, in collaborative task groups, prestige has a positive and bidirectional temporal association with social rank, while the association that dominance has diminished over time. Study 2 indicated that in these task groups those high in prestige were more likely to be asked advice and prestige was transmitted through advice ties but had a limited association with friendship. Those high in dominance were less likely to be nominated as friends, but dominance was transmitted through friendship ties. Results from Study 3 suggest that those high in prestige status were more likely to aid in food sharing and food production, and that the prestige status of an individual’s food sharing and food production partners increased their prestige status over a period of twelve years among the Tsimane forager-horticulturalists of Bolivia. Overall, the present research highlights the distinction between prestige and dominance over time and shows that prestige, dominance, social rank and social networks have bidirectional, dynamic relationships over time.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Daniel Redhead
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2018 11:55
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2021 01:00

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