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Hierarchy: Persistence and Transformation in Social Formations

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Persistence and Transformation in Social Formations

Edited by Knut Rio and Olaf H. Smedal

336 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-493-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (December 2008)

ISBN  978-1-84545-490-6 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (November 2010)

eISBN 978-1-84545-883-6 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"This welcome volume collects 12 essays addressing problems in the analysis of sociocultural values and sociocultural hierarchy, in dialogue with ideas of Dumont."  ·  American Ethnologist


Louis Dumont's concept of hierarchy continues to inspire social scientists. Using it as their starting point, the contributors to this volume introduce both fresh empirical material and new theoretical considerations. On the basis of diverse ethnographic contexts in Oceania, Asia, and the Middle East they challenge some current conceptions of hierarchical formations and reassess former debates - of post-colonial and neo-colonial agendas, ideas of "democratization" and "globalization," and expanding market economies - both with regard to new theoretical issues and the new world situation.

Knut M. Rio is Associate Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen. He has conducted long-term fieldwork in Vanuatu in the western Pacific and published The Power of Perspective: Social Ontology and Agency on Ambrym Island, Vanuatu (Berghahn Books, 2007).

Olaf H. Smedal is Associate Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen. He has conducted long-term fieldwork in Indonesia since the beginning of the 1980s: first among the Lom on Bangka (an island off Sumatra) and later among the Ngadha in Flores in eastern Indonesia. His research interests include social organization and kinship, symbolization, ritual, comparative epistemology, the history of anthropology and theory of science.

Subject: Theory & Methodology in Anthropology Sociology
Area: Asia-Pacific



Chapter 1. Hierarchy and Its Alternatives: An Introduction to Movements of Totalization and Detotalization
Knut M. Rio and Olaf H. Smedal

Chapter 2. Conversion, Hierarchy, and Cultural Change: Value and Syncretism in the Globalization of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity
Joel Robbins

Chapter 3. Gender and Value: Conceptualizing Social Forms on Ambrym, Vanuatu
Annelin Eriksen

Chapter 4. Can a Hierarchical Religion Survive without Its Center? Caodaism, Colonialism, and Exile
Janet Hoskins

Chapter 5. The Headless State in Inner Asia: Reconsidering Kinship Society and the Discourse of Tribalism
David Sneath

Chapter 6. The Perfect Sovereign: The Sacralized Power of the Ottoman Sultan
Kjetil Fosshagen

Chapter 7. Marriage, Rank, and Politics in Hawaii
Valerio Valeri

Chapter 8. Polynesian Conceptions of Sociality: A Dynamic Field of Hierarchical Encompassment
Ingjerd Hoëm

Chapter 9. On the Value of the Beast or the Limit of Money: Notes on the Meaning of Marriage Prestations among the Ngadha, Central Flores (Indonesia)
Olaf H. Smedal

Chapter 10. Hierarchy Is not Inequality-in Polynesia, for Instance
Serge Tcherkézoff

Chapter 11. Hierarchy and Power: A Comparative Attempt under Asymmetrical Lines
André Iteanu

Afterword: On Dumont's Relentless Comparativism
Frederick H. Damon

Notes on Contributors

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