Gerontocracy


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Gerontocracy

 

a term introduced by the English ethnologist W. Rivers, at the beginning of the 20th century, to designate an early form of society in which power allegedly belonged to the elders. Rivers considered gerontocracy to be characteristic for the Australians and certain peoples of Oceania. In actual fact, the influential position held by the elder members of the commune is only one of the elements of supreme power among various peoples in primitive communal society.

References in periodicals archive ?
Carey Cavanaugh, 'Soviet gerontocracy: Stability and change' in The Review of Politics, 42(2), 1981, p316.
Viau characterizes this society as a gerontocracy, one that looked up to elders of both sexes as the authority figures.
With more children in Germany, there is a greater chance of preventing a gerontocracy and peacefully overcoming the looming demographic crisis.
It's interesting that you've now got some younger guys coming out of Italy, because for so long it's been such a gerontocracy there.
Although the authors recognized that the Igbo and the Ibibio were far more democratic than the colonial officials who regarded them as primitive gave them credit for, the authors preferred a gendered perspective that saw Igbo society as a patriarchy governed by a gerontocracy of male elders and speculated about the possibility that the women used secret societies to organize their resistance even when the evidence points to open democratic community mobilization in far-from-secret market places.
By making himself, in effect, the state, Putin, like the gerontocracy that collapsed with Gorbachev's rise, is increasingly viewed as responsible for all state failures.
ODHIAMBO, Tom, "Gerontocracy and Generational Competition in Kenya Today?
Crippled by their "esprit d'immobilisme" and their fear of economic change, the gerontocracy of Issoudun choose to isolate themselves at the cost of depriving their offspring of the opportunity to advance either in government or in commerce.
A restored political thinking and practice will also ward off an even subtler danger, namely that of a "gerontocracy".
The most recent protests are part of an upsurge in football-related violence in Algeria, an indicator that increased wages and government social spending is failing to compensate for frustration with the failure of the country's gerontocracy, who have been in control since independence, to share power with a younger generation, create jobs and address housing problems.
What's unique perhaps about Africa is our particular practice of gerontocracy, a venerable tradition that can nevertheless threaten to silence the voice of the young.
Commenting on the move, Soutik Biswas, BBC correspondent in New Delhi, observed, "India's governments have been traditionally dominated by elderly politicians, prompting critics to jest that the country, where half the population is under 25 years of age, is really a gerontocracy." Justifying the move, Manmohan Singh said he had tried to put together a combination of "youth and experience" in the new Cabinet to take on the formidable challenges in the run-up to the general elections due in 2014.