Gerontocracy

(redirected from gerontocrat)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

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 ?
In this moment above all others, aboriginal gerontocrats historically reasserted their ascendancy as they delivered sons or adopted charges over into the peculiar form of bondedness that is bride-service.
To insure the reader's disgust, the author has Wei explain that his extraordinary longevity and those of other gerontocrats of the ruling High Council is due to competition among devoted followers, who willingly sacrifice their organs as transplants.
However, under Fukuda, who is an old establishment-oriented politician, the LDP gerontocrats, notably two former nationalist Prime Ministers Yasuhiro Nakasone and Yoshiro Mori, have gained power.
The seven gerontocrats are now in high spirits in the run-up to the critical decision on revising the tax system for the next fiscal year.
The government routinely reviews manuscipts by former officials in order to protect classified information; according to Thomas DeFrank, Baker's co-author, the bureau's criticisms of the book's chapter on China "were aimed less at guarding national security than at protecting the feelings of Beijing's hypersensitive gerontocrats.