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 ?
(10) Williams Abobo, "Revising the Gerontocratic Myths in African Political Leadership"?
I will explore, then, how religion allows youths to negotiate spaces of social legitimacy, in the face of gerontocratic relations of power.
(45) Similarly, for Lau, Judou's action "represents a decisive move against the gerontocratic and patriarchal rule that operates against her." (46) As she lifts her head slowly and directs her tearful gaze toward Tianqing, Judou challenges the scopic regime to its very foundation.
Some LDP members decried the ''gerontocratic power'' and ''opaque decision-making.'' Some formed a formal group to oppose the power of the seven.
The prevailing ideal of this period, Sir Keith Thomas has argued in a stimulating essay, was gerontocratic; this was a society firmly based on seniority, and though there were exceptions to this, they proved the rule.
See my "Male Midlife Sexuality in a Gerontocratic Economy: The Privileged Stage of the Long Midlife in Ninetenth-Century Age Ideology," Journal of the History of Sexuality (July 1994): 58-89.
As a general observation, it turned out that ritual organization has been modified so that their forms of status and hierarchy merely adhere to "gerontocratic" rules.
The edifice of unanimity began to crumble as the individual states clamoured for independence and the gerontocratic leadership could no longer sustain the artifice of economic efficiency.
based on their interpretation of the Tiananmen incident, many Americans think of China as a nation that yearns for democracy and Christianity but is repressed by a gerontocratic communist regime that has lost nearly all its legitimacy and remains in power only through its control of the state's police organs.
Probably the clearest example is the Ngwato church's assault on `beer drinks', a policy obviously consistent with mission teaching on temperance but one which also helped consolidate Khama's power by foreclosing one of the primary arenas within which patriarchal and gerontocratic authority had traditionally been expressed.
Lamley, "Lineage and Surname Feuds in Southern Fukien and Eastern Kwangtung Under the Ch'ing." Furth demonstrates well her point that ritual culture is not merely transmitted by the unconscious workings of custom or imposed by state mandate; it is recreated in each generation by such people as the authors of chia-hsun, one of the best templates of China's gerontocratic society.
Claude Meillassoux has examined the economic basis of kinship in West Africa, and how social stratification along gerontocratic lines develops in face-to-face communities.(17) In Akan society, male elders controlled land and agricultural production.