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Rank Societies

Rank societies are characterized by inequality in access to recognized prestige statuses although equality in access to resources may obtain. Ranking is most apparent in the political or power domain. The highest in rank is the chief of the society. The position of the chief can be attained only by being his genealogical heir. The chief is the principal organizer and director of all activities within his community. The superior ranking in the social sphere is expressed in the chief’s elaborate regalia including clothing and ornamentation. A chief is addressed with extravagant titles and is treated with respect. Those of the inferior ranking are dressed in simple clothing. They are even required to kneel before the chief while talking to him. According to their relationship to the chief the other members of the society are ranked in descendent order. In rank societies equal access to economic resources obtains. The role of the chief is mainly that of a redistributor. Although he may be designated as the owner of all communal property, his status is above all others because of his generosity or in the magnanimous act of giving away wealth rather than keeping it to self..