Advanced Horticultural Societies

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AdvancedHorticultural Societies

AdvancedHorticultural societies

PrimaryComponents of Social Stratification

Socialstratification is a system that ranks individuals in a hierarchy. Theranking can be based on wealth, social status or authority(Gorlinski, 2013). Gorlinski further states that the position ofindividuals in the hierarchy has influences one’s family as well associal life. In advanced horticultural societies, stratification wasa very common practice due to societal advancement. Societiesimproved farming practices and techniques (Angle, 2011).

According toAngle, the stratification system intensifies as societies advanceregarding wealth and more complicated social structures arise. Inthe nations that had gone a step ahead, their methods of farming weredeveloped, and the division of labor was marked. The society assuresbetter food supply and the availability of surplus. The existence ofsurplus results to the specialization of roles. Availability ofadequate food means that some people no longer have to engage in foodproduction.

The art of metalwork was a success for many societies as they shifted from simplehorticulture to more technical agriculture by making weapons andtools. This period was characterized by rapid increases in populationand variations of people socially began to take shape.

Horticulturegreatly differs from subsistence agriculture. In agricultureploughing and cultivation are done on large tracts of land. Advancedhorticulture uses simple tools such as digging sticks and hoes forcultivation. In horticultural technologies, there is access to thehighest layers which quickly get depleted their mineral resources andremain bare while the subsistence strategy allows access to the deep,fertile layers of the soil

Structure of the Society Maintaining the Ranking System

Socialstratification in advanced societies led to the rise of a formalizedand organized societal structure (Keister, 2012). Kinship tiesunited the members of the society. They were the simplest socialstructures. Close family members maintained ties for generations inthe villages, and together they formed a clan. The head of a clan wasthe most authoritative and influential individual. Advancedhorticultural societies sometimes consist of many people theysupport specialists producing various products such as boats, salt,shells, pottery, utensils and war items.

In the advancedhorticultural societies, the land is communally owned and inheritedthrough males. Women are the most active economically. They areengaged in production for their kinsmen and husbands. Women transfertheir kin group through marriage from their father’s to theirmarriage partners. Women hold very low status in their new homesafter marriage. They barely achieve any respect or influence untilold age.

When people inthe advanced horticultural societies came to the realization thatspecialization was crucial in the society, they integrateddifferentiation in their daily practices. Differentiation enhancedadaptation to new environmental conditions.

The politiciansand the chiefs were obliged to be pious and generous in theirdealings. They distributed food and other resources in theirvillages. Selfishness was greatly condemned by the society. In thecase of chiefs and other politicians being selfish would result inloss of fame and popularity. It could also lead to loss of power. Thepolitical leaders had to try all efforts to seek popularity andinfluence in their villages.

Relationshipbetween Components to the Subsistence Strategy and Economic


There is asexual division of labor hence increasing production. Women areassigned to the simple chores and tasks while men do the hard tasks.The chiefdom was a social unit that developed due to the need tounite different villages. It was a form of political organizationthat came to emerge among the advanced horticultural societies. Thechiefdom unified people politically. Many small villages wereintegrated into a single unit for ease of administration.

Theadministrative officials, supervisors, chiefs and ceremonialattendants, high priests and warriors were given high status in thesociety. Specialists who worked fulltime were freed from tasks in thefarms and became consultants. During the advanced horticulturalsocieties, political systems were hereditary. The chief’s presidedover important ceremonies such as harvesting, the organization ofpeople on the farms and also led conquests (Angle, 2011). Craftworkers, entrepreneurs and people in other specialties requiredassurance of being before they could shift from horticulture totrade. Assurance of subsistence provided for smooth, consistent andsteady economic distribution as societal members served in theirvarious specialties.

TheRole Played by Religion and Belief

The relationshipbetween religion and social stratification is a complicated one.Religious stratification is evident when members of some religions orreligious groups have more access to power, privilege, prestige andother resources. Whether religious preferences causes socialstratification or vice versa or are the results of other factors is atopic of debate.

According toKarl Marx, religion offers a worldview that helps maintain socialinequality by justifying oppression. Religion has been viewed as aforum that justifies and promotes the ills of society, includingsocial class and stratification. According to social conflict theory,the inequalities and injustices existent in the society such as race,class or gender stratification are reflected within the religiousinstitutions.

Conflictanalysis theorists assert that religion legitimizes oppression andsupports maintenance of the status quo in the society. They alsobelieve that religious practices and rituals define group boundarieswithin the society, thereby supporting an “us vs. them “mentality.Owing to the fact that most religious have historically beenpatriarchal in nature, the us-them mentality extends stratificationof genders within religious organizations, with males being allowedpositions of power and authority while women are assigned tosubservient roles.

According toMarx, religion is more of an idea rather than faith. It lays moreemphasis on social demands and aspirations than on spirituality. Hebelieved that religion is more of a doctrine of the rulers. Religionsupports the status quo. In this approach, smaller groups end upbelieving in the superiority of the social order which pins them downby internalizing the ideology of the royalty. Rather than supporting,social change and growth, Marx believed that religion hinders them byempowering inferior groups to lay their eyes on the otherworldlythings (Anderson &ampTaylor, 2002).

Smith and Farris(2005) found that there are four requisites necessary for thedevelopment of religious stratification religious pluralism,religious prejudice, competition and differential power. Religiouspluralism occurs when many different religions coexist within asociety. The second condition is prejudice. Most religions can existtogether and can admire what is good in each other. However, if thecompetition of a scarce resource such as land occurs, it can lead tostratification. Differences in power can cause social stratificationwhen the larger and more powerful religions tend to dominate over thesmaller ones. When the smaller religious organizations feel inferior,they may tend to resist the dominance of the larger organizations.


Angle, J.(2011).The Surplus Theory of Social Stratification and SizeDistribution of Personal Wealth. Social Forces, GS (2), 293

Gorlinski, G.(2013).The History of Agriculture. New York: Britannica EducationalPub in association with Rosen Educational Services.

Keister, L,McCarthy. &amp Finke, R. (2012). Religion Work and Inequality. ,Bingley, U.K: Emerald

Advanced Horticultural Societies

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AdvancedHorticultural Societies

AdvancedHorticultural Societies

Horticulturalsocieties have agricultural structures that are relativelyunproductive for each human labor unit compared to plow farming andmore complex than gathering and hunting. Horticultural Societies arebasically distinguished from gathering and hunting societies throughthe use of domesticated plants as the primary source of subsistence(Pintelon, Cantillon, Bosch, &amp Whelan, 2013). The aspect ofhorticultural societies is technically distinguished from theagrarian societies through their lack of animals and traction plowsand also from pastoral societies since they do not utilizedomesticated animals their primary source of subsistence.

Primarycomponents of social stratification that define advancedhorticultural societies

Accordingto Pintelon et al. (2013), social stratification is considered to beof ranking individuals in accordance with their defined componentssuch as wealth, power or authority, and a measure of social prestige.Social stratification is also known as a hierarchical composition ofthe society. Pintelon et al. further affirms that power in astratification scheme controls each part of the family life in thewhole community. According to advanced horticultural societies, ameasure of social prestige was the sole aim of the period as diversesocieties advanced by enhancing the systems and techniques of farmingsince it was considered to be a means that represents wealth. Systemstratification rises as societies develop in terms of prosperity andthe difficulty of the social structures increases. Basing on advancedhorticultural societies, the farming approaches were more effective,and the divisions of labor were also important. The aspect of wealthwas considered to be a major breakthrough and a landmark for diversesocieties as they are moved from easy horticulture by creating toolsand weapons because during that particular period, the inhabitantsimproved and the communities started to differ in accordance withsocial status and characteristics they have. According to Weber, theGermany sociologist, the scarce resources used to rank individualsare the power sources in society. Social status was important aspectsthat demonstrated authority over the people and that are enhancedindividuals realize that skills specialization was vital in thesociety. Therefore, the primary components of social stratificationpromote the adaptation process to new requirements and conditionsthat are when artisans, blacksmiths, and entrepreneurs among otherexperts considered as significant people in the culture.

Howthe society structure maintains the ranking system

Theaspect of social stratification in highly developed horticulturalsocieties resulted in the emergence of an organized and recognizedsocial structure. The ties of kinship in the horticultural societiesunified the members together as they were considered to be theeasiest social structures. Closest members of the family sustainedfamily ties for individuals in the villages that formed a clan.Basically, the head of the clan was the person who had the strongestpower and had a big control within the families. According to Turner,&amp Maryanski (2015), diverse clans had diverse forms of prestige,some of the clans` preferred livestock’s over plants while otherneeded to have big pieces of land so as to be considered as wealthysocieties. Kinship basically remains the most vital means oforganizing social interaction and plays a nearly similar role asillustrated for these particular societies. Kingship emphasizes tiesthrough the female line rather than in horticultural societies sinceresidents of such villages retained a close non-king coordination andrelationship that leads to the appearance of political specialistsand artisans. Political organizations in the sophisticatedhorticultural period were politicians and hereditary typically theChiefs structured fairly large scale political influence and powers.Powers of chieftainship were more elaborated and comprised of astratified command line as the Chiefs headed over diverse villages’functions like organizing individuals to participate in farms andpresiding over ceremonials like harvesting.

Comparisonof the components relationship to the economic distribution andsubsistence strategy

Accordingto Lenski (2013), these components gave out the foodstuff either asloans or gifts to the poor since both the chiefs and the politicianshad a big responsibility of portraying kindness and condemningself-interest in the whole community. They dispersed resources andfood as a charitable example. The aspect of generosity led toconsiderable loss of support and popularity and could result in lossof power. According to McLeod (2013), entrepreneurs, crafts andblacksmiths specialists among other diverse specialists needed somesubsistence assurance before they could switch from horticulture totrade. The subsistence assurance ensured that there was a smootheconomic distribution, steady and consistent to them as they servethe community in diverse capacities. The responsibilities, specialty,and roles of the individuals in the horticultural society permittedsome types of social difficulty since full-time experts were relievedof the cultivating duties into farms and they also participated asthe society consultants.

Rolesplayed by religions and beliefs in establishing and maintainingsocial stratification

Religionsand belief were important as it supplied and reinforced theappearance of reality and this is the reason why religion becomes oneof the unending factors which relates diverse forms of differenceinto a sequence of stratification. Researchers have found thatreligious stratification tends to deserve a lot of attention than ithas it has previously got, it’s becoming a recurring development insocieties that are diverse religiously, but once it becomes implantedin societies customs, laws and ideologies then it will tend topersist because normally religion has societal consequences.Therefore, religion and belief played a vital role in ensuring thatit maintains stratification simply because religion has apparentlybecome necessary in the fact that the society that the human is infind unity primarily through the possession by the members of aparticular ultimate virtue that ends in common (Turner, &ampMaryanski, 2015). According to Karl Marx theory he states thatreligion offers a worldview that assists in maintaining socialdiscrimination by mitigating impressions and believes that serves asan institution that perpetuates and justifies the evils in thesociety which comprise of both the social stratification and socialclass. Instead of only caring social injustice and resolvingconflicts, then the conflict analysis approach has viewed religion asa center of the intergroup conflict. According to the disagreementperspective on the social injustice and inequalities that are therein the society are being reflected within the institutions ofreligious.


Inconclusions, social stratification theories are significant not onlyfor our own understanding but also provides a basis on whichlegislators and politicians developed social policies (Lenski, 2013).Stratification is simply the division of the society into levels thatare based on socioeconomic status and power, while religiousstratification is the dissection of society into hierarchical layersupon the premise of affiliation, religious beliefs, and practicesthat involve faith.


Lenski,G. E. (2013). Powerand privilege: A theory of social stratification.UNC Press Books.

McLeod,J. D. (2013). Social stratification and inequality. In Handbookof the sociology of

mentalhealth(pp. 229-253). Springer Netherlands.

Pintelon,O., Cantillon, B., Van den Bosch, K., &amp Whelan, C. T. (2013). Thesocial stratification

ofsocial risks: The relevance of class for social investmentstrategies. Journalof European social policy,23(1),52-67.

Turner,J. H., &amp Maryanski, A. (2015). Onthe origin of societies by natural selection.Routledge.

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