Social Hierarchy in Indonesia – Measures

In society, you can find people who belong to the rich, medium, and poor. The classification shows that in society there are levels that distinguish between one human with another human. The grouping of societies on the basis of certain levels is called social stratification or social hierarchy.

Social hierarchy in general can be interpreted as a distinction or grouping of members of society vertically. It is a social phenomenon that is common to every society. Even in Ancient Greece, Aristotle (384-322 BC) has stated that within each state there are always three elements, those who are very rich, the destitute, and those who are in the midst of it.

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The Measure

The predominant or dominant measure or criterion as the basis for the formation of social stratification is the measure of wealth, power and authority, honor, and science. Here are the full information about it.

  1. The measure of wealth

It is the possession of one’s possessions judging by the number and material only. Usually people who have large amount of treasure will occupy the top position in the society classification based on these criteria. It also applies in Indonesia.

This measure is used as the parameter for the hierarchy in Indonesia. The people who have no much wealth will be considered as the poor. And those who can earn much money would be considered as rich.

2. Measure of power and authority

It is the possession of one’s power in regulating and controlling the source of production or government. Usually this measure is associated with the status or social status of a person in the political field. In Indonesia, the measure of power and authority is also could be an important hierarchy in government. While they could get better position in the government, it would be easy for them to get the top hierarchy in Indonesia.

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3. Measure of honor

It can be measured from the title of nobility or can also be measured from the side of material wealth. People who have titles accompanying his name, such as Raden, Raden Mas, or Raden Ajeng will occupy the top hierarchy in the society. This is called as feudalism.

Feudalism in Indonesia, especially in Java has some social hierarchy such as: Santono Dalem (the royal family, such as princes, the noble people), Abdi Dalem (the royal servants), Kawula Dalem (the common people).

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4. The measure of science

It means the measure of one’s possession or one’s mastery of a science. This criterion can also be referred to as a measure of intelligence in quality. Based on this measure, a highly educated person, such as a scholar will occupy the top position in social hierarchy in society.

The hierarchy is also measured from the background education that they reach. The people who graduate from doctoral degree would have more prestige than those who graduated from Senior High School only.

The Examples of Social Hierarchy

In general, simple layers of society can be divided into three parts namely upper layer, middle layer, and bottom layer. These layers are found in many forms of social hierarchy in society. Here is an example of a social hierarchy based on economic, social, and politics criteria.

  1. Social Hierarchy in economy

The examples of social hierarchy forms in everyday life can be seen in our environment. The class could be classified as upper, middle, and lower class.

  • Upper class: The groups of people who occupy the upper layers in economic hierarchy such as large entrepreneurs, officials, and professional workers who have a large income.
  • Middle class: Usually occupied by employees, workers, and laborers.
  • Lowest class: the groups that occupy the lowest social layers, among others, homeless, beggars, scavengers, and farm laborers.
  1. Social Hierarchy in social status

Examples of social stratification in society based on their social status in daily life can be seen in the form of caste. This system is one of the relics of Hindu Buddhism in Indonesia. The status couldn’t be changed since it is a descendant.

  • Lower class: Some persons is born as a lower class (sudra), then forever the person will be branded as sudra. This also applies to the offspring of the individual.
  • The middle class: It is called Waisya. The people of Waisya consist of the nobility (knight) and the intellectuals (Brahmin).

This caste system can be seen in the lives of Indian and Balinese people in the last few decades. Formerly caste system in Bali is very influential to life system and procedure of their daily life, such as the social order and marital problems. Today the life of Balinese people is not too strict in separating each caste between the one with the others.

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  1. Social Hierarchy in political system

There are different types of forms of political power, but from these various kinds of power there is a common pattern that can be encountered in forms of power. These patterns are systems of power that always adapt to the customs and patterns of behavior that exist in people’s lives. Coatings in society based on political criteria mean the distinction of population or citizen by division of power.

In political, there are two classes: ruling class and the class is mastered. Often behind this objective the rulers use the idea to prevent the negative impact of social problems by engaging in a system that can be said to curb its people.

Ruling class here is the government with all of his power and status such as President, House of Representatives, and Governor. Then, the lower class is the citizen. Here is the detail of social hierarchy in political of Indonesia.

  • President: President has the highest status in politics. It is the person who leads Indonesia generally.
  • Vice President: Vice president is a lower status than president. He would change the president if something happen to president.
  • Governor: The leader of Province in Indonesia
  • Mayor or Regent: the leader of a city or regency
  • The head of district: the person who lead the district area
  • The head of village: the person who lead the village

In Indonesia, everyone has the same chance to be the part of government. The government system in Indonesia is open hierarchy.

Those are the social hierarchy in Indonesia. Almost of the hierarchy is open, so the people have the great opportunity to change the status. So, in what part hierarchy do you take?