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A pragmatic approach of hierarchical relationships: dissymmetric positions, efficacy of action and status gradation in Wallis Island

Abstract : The interest of the hierarchical opposition (Dumont) as an analytical model and its heuristic worth have been shown for the understanding of social facts, in particular in the Pacific, where it sheds light on some aspects of the organization of status societies. This paper aims at understanding the functioning of a Wallis hierarchical opposition from a different perspective. The issue of the organization of what Dumont called “idées-valeurs” will be set aside to give way to a more pragmatic approach of interactions, where social relationships find at once shape and signification. Thus, the study focuses on the particular position implied by “seniority”. That is the setting of a dissymmetric relationship in which a “senior” entity, of superior status, has a mediating position with the other entities of the socio-cosmic world for the benefit of an entity considered as younger. This relationship is characterized in terms of efficiency and authority; its effects are tested, evaluated and validated. Thus, “seniority” is a fundamental value that organizes the society according to its ideology, and it is also the principle that generates social dynamics through the need for reiteration of the efficacy which it supposes. The manifestation and validation of this efficient relationship imply an incessant commitment of people in the socio-cosmic world, where they find their position in an ever-changing gradation of status.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02486430
Contributor : Sophie Chave-Dartoen <>
Submitted on : Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 11:22:35 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 4, 2020 - 1:44:04 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-02486430, version 1

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Sophie Chave-Dartoen. A pragmatic approach of hierarchical relationships: dissymmetric positions, efficacy of action and status gradation in Wallis Island. European Society for Oceanists 2018 Conference, European Society for Oceanists, Dec 2018, Cambridge, United Kingdom. ⟨halshs-02486430⟩

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