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Bodley on Societal Class and Power

             Bodley argues that as societies grew in scale, the power within that society was almost completely delegated to the elite class or ruler, and thus elite-directed growth is not a change that benefits society, but that it is and was mandated for the purposes of increasing the elite power and imperia. .
             2. In India, during the years of the early Hindu Kingdom, elites formed naturally. Bodley argues that the occurrence of power consolidation occurred most apparently after 600 B.C. when the use and control of hierarchies, including physical (settlement) and spiritual (caste system, or "varna") to create social stratification became the norm in Indian chiefdoms (Bodley, 2011, p. 298). The elites that ruled these societies positioned themselves in fortified cities, which acted as the centralized point of control in the kingdom. From these city centers the rulers could keep their subjects, especially their most valued, in the city through a sort of social caging. These rulers created complex systems of taxation that included census taking and cooperation with the court system whose laws was based on dharma – the Hindu code of ethics – but was ultimately in the hands of the societies architect, the ruler (Bodley, 2011, p. 301). Money taken from taxes was used to put on large feasts and was also redistributed in the form of gifts, a custom of the time in most relationships including deity worship. This gift giving created "patron-client" relationships that allowed the elite class to indebt and control their subjects through each ruler's chakra. The truest source of secure power and wealth in India, I believe, is the ruling class's ability to manipulate the social order of their society (caste system, ethnicity, kinship, religion) in order to fit their own needs. Thus, having control of the social order gives a great deal of power to a few individuals, who often vied over control of each other's subjects.

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