Dominance Hierarchy

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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)"pack structure", caste system
See alsoBDSM AU, Alpha/Beta/Omega AU, Sentinel and Guide, werewolf
Related articles on Fanlore.

Dominance Hierarchies, often genetically determined, exist in many canons and fanworks.

The dominance hierarchy is often related to a character's status in their society, and it is frequently related to their role in mating or pairing off. Some fandoms have a canonical hierarchy, for example Blake's 7, which has Alpha & Delta characters, a concept often explored in more detail in fanfiction.

In fanworks or canons with werewolves -- and in some lacking werewolves -- this type of hierarchy may be described as a "pack structure" with (based on outdated notions of lupine behavior and societies subsequently found to be erroneous) an Alpha (wolf or male), who may be paired with an Alpha female or with a non-Alpha, a second-in-command Beta, etc.

Some types of Alternate Universes posit societies where one type of character may have more opportunities or freedom of choice available to them than their counterparts in the dominance hierarchy. For example:


  1. ^ For example, Take Clothes Off As Directed by Helen, which queries aspects of the BDSM AU Xanthe established in General and Dr. Sheppard.