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Political Systems

Political Systems

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Political Systems

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  1. 17 Political Systems Anthropology:The Exploration of Human Diversity 11th Edition Conrad Phillip Kottak

  2. Political Systems • What is “The Political”? • Types and Trends • Bands and Tribes • Chiefdoms • States • Social Control: Politics, Shame, and Sorcery

  3. What is “The Political?” • Sociopolitical organization preferred in discussing regulation or management of interrelations among groups and their representatives • Many correlations between economy and social and political organization • Political organization is sometimes just an aspect of social organization

  4. Types and Trends • Band—small kin-based group found among foragers • Tribe—economies based on nonintensive food production • Chiefdom—intermediate form between tribe and state • State—formal government structure and socioeconomic stratification • Service (1962) listed four types, or levels, of political organization

  5. Types and Trends • Many sociopolitical trends reflect the increased regulatory demands associated with food production

  6. Bands and Tribes • In foraging societies, only two significant social groups are nuclear family and band • Membership in groups is fluid and can change from year to year • Kin networks, both real and fictive, created and maintained through marriage, trade, and visiting • Foraging Bands

  7. Bands and Tribes • All differences in status are achieved • Foragers lack formal law • Conflict resolution embedded in kinship and social ties • Prestige refers to esteem, respect, or approval for culturally valued acts or qualities • Foraging Bands • Foraging bands egalitarian

  8. Bands and Tribes • Tribes usually have horticultural or pastoral economy and are organized by village life and/or descent-group membership • Social classes and formal government are not found in tribes • Small-scale warfare or intervillage raiding commonly found in tribes • Tribal Cultivators

  9. Bands and Tribes • Officials have limited authority • Lead through persuasion and by example, not through coercion • Tribal Cultivators • The main regulatory officials are village heads, “big men,” descent-group leaders, village councils, and leaders of pantribal associations

  10. Bands and Tribes • Often have marked gender stratification • Status in tribes based on age, gender, and personal traits and abilities • Tribal Cultivators • Like foragers, tribes are egalitarian Horticulturalists are egalitarian and tend to live in small villages with low population density

  11. Bands and Tribes • The Yanomami believe position of village head is achieved and comes with very limited authority • Cannot force or coerce people to do things • Can only persuade, harangue, and try to influence people to do things • The Village Head

  12. Bands and Tribes • The village head must lead in generosity • The Village Head • Village head acts as mediator in disputes but has no authority to back his decision or impose punishments In the last decade, Yanomami suffered greatly from violence and disease, both of which have come from the encroaching mining and ranching industries of Brazil

  13. Bands and Tribes • Like a village head, except his authority is regional and may have influence over more than one village • The big man is common to the South Pacific. • In order to be a tribal leader, a big man, or village head, a person must be generous. • The “Big Man”

  14. Bands and Tribes • The “Big Man” • The big man is a temporary regional regulator who can mobilize supporters from several villages for produce and labor on specific occasions

  15. Bands and Tribes • Among the Kapauku, the big man is the only political figure beyond the household • The position achieved through generosity, eloquence, bravery, physical fitness, and supernatural powers • His decisions binding among his followers • Important regulator of regional events • The “Big Man” among the Kapauku

  16. Bands and Tribes • Location of the Kapauku • Insert Figure 17.2

  17. Bands and Tribes • Sodalities—non-kin-based organizations that may generate cross-societal linkages • Often based on common age or gender • Some confined to a single village • Some span several villages • Called pantribal sodalities • Pantribal Sodalities and Age Grades

  18. Bands and Tribes • Especially where warfare is frequent • Since pantribal sodalities draw their members from several villages, they can mobilize large number of men for raids • Pantribal Sodalities and Age Grades • Tend to be found in areas where two or more different cultures come into regular contact

  19. Bands and Tribes • Pantribal Sodalities and Age Grades • Pressure from European contact created conditions which promoted pantribal sodalities (age sets are one example) among groups of the North American Great Plains of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

  20. Bands and Tribes • Similar to cohort of class of students • Members of age set progress through a series of age grades together • Pantribal Sodalities and Age Grades • Age sets are sodalities that include all of the men born during a certain time span

  21. Bands and Tribes • Pantribal Sodalities and Age Grades • Secret societies are sodalities with secret initiation ceremonies Sodalities create nonkin linkages between people based on age, gender, and ritual and create a sense of ethnic identity and belonging to the same cultural tradition

  22. Bands and Tribes • Nomads must interact with variety of groups, unlike most sedentary societies • Powerful chiefs commonly found in nomadic groups that have large populations (e.g., the Basseri and the Qashqai of southern Iran) • Nomadic Politics

  23. Bands and Tribes • Position achieved • Allegiances are with person, not office • Nomadic Politics • Basseri have smaller population and their chief, khan, similar to village head or big man

  24. Bands and Tribes • Authority can be more coercive • Allegiances are with office, not person • Nomadic Politics • The larger Qashqai have multiple levels of authority and more powerful chiefs

  25. Chiefdoms • Transitional form of sociopolitical organization between tribes and states Carneiro (1970) defines the state as “an autonomous political unit encompassing many communities within its territory, having a centralized government with the power to collect taxes, draft men for work or war, and decree and enforce laws”

  26. Chiefdoms • Unlike band and tribal political systems, chiefdoms and states are permanent • Offices outlast the individuals who occupy them • Political and Economic Systems in Chiefdoms

  27. Chiefdoms • Must be refilled when vacated • Offices ensure sociopolitical organization endures across generations • Political and Economic Systems in Chiefdoms • Office is permanent position of authority that exists independently of person who occupies it

  28. Chiefdoms • Chiefs collect foodstuffs as tribute • Chiefs later redistribute these collected foodstuffs at feasts • Political and Economic Systems in Chiefdoms • Chiefs play an important role in the production, distribution, and consumption of resources

  29. Chiefdoms • Based on seniority of descent • All people in chiefdom believed to have descended from group of common ancestors • Closer the chief is related to founding ancestors, the greater his prestige • Continuum of prestige with the chief at one end and the lowest ranking individuals at the other • The Chief must demonstrate his seniority of descent • Social Status in Chiefdoms

  30. Chiefdoms • Status Systems in Chiefdoms and States Unlike tribal and band organizations, there are systemic status distinctions in chiefly and state societies

  31. Chiefdoms • States characterized by much clearer class divisions than chiefdoms • Social stratification one of key distinguishing features of states • Status Systems in Chiefdoms and States • State and chiefdom status systems based upon differential access to wealth and resources and differential allocation of rights and duties

  32. Chiefdoms • Wealth or economic status • Political status based upon power • Social status based upon prestige • In chiefdoms, three dimensions tied to kinship and descent • In the early states, distinctions in three dimensions appeared between endogamous groups for first time • Weber’s Dimensions of Social Stratification

  33. Chiefdoms • Superordinate stratum was elite or higher class • Had privileged access to wealth, power, and other valued resources • Subordinate stratum was lower or underprivileged class • In archaic states there were contrasts in wealth, power,and prestige between groups

  34. Chiefdoms • Max Weber’s Three Dimensions of Stratification • Insert Table 17.1

  35. Chiefdoms • Economic Basis of and Political Regulation in Bandu Tribes, Chiefdoms, and States • Insert Table 17.2

  36. States • Population control • Judiciary • Enforcement • Fiscal • State Specializations

  37. States • States use administrative divisions to control populations • Displace the role and importance kinship has in bands, tribes, and chiefdoms • Foster geographic mobility and resettlement • Assign differential rights to different status distinctions • Population Control

  38. States • Laws are explicit codes for behavior, issued by the state, and are distinct from the consensual mores and expectations that exist in nonstate societies • The state is unique political system in that it governs family affairs • The presence of laws has not reduced violence • Judiciary

  39. States • Judiciary obligates existence of system of enforcement • Enforcement Judiciary and enforcement typically work to control internal and external conflict and preserve existing state hierarchy

  40. States • State rulers typically perform no subsistence activities • Fiscal system serves to support rulers and ruling structure by collecting portion of that produced by other members of state • Fiscal Systems Fiscal systems of archaic states also worked to maintain and elaborate class distinctions

  41. Social Control: Politics, Shame, and Sorcery • All groups studied by ethnographers, like the Makua, live in nation-states Individuals have to deal with levels and types of political authority and experience forms of social control

  42. Social Control: Politics, Shame, and Sorcery • Ehaya (shame)—thief would experience extended feeling of disgrace • Enretthe (sorcery attack)—believed such punitive sorcery attack would kill thief or make him extremely ill • Cadeia (jail)—last phase of an extended political and legal process • Makua used three main sanctions for social control

  43. Social Control: Politics, Shame, and Sorcery • Efficacy of social control depends on how clearly people envision sanctions that antisocial act might trigger • Shame can be powerful social sanction “Informal” processes of social control include gossip, stigma, and shame Beliefs in sorcery facilitate social control