Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Social Stratification and Political Organization

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Social Stratification and Political Organization"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Stratification and Political Organization
Chapters 10-12 Social Stratification and Political Organization

2 Social Control Exists to ensure a certain degree of social conformity
Some people may resist conformity Norms Laws

3 Most non-state societies have a comparatively high degree of personal security…why?
Small size of the bands and villages The central importance of domestic groups and kinship in their social organization The absence of marked inequalities in access to technology and resources

4 Descent Groups and Social Organization Beyond Kin
Clans and other complex descent groups expand the basic family relationships of kin groups to provide a wider set of social structures welded together by obligations Sources of conflict between these larger groups are numerous Practices and institutions to mitigate these conflicts become necessary

5 Social Control in Small-scale Societies
In foraging societies, formal laws are rare Punishment is often through naming and shaming Punishment is legitimized through belief in supernatural forces Capital punishment is rare

6 Social Control in States
Increased specialization of tasks relating to law and order Process is more formal and based on law Use of capital punishment

7 Political Anthropology
Who has it; who doesn’t Governments Political Anthropologists address the area of human behavior and thought related to power Morality and law Degrees of power Social conflict and social control Bases of power Abuses of power Political and religious power

8 Social Inequality and the Law
Critical legal anthropologists examine the role of law in maintaining power relationships through discrimination against indigenous people, women and minorities.

9 Why Kin Groups Aren’t The Answer to All Our Problems
Optimal Size of Kin Groups is small, about 200 people Kinship ethics don’t always levy adequate sanctions (there are social reasons against it) Long-term and immediate problems in relationships between kin groups are difficult to solve: Intermarriage is the only really permanent “glue”

10 Social Conflict Interpersonal conflict Banditry Feuding
Ethnic conflict Revolution Warfare Nonviolent conflict

11 Interpersonal Conflict
Covers verbal arguments to murder Between neighbors over resources or territory, e.g. Gwembe Valley Between neighbors over dogs, e.g. middle-class Americans

12 Feuding The most universal form of inter-group aggression
Based on revenge Some cultures experience more feuding because of economic change


14 Nonviolent Conflict Gandhi Weapons of the weak Non-violent resistance
Public fasting Strikes Celibacy Weapons of the weak Foot dragging, desertion, false compliance, humor

15 Mobilizing Public Opinion
Within Kin-Based systems disputes are settled on the basis of who has the most kin support (public opinion) The general principle of dispute settlement, and leadership, is mobilization of public opinion How far claims can be pressed depends on an individual’s willingness to suffer social penalties and his/her social backing Example: Inuit Song Contests

16 Social Control of Behavior
Ways societies deal with abnormal behavior and conflict: Gossip and ridicule Fear of witchcraft accusations Avoidance Supernatural sanctions

17 Law Law is found in every society.
In complex societies, functions of law belong to legal institutions, such as courts. Law addresses conflicts that would otherwise disrupt community life.

18 Aboriginal Youth and Justice
More likely to receive the most severe outcomes from criminal justice decision-makers than white youth More likely to be classified as “undependable” More likely to appear in court rather than Children’s Aid Panels - Gale 1990

19 Politics and the Social Contract
Social Contract - a public contract where people agree to band together for some purpose - often highly structured in the realm of what we call "politics“ Politics - the spatial aspect of social force Institutions control the use of force within a territorial framework (chiefdom or state)

20 Politics The power to bring about results through authority or influence through possession of forceful means A human universal? No, politics only emerged with increase in private property Yes, there is no boundary between how kinship and political organizations organize power

21 In Political Analysis You Must Understand:
the territorial extent and organization of the society how space and resources are divided the social system through which force is allocated to and by different individuals playing different roles how that system is viewed by those living in it the institutional control of force by warfare: the maintenance of territory from outsiders the institutional control of force by law enforcement: maintenance of territory from insiders

22 Egalitarian Societies
No individual or group has more access to resources, power, or prestige than any other. No fixed number of social positions for which individuals must compete. Associated with bands and tribes.

23 Shamans and Public Opinion
Shamans: Part-time religious, healing, or magic specialists Shamans may attribute forces to enemies, both within and without Shamans may prescribe social solutions in the guise of magic Shamans may organize the group around perceptions and supernatural commands.

24 Headmanship Headmen are individuals whose opinion carries more weight than others. They lead by example A good headman can judge the prevailing opinions and gauge his statements to them Motivation by example is the chief tool of the headman

25 The Leopard Skin Chief The Leopard Skin Chiefs are an institution among the Nuer (Sudan). Mediate the disputes arising out of homicide Can ritually cleanse the murderer Negotiates compensation Curses those who would break the settlement

26 Non-kin Associations: Sodalities
Sodality: A non-kin group or association within a society organized around kinship groups Age Grade Associations Provides convenient way to teach youth Allocates civic responsibilities Single Sex Associations (often combined with other factors, e.g. age) Agreement or Voluntary Groups Vary widely in form Organized for almost any purpose imaginable Slight differences in the structures of parallel organizations

27 Rank Society Institutionalized differences in prestige but no restrictions on access to basic resources. Individuals obtain what they need to survive through their kinship group. Associated with horticulture or pastoral societies with a surplus of food. Associated with chiefdoms.

28 Stratified Society Formal, permanent, social and economic inequality.
Some people are denied access to basic resources. Characterized by differences in standard of living, security, prestige and political power.

29 Stratified Society Economically organized by market systems (usually).
Based on intensive cultivation (agriculture) and industrialism. Often associated with a form of political organization called the state.

30 Social Stratification
Societies place people in categories. Social groups relate differently to each other depending on their status. Achieved Status Ascribed Status Class Race Ethnicity Caste

31 Dimensions of Stratification
Power—control resources in one’s own interest. Wealth—accumulation of material resources or access to the means of producing these resources. Prestige—social honor or respect.

32 Ascribed Vs. Achieved Status
Ascribed Status Social position into which a person is born. (sex, race, kinship group) Achieved Status Social position that a person chooses or achieves. (professor, criminal, artist)

33 Social Class in the United States
Status depends on occupation, education, and lifestyle. “The American Dream,” is based on the democratic principle of equality and opportunity for all. Social class in the United States correlates with attitudinal, behavioral, and lifestyle differences.

34 Caste System System of stratification based on birth.
Movement from one caste to another is not possible. Castes are hereditary, endogamous, ranked in relation to one another and usually associated with a traditional occupation.

35 Hindu Caste System Four caste categories
Brahmins - priests and scholars Kshatriyas - ruling and warrior caste Vaisyas - the merchants Shudras - menial workers and artisans Harijans – “untouchables”

36 U.S. Racial Stratification Systems
Race is constructed on the basis of skin color and presumed ancestry. Divides people into “blacks” and “whites” ignoring the reality of the skin color spectrum. By the 20th century, the system of race in the American south was very similar to the caste system in India.

37 Race Stratification in the U.S. and Brazil
Two largest multiracial societies in the Americas. In both societies the legacy of slavery continues in the form of racial inequality. Brazil: 45% of nonwhite families and 25% of white families live below the poverty line. U.S.: 30% of nonwhite families and 8% of white families live below the poverty line.

38 Types of Social Groups Friendship Clubs and fraternities
Counterculture groups Work groups Cooperatives Activist groups

39 Friendship amongst the urban poor
A cultural universal Can be gender and race segregated Institutional relationships (e.g. prison) Friendship Usually between social equals Sometimes based on shared story-telling

40 Clubs and Fraternities
Define membership on shared identity Can serve economic and political roles Men’s clubs featuring male-male bonding activities are common often involve objectification and mistreatment of women some US college fraternities

41 Counterculture Groups
Feature in industrialized societies Members desire to be identified with a special group youth gangs initialization rituals a leader special clothing body modification groups

42 Work Groups Organized to perform particular task
Prominent in horticultural and agricultural communities Often made up of youth groups

43 Cooperatives Surpluses are shared among the members
One person, one vote Farmer cooperatives e.g. in western India Craft cooperatives e.g. in Panama

44 Activist Groups Formed with the goal of protesting certain conditions such as political repression or human rights violations e.g. CO-MADRES Also formed because of concerns about personal problems e.g. AA

45 Civil Society Diverse interest groups that operate outside the government to organize aspects of life the Church Trade Unions Environmental groups

46 “We conclude that the concept of “race” has no validity as a biological category in the human species. Because it homogenizes widely varying individuals, it impedes research and understanding of the true nature of human biological variations.” AAA Statement on Race, 1996 Race

47 Types of Political Organizations
Bands Headman Tribes Headman / Big-man Chiefdoms Chief States King/Queen/ President

48 Band Societies ~ Summary
Related by blood or marriage Live together and are loosely associated with a territory in which they forage Egalitarian

49 Bands Foraging groups Comprises a small group of households
Between 20 and a few hundred people Membership is flexible Leader is “first among equals” Leader has no power, only authority and influence

50 Band Societies: Leadership
Decision-making is by consensus. Leaders are older men and women. Leaders cannot enforce their decisions; They can only persuade. Sharing and generosity are important sources of respect.

51 Band Societies: Social Order
Maintained by gossip, ridicule, and avoidance. Violations of norms are sins. Offenders may be controlled through ritual means such as public confessions. Offender is defined as a patient rather than a criminal.

52 Tribes ~ Summary Members consider themselves descended from the same ancestor. Found primarily among pastoralists and horticulturalists. Egalitarian Leadership: Bigman

53 Big-Man Societies Big Man: A local entrepreneur who successfully mobilizes and manipulates wealth on behalf of his group in order to hold feasts and enhance his status and rank relative to other leaders in the region. He has no formal authority or power, nor does he necessarily have more wealth.

54 Tribal Societies Horticulture and pastoralism dominant, sometimes limited agriculture Comprises several bands, each with similar lifestyle, language and territory Leadership combines both achieved and ascribed statuses Leader resolves conflict Leader relies on authority and influence

55 Big-man, big-woman Personalistic, favor-based leadership
Heavy responsibilities in regulating internal affairs Often, sons of big-men are big-men too Common in Papua New Guinea - Sahlins 1963, Strathern 1971

56 Chiefdoms ~ Summary Allied tribes and villages under one leader
More centralized and complex Heritable systems of rank Social stratification Chiefship is an “office” Achievement is a measure of success

57 Chiefdom Societies Characteristics: Monumental architecture
Distinct ceremonial centers Elaborate grave goods reflect high social status Larger settlements by smaller villages Cultivators and pastoralists

58 Definition of a State A formal organization of roles in which legal and military authority is vested and in which authority is considered by the members of the state to be its primary function A special group charged with allocating authority to use physical force to achieve peace and conformance with law and custom and to maintain territorial integrity against external threats

59 State Societies Central government with monopoly over the use of force. More populous, heterogeneous, and powerful than other political organizations. Able to organize large populations for coordinated action. Defend against external threats.

60 Characteristics of States
Define citizenship and rights Maintain law and order Maintain standing armies Keep track of their citizens Have the power the tax Power to manipulate information Hierarchical and patriarchal

61 Political Change in States Today
Nation v. State The Kurds Transnational Nations Puerto Rico Democratization Soviet Union Women in politics Become “like men”? Globalization

62 WAR Armed conflict between groups of people who constitute separate territorial teams or political communities Some groups seldom, if ever, war while with others it is endemic Interpersonal violence and armed conflict are a tendency of all societies when certain internal or external pressures arise

63 WAR IS: A significant factor in demographic and political change within the last 10,000 years Attested to by a great deal of archaeological evidence worldwide Not innate per se, but in historical terms it seems to be one of the universally recurring realities of human existence all Hell, as General W.T. Sherman once noted

64 Warfare Among Hunter-gatherers
Depending on the circumstances, low-level conflict can and does occur between foragers Yet hunter-gatherers seldom try to annihilate each other. Why? The loss of 2 male individuals per generation in a band of 30 represents more than 10 percent of all adult male deaths Small bands cannot sustain fatalities at these levels and survive. Protection of women from violent death is even more critical from the biological standpoint. Why?

65 Warfare Among Hunter-gatherers
Armed conflict between simple hunter-gatherers usually takes the form of personal feuds between individuals; typically older men who have long-standing conflicts. Just as in other social animals, conflict between groups of hunter-gatherers is more frequent during periods of population pressure and environmental stress.

66 Warfare Among Sedentary Village Societies
Warfare is much more common among sedentary populations than with foragers The more people have invested in fixed elements in their environment the more likely they are to defend it. Sedentary groups cannot resolve disputes by moving off to another location. Example: Among the Yanomami almost 33% of all male deaths and 7% of female deaths were due to armed conflict.

67 Why War? War as instinct: War is innate.
Not all societies are warlike, and most societies only war occasionally. There are alternatives to war which are often chosen. If it were deeply instinctive, the complex means of conflict resolution and social organization would not evolve.

68 Why War? War as sport and Entertainment
Martial arts, war movies, war games, guns and military paraphernalia, are all very popular. People are fascinated with war In the United States the majority of people do not have any concept of what war is really about. And, in large part, some of modern warfare has been “sterilized” through the use of stand-off weaponry. No one who has been in direct combat views it as entertainment. As historian Stephen Ambrose puts it, it is the worst experience a human being can find themselves in. In the past people had to kill others with their bare hands. It was brutal, direct, and required an immense amount of courage. War is terrible destructive, especially to non-industrial societies. The cost in resources is very high in most cases.

69 Why War? War as revenge: This is frequently the stated motivation in many non-state conflicts. However, all societies have ways to circumvent war for revenge, and all societies have ways in which the aggrieved parties can choose not to retaliate indefinitely So revenge may be an emic explanation, but it is not an underlying and universal cause for warfare.

70 Why War? War as a struggle for Reproductive Success
The warriors get the girls, and the successful warriors (who live, and gain prestige as well as plunder) get more of the girls. Warriors have status and are intimidating to others. HOWEVER, those who live by the sword usually die by the sword. Men who are aggressive warriors typically die young, and are often pre-occupied with the conflicts to the detriment of their family life.

71 Why War? War as a Struggle for material benefits
In general warfare is expensive in terms of human costs, but the larger the society the more able they are to absorb these costs. The immediate material gains of war may be significant despite the casualties. less than 1% of male deaths in Europe and the U.S. have been battlefield deaths in the last century, and that includes WWI where almost ¼ of the Entire European male population died, and WWII where over half a billion people were killed.

72 Why War: Conclusions Band and village people go to war when they lack alternative solutions to conflicts related to procuring resources in response to population pressure and environmental depletion. Chiefdoms and States go to war because it is the primary means by which the ruling elite solidifies control, gains resources, and acquires territory.

Download ppt "Social Stratification and Political Organization"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google