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Political Organization

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Presentation on theme: "Political Organization"— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Organization
Social Order and Disorder

2 What is the purpose of government?
Turn to a person sitting near you and discuss. Why do we need a government in this country? Better yet, do we need a government to function as a society?

3 Types of Political Organization
Band societies Lack of a centralized authority Nearly all societies before the development of agriculture (ca. 10,000 years ago) were structured in this way Usually small: less than 100 people Varies by season. When more food is available, bands come to together Political decision making? Usually informal Inuit bands – there is a headman who is usually the best hunter or the most versed in rituals

4 Types of Political Organization
Tribal Organizations Kinship groups that act autonomously, but can potentially integrate into a larger unit Anthropological term: multilocal integration Not permanent, still informal in nature Usually called into play when outside threat appears Egalitarian (like band societies) Seen in many African societies, as well as New Guinea


6 Types of Political Organization
Chiefdom Organizations Formal organization – usually a council or a chief Social hierarchy (not egalitarian) w/ chief’s family at the top of the chain Can redistribute goods and public labor on his behalf or others Contrast to Tribal leaders who usually attain their status by personal qualities, chiefs are said to have it in their “blood.” Polynesia: chiefs inherit special religious power called mana Chiefs do not have the power to force people to do things People follow their will because they are respected, and/or control substantial amounts of goods and services which go towards helping the society

7 Types of Political Organization
State Organization “Autonomous political unit encompassing many communities within its territory and having a centralized government with the power to collect taxes, draft men for work or war, and decree and enforce laws.” Complex, centralized political structure Central idea: concept of legitimate force used to implement policies States have a monopoly on police, militia, or a standing army

8 Types of Political Organization
State Organization Can a society be comprised of more than one state? Yes! Ancient Greek city-states, Italian city-states, Germany and Austria today Can a state include more than one society? Yes! British ruling over…well everyone basically, Cantons in Switzerland, Present-day Nigeria Other important factors Usually intensive agriculture, high degree of economic specialization and market economies Class stratification (not egalitarian)

9 Types of Political Organization
State Organization Radically alters people’s access to resources, ability to make their own decisions. So…. Why accept a state society as legitimate? People must believe those in power have a legitimate right to Theories on why societies accept state government Ancient rulers claimed “divine right” – but this is rare now Parental teachings to follow authority No good reason (people in a society are fooled) States must provide real and rational advantages


11 Variation in Political Organization
Why do different types of political organization exist? Size of the society is a huge factor (pun intended) The larger the population, the greater number and types of political officials that exist Cross-cultural survey: The more intensive the agriculture, the greater the likelihood of state organization Here’s the amazing thing: state societies emerged independently in southern Iraq, Egypt, northwest India, and Mexico around 3500 B.C. They were all relatively large societies, but explanation by size and agricultural dependence is too simplistic


13 Spread of the State System
States have waged war against band, tribal, and chiefdom societies – states almost always win British and American colonialism Rapid, world-wide change In 1000 B.C., anywhere from 100,000 to 1 million separate political units existed in the world Today: Fewer than 200 Two trends: Nation-state (think Yugoslavia breaking apart, civil war in Sudan) Political integration (think European Union, NAFTA)

14 vs. Benefits? Disadvantages? Benefits? Disadvantages?

15 Are we moving towards larger political units, or smaller political units?
Is the nation-state still a viable political organization model? What is the purpose of government?

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