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© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. Mirror for Humanity Conrad Phillip Kottak Fifth Edition Chapter 7 Political Systems
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. Overview Types of sociopolitical organization –Bands –Tribes –Chiefdoms –States
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Anthropological study of political systems –Global and comparative perspective on political systems –Power – ability to exercise one’s will over others –Authority – socially approved use of power –Sociopolitical organization – regulation or management of relations among groups and their representatives –Political regulation – e.g., decision making, conflict resolution
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Types and trends –Types of sociopolitical organization (Service): band, tribe, chiefdom, state –Bands, tribes, and chiefdoms are known archaeologically –Today, all such polities (political entities) exist within nation-states and are subject to state control –Bands – small kin-based groups found among foragers –Tribes: Non-intensive food production (horticulture and pastoralism) Villages Kin groups based on common descent (clans and lineages) Lack of formal government
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Types and trends –Chiefdoms: Intermediate between tribe and state Kin-based like bands and tribes Permanent political structure and differential access to resources (wealth, prestige, power) –States – formal government and socioeconomic stratification
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Types and trends –Service’s typology is overly simple, but it does highlight some significant contrasts in sociopolitical organization (especially those between states and nonstates) States – distinct governments Bands and tribes – political organization not separate and distinct from the total social order
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Types and trends –Correlations between economy and sociopolitical organization: Foragers tended to have band organization Horticulturalists and pastoralists tended to have tribal organization Chiefdoms and nonindustrial states usually had agricultural economies (herding was important in some Middle Eastern chiefdoms) In general, food production larger, denser populations and more complex economies new regulatory problems greater social and political complexity
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Foraging (hunter-gatherer) bands –Modern hunter-gatherers can illustrate links between a foraging economy and other aspects of society and culture –However, modern foragers are not Stone Age relics – have been linked to food producers, influenced by state systems –Traditional foraging societies had two kinds of social groups: nuclear family and band
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Foraging bands –Bands: Impermanent – formed seasonally Particular families that formed a band varied from year to year Marriage, kinship, trade, and visiting created social ties between members of different bands Egalitarianism – status differences were achieved (not ascribed) Leaders were “first among equals” – could give advice or make decisions, but could not enforce decisions Lack of formal law (a legal code with trial and enforcement) Methods of social control and dispute settlement (e.g., song battles among the Inuit)
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Tribal cultivators –No totally autonomous tribes exist today –However, tribal principles continue to operate in some societies (e.g., Papua New Guinea and South America) –Usually a horticultural or pastoral economy –Social organization: Villages Descent groups – kin groups whose members trace descent from a common ancestor –Lack socioeconomic stratification and formal government –Some still conduct small-scale warfare (intervillage raiding)
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Tribal cultivators –Regulatory officials (e.g., village heads, "big men," descent- group leaders, village councils, leaders of pantribal associations) have only limited authority – cannot enforce decisions –Fairly egalitarian Some tribes have marked gender stratification – unequal distribution of resources, power, prestige, and personal freedom between men and women Status is based on age, gender, and personal traits Egalitarianism tends to diminish as village size and population density increase –Horticulturalists tend to live in small villages with low population density, open access to resources
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Tribal cultivators –Village head (e.g., Yanomami) Achieved position Only limited authority – cannot issue orders or force people to do things Must lead by example – can only persuade, harangue, influence May mediate disputes, but no authority to enforce decisions or impose punishments Must be generous Cultivates more land than other villagers (so can be generous) Represents the village in its dealings with outsiders – e.g., hosting feasts to which other villages are invited
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Tribal cultivators –“Big man” Common in societies of the South Pacific, particularly the Melanesian Islands and Papua New Guinea (e.g., Kapauku) Similar to village head, but with supporters in several villages Position achieved through the accumulation of wealth, generosity, eloquence, bravery, physical fitness, and supernatural powers Decisions accepted as binding by supporters Important regulator of regional events (e.g., feasts and markets) Able temporarily to regulate regional political organization – by mobilizing people from several villages
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Tribal cultivators –Tribal leaders (e.g., village heads or big men): Must be generous in order to become (and remain) tribal leaders Must work hard to create a surplus to give away Giving away surpluses converts wealth into prestige and gratitude
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Tribal cultivators –Pantribal sodalities Sodalities – nonkin groups, often based on common age or gender, that link local groups in tribal societies Pantribal sodalities: –Extend across whole tribe, spanning several villages –Sometimes arose in areas where two or more cultures came into regular contact –Especially likely to develop in the presence of intertribal warfare –Able to mobilize a large number of men from multiple villages for attacks or retaliation against other tribes
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Tribal cultivators –Age sets and age grades Age sets – sodalities that include all of the men born during a certain time span Common among tribes of the Great Plains, as well as in eastern and southeastern Africa Members of an age set progress together through a series of age grades (e.g., initiated youth, warrior, adult, elder) In societies with age grades but not age sets, people can progress through the age grades either individually or collectively
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Tribal cultivators –Sodalities Secret societies – sodalities, made up exclusively of men or women, that have secret initiation ceremonies Sodalities based on age, gender, and ritual link members of different local groups – create a sense of ethnic identity
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Nomadic politics –Various kinds of sociopolitical organization are found among pastoralists –As regulatory problems increase, political organization becomes less personal, more formal, and less kinship- oriented –Example: Basseri and Qashqai, pastoral nomadic tribes in Iran Bassari: –Smaller population –Fewer problems in coordinating movements of group –Rights, privileges, duties, and authority of the Bassari leader (khan) were weaker than those of Qashqai khans –Authority of khan derived from personal traits rather than office
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Nomadic politics Qashqai: –Larger population –Complex, hierarchical authority structure and more powerful khans were needed to manage population –Authority of khan derived from office rather than personal traits
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Chiefdoms –Transitional form of sociopolitical organization between tribes and states –Chiefdom and state are ideal types – in reality, there is a continuum from tribe to chiefdom to state –Some societies had many attributes of chiefdoms but retained tribal features, while others (“complex chiefdoms”) had attributes of archaic states
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Chiefdoms –Developed in several parts of the world – e.g., circum- Caribbean, lowland Amazonia, southeastern United States, Polynesia, megalithic cultures of Europe –Social relations based primarily on kinship, marriage, descent, age, generation, and gender (like bands and tribes) –Permanent political regulation of territory (unlike bands and tribes) –Chief and assistants occupy political offices Office – permanent position which must be refilled when it is vacated by death or retirement Structure of a chiefdom endures across generations because offices are refilled systematically
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Chiefdoms –Polynesian chiefdoms – chiefs regulated production, distribution, and consumption –Chiefly redistribution: Products moved up the hierarchy to a central office, then were redistributed during feasts sponsored by the chief Redistribution fulfilled chief’s obligation to share with kin Made goods from different regions available to the entire society Helped manage risk – stimulated production of a surplus and provided a central storehouse for goods that might become scarce during times of famine
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Chiefdoms –Social status was based on seniority of descent –All members of society were believed to have descended from a group of common ancestors Chief had to demonstrate seniority in descent All individuals (even the lowest-ranking) were related to the chief Everyone, including the chief, had to share with relatives –Continuum of social statuses, rather than distinct social classes
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Status systems in chiefdoms and states –Based on differential access to resources – certain individuals have privileged access to power, prestige, and wealth –Chiefdoms: Differential access based on kinship In general, chiefs and their nearest relatives and assistants enjoyed privileged access to resources –States: Clearer class divisions (at least nobles and commoners) Kinship ties do not extend from nobles to commoners Stratum endogamy – marriage within one’s own group –Results in stratification – a key characteristic of states
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems Status systems in chiefdoms and states –Stratification – creation of separate social strata that differ in their access to wealth, prestige, and power –Weber defined three related dimensions of social stratification: Economic status – based on wealth (a person’s material assets) Political status – based on power (the ability to exercise one’s will over others) Social status – based on prestige (esteem, respect, or approval for acts, deeds, or qualities considered exemplary) –In states, the higher (elite) stratum has privileged access to wealth, power, and other valued resources, while the lower (underprivileged) stratum has limited access to resources
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems States –Population control Administrative divisions (e.g., provinces, districts, counties, subcounties, parishes) managed by lower- level officials Reduced importance of kinship in sociopolitical organization Geographic mobility and resettlement are fostered – severs ties between people, land, and kin Different rights and obligations are assigned to different social groups – e.g., citizens vs. noncitizens; members of different social classes (elites, commoners, and slaves); soldiers vs. ordinary civilians
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems States –Judiciary Laws based on precedent and legislative proclamations – regulate relations between individuals and groups Courts and judges to handle disputes and crimes Intervention in family affairs (unlike nonstates) –Enforcement Agents to enforce judicial decisions Governments are concerned with preserving internal order, guarding against external threats, and defending hierarchy, property, and power of the law
© 2007 McGraw-Hil Higher Education. All right reserved. CHAPTER 7 Political Systems States –Fiscal systems Support rulers, nobles, officials, judges, military personnel, and other specialists in a state Some resources collected by a state (e.g., via taxation) are redistributed to citizens; others (often more) are used to support the government and the elite Common people in states usually must work harder than those in nonstates Fiscal systems of archaic states helped to maintain and elaborate class distinctions
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