Cultural Anthropology
Chapter Seven
Political Systems

Lecture Outline Two

III. Types of Political Organization

1. Band
    Examples of Band level society:
• San (Ju/’hoansi, !Kung) of Kalahari
• Inuit of Arctic Circle
    • foragers who travel in small bilateral kindred groups with exogamous marriage patterns to maximize contacts

A. Subsistence pattern = typically foragers
• Somewhat nomadic
-Regular seasonal path as exploit plants or game
-Groups often break apart and regroup seasonally
• Carry possessions
-Limits material belongings
• Small population size
• Low population density
• Very small communities

B.  Social Stratification and Economic patterns
• Egalitarian
- All in an age-sex category have equal access to prestige & resources.
• Typically no private property
- No ownership of land
- Share all resources.
• Organized by kinship
- Bilateral kindred
- Exogamous
• Distribution mostly through reciprocity
• No full time specialists

C. Political organization is informal
• Lowest degree of political integration (decentralized)
 - Various bands = independent, autonomous units
• Political life is an integrated part of social life   
• Informal decision-making, made by consensus of members
- Decision agreed upon by whole group
or
- Group accepts decision made by the best-qualified member
• Headman status achieved through community recognition of his skills, good sense, humility
- Role informal
- Authority limited
 • Conflict resolution by direct negotiation
- Decisions made by consensus of members
- Group decisions enforced by scorn, gossip, ridicule, ostracism, mediation

2. Tribe
    Examples of Tribe level society:
• Nuer - organized through kinship groups (lineage system)
• Cheyenne - organized through association groups (military societies)
• Kapauku of West New Guinea - organized through Big Men
• Example: Nuer
    • Similar to band in some ways, but differ in potential for temporary integration of local band-like groups into a larger whole.

A. Subsistence pattern = typically horticulture or pastoralism
• More sedentary
• Population higher/more dense
• Small communities

B.  Social Stratification and Economic patterns
• Egalitarian nature similar to band
• Organized by kinship and descent
• Distribution mostly through reciprocity
• No full time specialists

C. Political organization is informal
• As situations arise that call for inter-group cooperation of some kind, pan-tribal group/associations act to integrate a number of local groups into a larger unit.
•  No centralized government (decentralized)
• Political life is an integrated part of social life
•  No individuals with coercive authority
• The organizing unit may be based on:
 - Kinship and descent lines
 - Age Grades
 - Common Interest Associations
 - Organizer of redistribution event (Big Man)
 • Leadership is temporary, informal
 - No full time political specialists
 - Is based on varying attributes depending on need/organizing unit
        * Kinship, age, respect, integrity, aggressiveness, wisdom, etc.
- Personal traits of leadership = wisdom, intelligence, integrity, concern for welfare of others
 • Advise is sought
 - there is no formal means of coercion 
 - can induce members to abide by group decisions through internalized means
        * Gossip, criticism, belief that disease is caused by antisocial actions.

3. Chiefdom
    Examples of Tribe level society:    
• Polynesian societies of South Pacific including Fiji, Hawaii, Tahiti
• Kpelle of Liberia 
    • Some formal structure (council or chief) which unifies or integrates multi-community political units.

A. Subsistence pattern= Horticulture, pastoralism, agriculture
• Sedentary
• More sophisticated technology; some surpluses
• Population higher
• Population more dense
• Large (and smaller) communities
• Communities more permanent

B.  Social Stratification and Economic patterns
 • Rank society
 - unequal access to status, position and prestige (sometimes wealth).
 - each member has a position in the hierarchy. 
 - rank based on kinship and descent (relation to chief)
 - Some part-time political specialists
• Organized by kinship and descent  
• Distribution through reciprocity and redistribution
 - Increased economic productivity
• Some part-time /full-time specialists

C. Political organization
•  More centralized government
    - several political units, each with own chief, may be unified under paramount chief
• Political life is an integrated part of social life  
•  Chief has more centralized, somewhat coercive authority
• Leadership under chief(s)
 - Generally accumulates and redistributes resources
 - Organizes labor
 - Directs military activities
 - Supervises religious festivals and may acquire religious status 
• Position is sometimes hereditary and generally more or less permanent
• Chief and family/followers may have more access to prestige & resources
• Chief has somewhat coercive authority, but typically does not have compelling power
- often followed because respected and has religious justification of actions

4. State
    Examples of State level societies
• Swazi of Swaziland in Southeast Africa
• Aztecs and Maya of Meso-America.
    • Political power is centralized in a government that can legitimately use force to regulate internal and external affairs.

A. Subsistence pattern = Intensive agriculture with high productivity
• Vast surpluses of goods and services
• Large, sedentary populations, dense in some areas
• Emergence of permanent cities

B.  Social Stratification and Economic patterns
• Stratified societies
-  Class/Caste societies in which groups have unequal access to power, prestige and economic resources
• Distribution through Market exchange, redistribution and reciprocity.
• Extensive specialization
• Foreign trade

C. Political organization
• Complex centralized political structure
- relatively permanent institutions with legislative, executive, and judicial   functions and a bureaucracy
•  Based on residence & citizenship rather than kinship
• State has power to
- collect taxes
- draft men for work or war
- decree and enforce laws
• State has monopoly on use of force and physical coercion
- can use legitimate force to implement policies externally & internally
• Ideology: citizens accept state’s legitimate right to govern

IV. Social Control
1. Every society must ensure that most of the people behave themselves in appropriate ways most of the time.
    • Social Norms
- normal, proper, or expected ways of behaving.
    • Deviance
- violation of social norms
    • Sanctions
 - institutionalized ways of encouraging people to conform to the norms
* positive sanctions
* negative sanctions

2. Informal Social Control
• Socialization
• Public opinion
• Corporate lineages
• Supernatural belief systems
• Age organizations

3. Formal Social Control
• Verbal competition
• Intermediaries
• Councils of elders
• Oaths
• Ordeals
• Formal court systems
• Warfare