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Politic organization
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Politic organization






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Politic organization Politic organization Presentation Transcript

  • How do we organize power?
  • Political organization:  The patterned ways in which power is legitimately used in a society to regulate behaviorVaries in degrees of social differentiation  the relative access individuals and groups have to basic material resources, wealth, power, and prestigeSocial differentiation is related to social complexity:  the number of different groups and their interrelationships in a society
  • Political anthropologists study: Who has power and who does not Degrees of power Bases of power Abuses of power Political organization and government Political leadership roles Relationships between political and religious power Change in political organization and power relationships through globalization and media
  •  Egalitarian societies—no individual or group has more privileged access to resources, power, or prestige than any other  Egalitarian societies have no fixed number of social positions for which individuals must compete Besides age and sex differences, individual differences in skills and personal qualities are recognized They usually operate on the principle of generalized or balanced reciprocity in the exchange of goods and services  Egalitarian societies are associated with the forms of political organization called bands and tribe
  •  Rank society—a society characterized by institutionalized differences in prestige, but with no important restrictions on access to basic resources.  All individuals can obtain the material necessities for survival through their membership in kinship groups Some rank societies had slaves, but slaves had some rights, and their status was not hereditary  Rank societies are based on highly productive horticulture or pastoral societies Redistribution is the characteristic mode of exchange, though balanced reciprocity is also important Social ranking is associated with the form of political organization called chiefdom
  •  Stratified Society- a society characterized by formal, permanent, social and economic inequality  Formal, permanent, social and economic inequality  Some people are denied access to basic resources  Characterized by differences in standards of living, security, prestige and political power  Economically organized by market systems  Based on intensive cultivation (agriculture) and industrialism  Associated with the form of political organization called the state
  • Political organization is based on :  Power: the ability to control resources in one’s own interest  Authority: the ability to cause others to act based on characteristics such as honor, status, knowledge, ability, respect, or the holding of formal public office.
  • Political ideology – the shared beliefs and values that legitimate the distribution and use of power in a particular society  Those who benefit the most from a political ideology will accept it to a greater extent than those who do not  The smaller the percentage of the society that accepts the political ideology, the greater the society’s reliance on power and coercion will likely be.  Both coercion and benefit contribute to maintaining order in almost all societies
  •  Political process- the ways in which individuals and groups use power to achieve public goals.  These goals may include:  Changing the relationships between groups in society.  Changing the relationship of a group to its environment.  Waging war.  Making peace.  Changing a group’s position in the social hierarchy.  Personal profit or prestige.  Altruism and idealism Hegemony – the dominance of a political elite based on a close identification between their own goals and those of the larger society
  •  Formal and informal sources of power and authority  Leadership- the ability to direct an enterprise or action Manipulation of kinship networks  Control over distribution of wealth Political movements based on charisma Factions—informal systems of alliance within well-defined political power to achieve public goals Conflict and violence may support the social order  Rebellion—the attempt of a group within society to force a redistribution of resources and power  Revolution—an attempt to overthrow an existing form of political organization
  •  Law-  Formal method of dealing with conflict and behavior 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 Informal methods of dealing with conflict and behavior:  A major bias for conformity in most societies is the internalization of norms and values  This process begins in childhood, but is also a lifelong process Gossip and ridicule Fear of witchcraft accusations Avoidance (ostracism) Supernatural sanctions
  •  Small group of people (20 to 50) Related by blood or marriage Live together and are loosely associated with a territory in which they forage Egalitarian 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 Exogamous
  •  Social Order and Conflict Resolution  Violations of norms are considered sins, and offenders may be controlled through ritual means such as public confessions, which are directed by a shaman  The offender is defined as a patient, rather than a criminal and is led to confess all the taboos he or she has violated  These confessions are mainly voluntary, though a member of the community may be denounced Because of the low level of technology, lack of formal leadership, and other ecological factors, warfare is largely absent in ban
  • Tribe: a culturally distinct population whose members consider themselves descended from the same ancestor  Found primarily among pastoralists and horticulturalists  Economic institutions are reciprocity and redistribution, although as part of larger states, they may participate in market systems as well  Basically egalitarian, with no important differences among members in wealth, status, and power  Most do not have distinct or centralized political institutions or roles  Leadership: Bigman- a self-made leader who gains power through personal achievements rather than through political office
  • Category of political organization midway between tribes and chiefdomsPersonality, favor-based political groupingsHeavy responsibilities in regulating internal and external affairsLeadership is mainly achievedCommon in Melanesia, the South Pacific
  • Moka is the term for large public feast, with political motives, in highland Papua New GuineaThey are a key part of big-man politics throughout MelanesiaLeaders sometimes plan for years about how many pigs and other valuables they will give away at the mokaMokas depend on followers’ support and reinforce and build a leader’s status
  • Less common than big-man politics but examples do exist in MelanesiaIsland of Vanatinai, big-woman leaders:  Lead sailing expeditions  Sponsor mortuary feasts  Are sorcerers, healers and successful gardeners
  •  Tribes are usually organized into unilineal kin groups The local segments of a tribe are integrated in various ways:  Age set – group of people of similar age and sex who move through some or all of life’s stages together  Age grade – specialized associations based on age which stratify a society by seniority  Secret societies – West African societies whose membership and rituals are known only to members  Segmentary lineage system – a form of socio-political organization in which multiple descent groups form at different levels and function in different contexts
  •  Compared to band societies, tribal societies have a high degree of warfare Warfare may regulate the balance between population and resources in tribal societies Tribal warfare can also be linked to social structure  patrilineality and patrilocality promote male solidarity War is grounded in historical, material, and ecological conditions, and not in any biologically based human instinct for aggression
  •  Chiefdom: a society with social ranking in which political integration is achieved through an office of centralized leadership called the chief  Unlike a tribe a chiefdom is made up of parts that are structurally and functionally different from each other  Some had: Monumental architecture Distinct ceremonial centers Elaborate grave goods reflecting high social status Larger settlements, or administrative centers, surrounded by smaller villages Chiefdoms are found mainly among:  Cultivators and pastoralists  Some foraging groups where food resources are plentiful
  •  Chiefdoms have a centralized leadership  Chiefs are born to that office, and are often sustained in it by religious authority  Chiefdoms keep lengthy genealogical records of the names and acts of specific chiefs, which are used to verify claims to rank and chiefly title Chiefdoms are based on a tributary mode of exchange – primary producers are allowed access to the means of production and tribute is exacted from them by coercion
  •  Goods move into the center (the chief) and are redistributed through the chief’s generosity in giving feasts and sponsoring rituals.  The economic surplus is dispersed throughout the whole society and is the primary support of the chief’s power and prestige  The chief also deploys labor as well as redistributing food, making for a higher level of economic productivity  The centralized authority of the chief helps prevent violent conflict between segments of the society, and gives a chiefdom more military power
  •  State: a hierarchical, centralized form of political organization in which a central government has a legal monopoly over the use of force  In state societies, kinship does not regulate relations between the different social classes  Each class tends to marry within itself, and kin ties no longer extend throughout the whole society. Citizenship—membership in a state; supplants blood and marriage  Allows the state to expand without splitting through the incorporation of a variety of political units.  States can become more populous, heterogeneous, and powerful than any other kind of political organization
  •  The origin of the state involves different factors interacting in different ways and in different circumstances:  Some states emerged as cultural solutions to various kinds of problems that demanded more centralized coordination and regulation of human populations.  Other states may have emerged as a result of particular historical or ecological conditions.  Some states emerged out of military triumph
  •  As a way to coordinate labor and regulate the use of resources; protection, conflict resolution and trade Anthropologist Robert Carneiro argues that a limit on agricultural land available to expanding populations may result in the emergence of a state:  Evidence of this in prehistory  As populations continued to increase, pressure for land intensified, resulting in war  Because of environmental constraints, villages that lost wars had nowhere to go
  •  Government: An interrelated set of status roles that have the authority to coordinate and regulate behavior within a society  The government is a social institution specifically concerned with making and enforcing public policy and engages in other functions that keep the society going A state uses a code of law to make its force clear to the population The state also has important military functions
  •  The state and social stratification:  Intensive cultivation enables the government to appropriate an economic surplus  Unlike chiefdoms, only part of the surplus goes back to the people directly  The rest is used to support the activities of the state itself Elite classes in state societies:  Maintain control over the apparatus of the state  Establish hegemony States are not always peaceful or stable. Often they experience:  Attempts at overthrowing those who control the government  Sometimes revolutionary attempts to overthrow the entire structure of government
  • May connect leaders to deitiesLeaders may have special dress, housing, food, modes of transportation, that distinguish them from the general populace (compare with the complete lack of such symbols in bands)
  • Most contemporary states are hierarchical and patriarchal, to different degreesHighest rates of women’s political participation in the Nordic statesWomen’s political roles often indirect or tied to kinship
  • Social control is the process by which people maintain orderly life in groupsCulturally defined rules and ways to ensure that people follow the rulesAll cultures have some form of social control; but variation in formality
  • All cultures have norms; some also have laws, especially statesNorm: Accepted standard for behavior, usually unwrittenLaw: A binding rule about behavior
  • In foraging groups, norms are the main and typically the only instrument for establishing proper behaviorPunishment for Norm Violation  Often through ridicule and shaming; goal is to restore normal social relations  Ostracism for serious offenders  Punishment is often legitimized through belief in supernatural forces  Capital punishment is extremely rare
  • Increased specialization of roles involved in social controlFormal trials and courtsPower-enforced forms of punishment, such as prisons and the death penaltySpecialization of punishment:  Police  Lawyers, para-legal professionals  Criminal justice specialists  Judges  Others…
  • Policing: A form of social control that includes surveillance and the threat of punishment Police discover, report, and investigate crimes They are associated with statesTrials and Courts: Trial by ordeal: A way of judging guilt or innocence by putting the accused person through a test that is often painful Court system used in many contemporary societies:  Goal is to ensure justice and fairness  Biases (such as racial, ethnic, gender) affect the achievement of the goal
  •  The U.S. imprisons more people than any other country in the world, followed by China Executions communicate a political message to the general populace about the state’s power and strength Critical legal anthropologists examine the role of law in maintaining power relationships through discrimination Concern with social justice: Concept of fairness based on social equality that seeks to ensure entitlements and opportunities for disadvantaged members of society
  • Comparison of treatment of youth who are White and youth who are indigenous AustralianTracking what happened to youth in each category following “apprehension”At each step of the way, indigenous youth experienced a harsher process which took them to a less favorable outcome
  • Perhaps not conscious discrimination at each stagePeople are acculturated to biases, and they effect them whether they are aware of it or notCultural factors related to the life conditions of the youths and the perceptions of the law enforcement professionals shape the decisions at each stage: Aboriginal youths’ home address is not good, they are unemployed, they appear to be shiftless and undependable, etc.
  • All societies experience conflict with other groups and societies, though to different degreesVarieties of conflict include: Ethnic conflict Warfare
  • Ethnic conflict:Ethnic identities commit people to a causeDeeper issues often exist such as claims to material resources  Water  Oil, gasSectarian conflict:Often tied to/overlapping with ethnic conflictConflict based on perceived differences between divisions or sects within a religion
  • War: Organized group action directed against another group and involving lethal forceCultural variation in war-like conflicts, from those involving mainly symbolic conflict to those in which mass death is the goal
  •  This is not the same as warfare Political, involving coalitions of many countries  Example: Multiple forces (economic, political, ideological) behind regime change in a particular country Corporate: Involving multinational businesses in conflict with local communities  Economic interests often conflict with the health and welfare of local groups  Many organizations are working to increase corporate social responsibility to reduce such conflicts Cultural anthropology knowledge put to use for indigenous peoples New roles of anthropologist as collaborative with the people studied and advocate on their behalf with outside institutions
  • Emerging nations and transnational nationsWhat is a “nation”? Different definitions exist:  A group of people who share a language, culture, territorial base, political organization, and history  U.S. would not be considered a nation under this definition; It would be considered a stateNations and other groups constitute a political threat to state stability and control: Kurds, Maya, Tamils, Tibetans
  •  Ethnic group of 20 – 30 million people Most speak a dialect of Kurdish Majority are Sunni Muslim Strongly patrilineal Home region, Kurdistan, extends from Turkey into Iran, Iraq, and Syria Before WWI many Kurds were full-time pastoralists, herding sheep and goats After WWI and the creation of new countries (Iraq, Syria, and Kuwait) Kurdish herders were unable to follow traditional grazing because of the new borders
  • • Kurds are now employed in many occupations• Their attempts to establish an independent state have met harsh treatment from government forces• The Turkish state refuses to recognize them as a legitimate minority group• Many are united by the shared goal of statehood
  • Process of transformation from an authoritarian regime to a democratic regime  End of torture  Liberation of political prisoners  Lifting of censorship  Toleration of some oppositionThis transition is difficult when the change is from highly authoritarian regimes
  • Some anthropologists are “studying up” and doing research on large-scale institutions such as the UNMany, like Robert Carneiro, are skeptical of the effectiveness of its past role in international peacekeepingHe sees warfare as having no logical end within the world system of statesAny room for hope? Can anthropological research on/in the UN help?