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Sociopolitical Anthropology

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Information about Sociopolitical Anthropology

Published on January 19, 2008

Author: PaulVMcDowell

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Egalitarian society. Ranked Society. Stratified Society. Bands. Tribes. Chiefdoms. States
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Sociopolitical Anthropology Power, Social Control, and Society

Defining Sociopolitical Anthropology Basic definition: The cross-cultural study of Social organization Informal social control Governance by formal or informal means Social control by law or custom

Basic definition:

The cross-cultural study of

Social organization

Informal social control

Governance by formal or informal means

Social control by law or custom

Social control entails Groupings by Gender Age Associations Social class Political and legal arrangements.

Groupings by

Gender

Age

Associations

Social class

Political and legal arrangements.

Grouping by Gender: Separation by gender commonplace Iroquois: Women: sedentary, collective, cultivators Men: were transients: hunters, warriors, leaders Mundurucu Two sexes lived apart Men lived in a single large house Women had 2-3 houses near the men’s

Separation by gender commonplace

Iroquois:

Women: sedentary, collective, cultivators

Men: were transients: hunters, warriors, leaders

Mundurucu

Two sexes lived apart

Men lived in a single large house

Women had 2-3 houses near the men’s

Groupings by Gender: New Guinea Case studies: men’s houses, New Guinea Boys reared initially in own household At age 5 or 6, move into men’s houses. Trained in warrior arts, dances, pig transactions One outcome: homosexuality (Samia) Boys avoid all heterosexual contact They undergo inseminating rituals with men

Case studies: men’s houses, New Guinea

Boys reared initially in own household

At age 5 or 6, move into men’s houses.

Trained in warrior arts, dances, pig transactions

One outcome: homosexuality (Samia)

Boys avoid all heterosexual contact

They undergo inseminating rituals with men

Groupings by Age All societies are grouped by age Childhood, adulthood, elderhood Adolescence a modern contrivance Age grades: Organized category based on age Everyone goes through them in life Age sets: Groups of individuals initiated into age grade simultaneously Everyone goes through age grades together as an age set unit

All societies are grouped by age

Childhood, adulthood, elderhood

Adolescence a modern contrivance

Age grades: Organized category based on age

Everyone goes through them in life

Age sets: Groups of individuals initiated into age grade simultaneously

Everyone goes through age grades together as an age set unit

Groupings by Age Grades: Tiriki of Kenya Age grades: Fixed 15-year categories Functional categories Warriors: Cattle raiders, defenders Elder Warriors: solid citizens, councilmen Judicial elders: judges, dispute mediators Ritual elders: mediator between community and spirit world Nonfunctional categories: youths, aged

Age grades: Fixed 15-year categories

Functional categories

Warriors: Cattle raiders, defenders

Elder Warriors: solid citizens, councilmen

Judicial elders: judges, dispute mediators

Ritual elders: mediator between community and spirit world

Nonfunctional categories: youths, aged

Groupings by Age Sets: Tiriki of Kenya Organized into 15-year movable categories Everyone initiated as a group At every transition from one age grade to next Each age set was named At each move, eldest age set Became the youngest age set 15 yrs later

Organized into 15-year movable categories

Everyone initiated as a group

At every transition from one age grade to next

Each age set was named

At each move, eldest age set

Became the youngest age set 15 yrs later

Common Interest Associations Associations that result from act of joining Secret societies derived from spiritual experience: Kachinas of Hopi, tobacco societies of Crow, many among Kwakiutl Warrior societies Social service: Kiwanis to Rotary Clubs in U.S., elsewhere Hopi rainmakers intended to benefit all.

Associations that result from act of joining

Secret societies derived from spiritual experience: Kachinas of Hopi, tobacco societies of Crow, many among Kwakiutl

Warrior societies

Social service:

Kiwanis to Rotary Clubs in U.S., elsewhere

Hopi rainmakers intended to benefit all.

Social Class: Overview General types (Fried) Egalitarian societies: Social systems with as many valued positions as person capable of filling them Exceptions: age, gender, special characteristics Ranked societies Social systems with fewer valued status positions than those capable of filling them Stratified societies Minority control of strategic resources

General types (Fried)

Egalitarian societies:

Social systems with as many valued positions as person capable of filling them

Exceptions: age, gender, special characteristics

Ranked societies

Social systems with fewer valued status positions than those capable of filling them

Stratified societies

Minority control of strategic resources

Egalitarian Societies Individuals depend on ability alone for prestige Big man of New Guinea Anyone can become a big man One dominates--but can be replaced Not hereditary Yanomamo Headmen can persuade but not rule Again can be replaced

Individuals depend on ability alone for prestige

Big man of New Guinea

Anyone can become a big man

One dominates--but can be replaced

Not hereditary

Yanomamo

Headmen can persuade but not rule

Again can be replaced

Reverse Dominance Hierarchy: Myth and Reality Myth: Forager societies lack hierarchy Reality: A few instances of inequality Gender Inequality: highly variable Private property: Pi ňon trees among Paiute Foragers: latent individual inequality Prevention: Watchful control by band and tribe

Myth: Forager societies lack hierarchy

Reality: A few instances of inequality

Gender Inequality: highly variable

Private property: Pi ňon trees among Paiute

Foragers: latent individual inequality

Prevention: Watchful control by band and tribe

By Way of Introduction: Case Study “ Eating Christmas in the Kalahari” by Richard Lee Lee conducted an ethnographic study of the Dobe !Kung during year He gave the band a fattened ox to thank them Reaction: Dobe ridiculed this gift Lesson: the !Kung typically ridicule all unusually valuable game

“ Eating Christmas in the Kalahari” by Richard Lee

Lee conducted an ethnographic study of the Dobe !Kung during year

He gave the band a fattened ox to thank them

Reaction: Dobe ridiculed this gift

Lesson: the !Kung typically ridicule all unusually valuable game

Why This Bizarre Behavior? Tomazo’s answer: “Arrogance.” “ When a young man kills much meat, he thinks himself as a chief or big man and the rest of us as his servants. We cannot accept this. Someday his pride will make him kill somebody. So we always speak of his meat as worthless. That way, we cool his heart and make him gentle.”

Tomazo’s answer: “Arrogance.”

“ When a young man kills much meat,

he thinks himself as a chief or big man

and the rest of us as his servants.

We cannot accept this.

Someday his pride will make him kill somebody.

So we always speak of his meat as worthless.

That way, we cool his heart and make him gentle.”

Lessons from This Tale Even bandsmen know about inequality They fear domination by one man Unusual gifts always involve some ulterior motive So they denigrate this gifts The reaction conforms to a model of reverse dominance hierarchy

Even bandsmen know about inequality

They fear domination by one man

Unusual gifts always involve some ulterior motive

So they denigrate this gifts

The reaction conforms to a model of reverse dominance hierarchy

Reverse Dominance Hierarchy: A Definition Primary Source: Boehm’s Hierarchy in the Forest Definition: a collective reaction to anyone’s attempt to dominate his fellows Summary: “All men seek to rule but if they cannot rule they seek to be equal.” — Harold Schneider, Economic Anthropologist

Primary Source: Boehm’s Hierarchy in the Forest

Definition: a collective reaction to

anyone’s attempt to dominate his fellows

Summary: “All men seek to rule

but if they cannot rule

they seek to be equal.”

— Harold Schneider, Economic Anthropologist

Reverse Dominance Hierarchy: Toward a Model Primary Source: Knauft: “Sociality versus Self-Interest in Human Evolution” Behavior and Brain Sciences. Knauft postulates a U-Shaped Curve: Nonhuman Primates: Moderate to Extreme Dominance Bands and Tribes: Strong Egalitarianism Chiefdoms and States: Ranking to Social Stratification

Primary Source: Knauft: “Sociality versus Self-Interest in Human Evolution” Behavior and Brain Sciences.

Knauft postulates a U-Shaped Curve:

Nonhuman Primates: Moderate to Extreme Dominance

Bands and Tribes: Strong Egalitarianism

Chiefdoms and States: Ranking to Social Stratification

Reverse Dominance Hierarchy: Primate Ethological Evidence Rationale: Pongid-Hominid Divergence 6 m.y.a. Dominance Evident in Hominoids Chimpanzees: Coalition Politics Bonobos: Female Hierarchies Passed to Sons Male Linear Dominance is tempered by : Behavioral Ambivalence (waa vocalization) Coalitions of Subordinate Individuals

Rationale: Pongid-Hominid Divergence 6 m.y.a.

Dominance Evident in Hominoids

Chimpanzees: Coalition Politics

Bonobos: Female Hierarchies Passed to Sons

Male Linear Dominance is tempered by :

Behavioral Ambivalence (waa vocalization)

Coalitions of Subordinate Individuals

Reverse Dominant Hierarchy: Band/Tribal Egalitarianism Most Models: Effortless Egalitarianism Reverse Dominance: You Have to Work at It “ Upstart” Individuals Try to Dominate the Band/Tribe Coalitions Suppress Every Such Attempt Ridicule (!Kung “Insulting the Meat”) Song Duels (Inuit/Eskimo—left photo) Extreme Case: Homicide by Group-Selected Executioner

Most Models: Effortless Egalitarianism

Reverse Dominance: You Have to Work at It

“ Upstart” Individuals Try to Dominate the Band/Tribe

Coalitions Suppress Every Such Attempt

Ridicule (!Kung “Insulting the Meat”)

Song Duels (Inuit/Eskimo—left photo)

Extreme Case: Homicide by Group-Selected Executioner

Ending Reverse Dominance Hierarchy: Food Surplus Bases of Food Surplus Complex Foraging: Northwest Coast Indians Advanced Pastoralists: Mongol Nomads Neolithic Revolution Intensive Cultivation Nonfarm Specialization in Crafts and Manufactures Administration and Enforcement Rise of an Elite

Bases of Food Surplus

Complex Foraging: Northwest Coast Indians

Advanced Pastoralists: Mongol Nomads

Neolithic Revolution

Intensive Cultivation

Nonfarm Specialization in

Crafts and Manufactures

Administration and Enforcement

Rise of an Elite

Ending Reverse Dominance Hierarchy: Population Density Populations increase Beyond scope of kin-based control (Ur, Sumeria, left) New control mechanism come into place Extra-Familial groups take control Anti-hierarchical mechanisms lose effectiveness Circumscription ensures control.

Populations increase

Beyond scope of kin-based control (Ur, Sumeria, left)

New control mechanism come into place

Extra-Familial groups take control

Anti-hierarchical mechanisms lose effectiveness

Circumscription ensures control.

Emergence of Stratification Manipulative Individuals/ Families Form alliances (chimpanzee-like) Play one faction against another Form dynasties (bonobo-like) Control over Life-Sustaining Resources Water systems in semi-arid regions Agricultural lands Mechanisms of Taxation Labor Tribute

Manipulative Individuals/ Families

Form alliances (chimpanzee-like)

Play one faction against another

Form dynasties (bonobo-like)

Control over Life-Sustaining Resources

Water systems in semi-arid regions

Agricultural lands

Mechanisms of Taxation

Labor

Tribute

Rank(ed) Societies The numbers and kinds of positions are fixed Examples Kwakiutl (likeness of chief holding a copper: Everyone is ranked There is only one position from top down Death demands a replacement for position Missing: no monopoly over resources Fish sources open to all

The numbers and kinds of positions are fixed

Examples

Kwakiutl (likeness of chief holding a copper:

Everyone is ranked

There is only one position from top down

Death demands a replacement for position

Missing: no monopoly over resources

Fish sources open to all

Stratified Societies Access to strategic resources is unequal Examples Water in irrigation societies Land in patrimonial (feudal) societies Claims to capital assets (stocks, bonds) in capitalist society Capital: goods/services used for production Money, stocks, bonds are also capital

Access to strategic resources is unequal

Examples

Water in irrigation societies

Land in patrimonial (feudal) societies

Claims to capital assets (stocks, bonds) in capitalist society

Capital: goods/services used for production

Money, stocks, bonds are also capital

Stratified Societies: India’s Castes as extreme case Castes : Closed Descent groups that Lack mobility: once a peasant, always one Are Endogamous: intermarriage forbidden Maintain differential access to resources

Castes : Closed Descent groups that

Lack mobility: once a peasant, always one

Are Endogamous: intermarriage forbidden

Maintain differential access to resources

Main (Varna) Castes in India Brahmins: priests Kshatryas: warriors Vaishyas (merchants, craftpersons) Sudras (peasant, menial workers) Untouchables (Hariian, Dalit) “Impure castes”

Brahmins: priests

Kshatryas: warriors

Vaishyas (merchants, craftpersons)

Sudras (peasant, menial workers)

Untouchables (Hariian, Dalit) “Impure castes”

Stratified Societies: India’s other castes Impure castes: “Untouchables” (harijan) Those who perform “impure” tasks such as leatherworking Some come out only at night--”unseeables” If harijan’s shadow falls on Brahmin. . . Jatis: occupational subcastes Likewise endogamous and closed Jajman: provider of services to kamin Kamin: receiver of services from jajman

Impure castes: “Untouchables” (harijan)

Those who perform “impure” tasks such as leatherworking

Some come out only at night--”unseeables”

If harijan’s shadow falls on Brahmin. . .

Jatis: occupational subcastes

Likewise endogamous and closed

Jajman: provider of services to kamin

Kamin: receiver of services from jajman

Stratified Societies: Kachin of Burma (Officially Myanmar) Division of Kachin: Nobility, Aristocracy, Commoners Marriage as reinforcement of stratum Matrilateral cross-cousin marriage makes return impossible, because Patrilateral cross-cousin marriage is not allowed

Division of Kachin: Nobility, Aristocracy, Commoners

Marriage as reinforcement of stratum

Matrilateral cross-cousin marriage makes return impossible, because

Patrilateral cross-cousin marriage is not allowed

Mayu-Dama Relationship Wife givers: Mayu Wife receivers: Dama Mayu: gave wives to Dama Who never could reciprocate Aristocrats thus dominated nobles Nobles thus dominated commoners Exemplifies Mauss’s obligation to repay

Wife givers: Mayu

Wife receivers: Dama

Mayu: gave wives to Dama

Who never could reciprocate

Aristocrats thus dominated nobles

Nobles thus dominated commoners

Exemplifies Mauss’s obligation to repay

Political Organization: Basic Principles Power vs Authority Power: compliance by coercion or force Authority: compliance by persuasion Legitimacy: Beliefs rationalizing rule Examples: Divine Right, Peoples Consent Sanctions : reinforcements of behavior Positive: rewards, recognition Negative: punishment

Power vs Authority

Power: compliance by coercion or force

Authority: compliance by persuasion

Legitimacy: Beliefs rationalizing rule

Examples: Divine Right, Peoples Consent

Sanctions : reinforcements of behavior

Positive: rewards, recognition

Negative: punishment

Power versus Authority Extreme examples Power: concentration camps: Auschwitz (above); Guantanamo (below) Authority: !Kung, Inuit, Yanomamo Neither is absolute Dictatorships need to persuade: Nuremberg rallies, Mayday parades Power is evenly distributed in nonstate cultures

Extreme examples

Power: concentration camps: Auschwitz (above); Guantanamo (below)

Authority: !Kung, Inuit, Yanomamo

Neither is absolute

Dictatorships need to persuade: Nuremberg rallies, Mayday parades

Power is evenly distributed in nonstate cultures

Legitimacy as Justification for Political Order Justification necessary even in authoritarian states Monarchies: the divine right to rule Soviet Union: Socialist transition to communist economy Nazi Germany: Racial purification; delivery of full-employment (Nuremberg rallies, above) Democratic forms: consent by the governed (below, State of the Union)

Justification necessary even in authoritarian states

Monarchies: the divine right to rule

Soviet Union: Socialist transition to communist economy

Nazi Germany: Racial purification; delivery of full-employment (Nuremberg rallies, above)

Democratic forms: consent by the governed (below, State of the Union)

Legitimacy: Samsara in India Justification for a given political order India: Caste system is reinforced by Samsara: A cosmic illusion marked by Birth-and-death cycles

Justification for a given political order

India: Caste system is reinforced by

Samsara: A cosmic illusion marked by

Birth-and-death cycles

Legitimacy: Karma in India Karma: influenced by one’s act in all previous lives Reward: rebirth in higher state Punishment: rebirth in lower state Affects all beings, from stone to humans to gods

Karma: influenced by one’s act in all previous lives

Reward: rebirth in higher state

Punishment: rebirth in lower state

Affects all beings, from stone to humans to gods

Sociopolitical Organizations: General Typology Bands: Small, informal groups Tribes: Segmentary groups integrated by some unifying factor Chiefdoms: Group organized under a chief in a ranked society State: Centralized political system with monopoly over legitimized force and its use.

Bands: Small, informal groups

Tribes: Segmentary groups integrated by some unifying factor

Chiefdoms: Group organized under a chief in a ranked society

State: Centralized political system with monopoly over legitimized force and its use.

Bands Small group of related households Occupying a particular region That gather periodically ad hoc Do not yield sovereignty to larger group Leadership By persuasion (authority) No permanent offices Examples: !Kung, Inuit, Mbuti (left)

Small group of related households

Occupying a particular region

That gather periodically ad hoc

Do not yield sovereignty to larger group

Leadership

By persuasion (authority)

No permanent offices

Examples: !Kung, Inuit, Mbuti (left)

Tribes: Group of nominally independent communities Occupying a specific region Sharing common language & culture Integrated by unifying factor Examples: Yanomamo, Nuer

Group of nominally independent communities

Occupying a specific region

Sharing common language & culture

Integrated by unifying factor

Examples: Yanomamo, Nuer

Tribes: Yanomamo Organized by two lineages The two intermarry Cement: bilateral cross-cousin marriage External relations: levels of alliance Trade --External marriage Feasts Leadership: informal, no office Kaobawa: issues orders only if they will be obeyed (as when in war)

Organized by two lineages

The two intermarry

Cement: bilateral cross-cousin marriage

External relations: levels of alliance

Trade --External marriage

Feasts

Leadership: informal, no office

Kaobawa: issues orders only if they will be obeyed (as when in war)

Tribes: Nuer Segmentary lineage Nesting of smaller lineage into larger ones A single maximal lineage Geographical basis of segmentation Warfare escalates with genealogy Entire segmentary lineage unites against common enemy Cause: circumscription

Segmentary lineage

Nesting of smaller lineage into larger ones

A single maximal lineage

Geographical basis of segmentation

Warfare escalates with genealogy

Entire segmentary lineage unites against common enemy

Cause: circumscription

Tribes: Tiriki Age Grade and Sets Pan-Tribal Sodalities: Groups that cut across segments Example: Age Grades and Sets Age grades unify pantribal functions Age sets unify people that carry out the functions

Pan-Tribal Sodalities: Groups that cut across segments

Example: Age Grades and Sets

Age grades unify pantribal functions

Age sets unify people that carry out the functions

Chiefdoms Textbook: A regional polity in which Two or more local groups Are organized under a single chief Who heads a ranked hierarchy of people Chief as office Office is permanent “King is dead; long live king” Requires rules of succession

Textbook: A regional polity in which

Two or more local groups

Are organized under a single chief

Who heads a ranked hierarchy of people

Chief as office

Office is permanent

“King is dead; long live king”

Requires rules of succession

Chiefdoms: Conical Clan Can have chiefs and subchiefs When eldest sons are heirs When subclans or lineages bud off. Rank remains among Descendant clans/lineages Individuals within lineages

Can have chiefs and subchiefs

When eldest sons are heirs

When subclans or lineages bud off.

Rank remains among

Descendant clans/lineages

Individuals within lineages

Chiefdoms: Kwakiutl Eldest son succeeds chief’ Must validate claim by holding potlatch All feasts have legal dimensions Chief makes speech, presents dances At end, distributes gifts that are Appropriate to rank of guests Guests give validation speeches Praise behavior of new chief Note appropriateness of gifts

Eldest son succeeds chief’

Must validate claim by holding potlatch

All feasts have legal dimensions

Chief makes speech, presents dances

At end, distributes gifts that are

Appropriate to rank of guests

Guests give validation speeches

Praise behavior of new chief

Note appropriateness of gifts

States: Force as Prime Mover Defining Characteristics A centralized political system With power to coerce The operating factor: Monopoly over the use of Legitimate physical force Supports the apparatus of the state Bureaucracy --Army and police Law and legal codes

Defining Characteristics

A centralized political system

With power to coerce

The operating factor:

Monopoly over the use of

Legitimate physical force

Supports the apparatus of the state

Bureaucracy --Army and police

Law and legal codes

States: Derivative Features Administrative structure Public services --Tax collection Resource allocation --Foreign affairs Delegation of force Police, all levels --Armed force Law Civil (dispute resolution) Regulatory (trade, economy) Criminal (crime and punishment)

Administrative structure

Public services --Tax collection

Resource allocation --Foreign affairs

Delegation of force

Police, all levels --Armed force

Law

Civil (dispute resolution)

Regulatory (trade, economy)

Criminal (crime and punishment)

Law: Cross-Cultural Comparison Codified law: Formally defines wrong and specifies remedies Customary law: Informal sanctions or dispute resolution Restitution or Restorative law: emphasizes dispute resolution, damage restitution Retributive law: emphasizes punishment for crimes committed

Codified law: Formally defines wrong and specifies remedies

Customary law: Informal sanctions or dispute resolution

Restitution or Restorative law: emphasizes dispute resolution, damage restitution

Retributive law: emphasizes punishment for crimes committed

Case Studies: Restitution Nuer: Leopard-skin chief Function: mediate disputes; leopard wrap identifies role Cannot force or enforce an agreement Authority is spiritual Zapotec in Talea, Mexico Function: hear cases and negotiate Recommend settlement Enforce agreement by community

Nuer: Leopard-skin chief

Function: mediate disputes; leopard wrap identifies role

Cannot force or enforce an agreement

Authority is spiritual

Zapotec in Talea, Mexico

Function: hear cases and negotiate

Recommend settlement

Enforce agreement by community

Case Studies: Retribution Criminal Law Murder, Robbery, Others Civil Law Consumer Law and Small Courts Final Say: Judge or Arbitrator Limitation: Sheer Numbers of Cases

Criminal Law

Murder, Robbery, Others

Civil Law

Consumer Law and Small Courts

Final Say: Judge or Arbitrator

Limitation: Sheer Numbers of Cases

Conclusion States: Economy, society, and polity are separate Stateless Societies: The three tend to be fused Social control integral to all levels

States: Economy, society, and polity are separate

Stateless Societies: The three tend to be fused

Social control integral to all levels

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