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ANTHROP 1AB3 (346)

Political Anthropology

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McMaster University
Karen Mc Garry

Bands - Not sedentary - (Have to move around a lot to follow the food they hunt for, don’t practice agriculture) - Troublemakers will just move from band to band - No real leaders - Task oriented informal leadership - Leaders are trusted because they are usually people who have accomplished a lot, but they don’t really have authority Do Bands Have “Politics”? - Not hierarchical - Closest society to equality: no racism, no sexism Tribes - Sedentary, don’t move a lot - (Grow their own food) - Live in groups, are related or know each other very well - Do have leaders, roles achieved through hard work or inherited (have authority/power because they’re respected) - Role of leader is to resolve conflict Big-Man/Big-Woman - The leader of a village - Achieved leadership - You have to prove yourself through your lifetime - Attain the respect of your community to get the job - You have to be likable and liked by the majority of your village - Deal with conflicts in the tribe and conflict with other tribes Making Moka - Make big feasts to show off generosity - Ask your close friends and family to create valuables to help you out (pottery, blankets, pigs, clothing made of grass) - If you continuously have these feasts, the hope is that people will continue to like you and you’ll maintain your leadership role Chiefdoms - A collection of tribes - Up to 5000 people in some cases, bands < tribes < chiefdoms in people - Larger population, larger conflict potential - Leaders born into role - Internal social divisions - Chiefs and nobles at the top, everyone else at the bottom: have even more power because they have a military backing - Unlike tribes, leaders can fulfil their wishes through coercion because of their army State Powers and Roles - Most countries today are examples of this - Constantly in negotiation with other nations, don’t live in a bubble - Standing armies, etc: use of force - Keep track of population by defining and limiting citizenship - Try to create a sense of national identity by putting a bunch of “culture-specific” content in the media - Imaginary sense of “bonding” between citizens who might otherwise not feel as connected Symbols and State Power - Present themselves well: dress nicely, eat fancy, live in special places Social Order and Social Conflict - Variation in formality of social control with varying societies Two Major Instruments of Social Control - Norm: E.g. norm out of politeness that you hold the door open for them - Law: Formal laws against murder, but we don’t have formal laws against not being polite Social Control and Scale of Society - Social Control is based on how big your society is - Bands: Gossip as social control – no legal system like ours, based on norms. Fear of gossip about you makes you fear doing something against the norms - Punishmen
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