Lecture 6 July 30 2013
Power and influence in social life
OVERVIEW- Political anthro. Politics is Greek for city, Polis- a city common
wealth, a city as a unity. Related terms we have policies, metropolis, cosmopolitan,
polite, politician, etc. Politics have to do with social control.
1. Social Control
a. Imperative for social order- all societies have ways to maintain social
order, they have ways of establishing equilibrium when disturbances
happen in social order.
b. Sources of disorder- environment forces that could disrupt social
order a flood, tsunamis, tornadoes. Demographic sources- if society
over populates. Economic disorder- lack of food, no money from
banks.All these disorders are linked. War is also a disorder- an
c. Pervasiveness of social control- social control does not depend on
having laws; laws themselves can cause social disorder. Social control
is pervasive- numerous mechanisms of social control they range from
subtle to explicit laws, from socialization to legal systems.
Combination of practices and institutions are required to maintain
Formal Mechanisms of Social Control
LAWS-laws are defined and standardized, they are written
1. Binding rules-define right and reasonable behavior
2. Backed by force- backed by threat of force, if you break the law there a
penalties- jail, fine, limb chopped off etc.
3. Legitimated by ideology-could be religious ideology or political
Many types of laws- religious laws, Quebec law,Anglo-Saxon law.
Informal Mechanisms of Social Control-not explicit, not codified, not backed up
by threat of force, but they are important.
1. Socialization- teaching rules and norms, value of society, bringing up
the young, ppl seek self-esteem, sibling rivalry
2. Gossip-form of communication, ppl talking about someone else’s
behavior, evaluating/monitoring ppl’s behavior.
3. Shaming & ridicule-disapproval and ridiculing ppl’s behavior, joking
is a subtle means of ridiculing, often it’s not funny. Shaming is powerful,
especially in small-scale communities, many have institutions of shaming.
Ex: the Hopi- the clowns, dress up in costumes Lecture 6 July 30 2013
4. Witchcraft accusation- most ppl believe in the power of witchcraft,
cast spells, create harms. Witches are rarely seen. Accusing someone that
you are witch, seen as bad influence- these accusations can often escalate.A
communication of public opinion.
2. Conflict & Conflict Resolution
Conflict- differences turn into violent confrontation, conflict is generated and
1. Interpersonal violence- fighting between individuals,
2. Political violence-violence that is directed or pressed into social control. It
a. Rebellions-organized violence, organized to readdress justice, mass up
b. Coups d'état-attempt to dispose the ruler and cease power, some are
successful (Belgrade, 1903) and some not (Dublin, 1916). They often
don’t change societies they just change the ruler.
c. Revolutions- when you attempt to change societies, one is trying to
change it into an egalitarian or democratic society. Ex: Iran
3. Warfare- organized violence btwn groups.
a. Feuding- family feud, fighting btwn ppl of the same pop. Focus is
vengeance and getting even. Yanomamo and Vice Lords from
Chicago. Commonly seen in Horticulture societies. Internecine-
feuding between same groups. This happens in tribal societies also in
gangs. Problem with feuding violence can spread, innocent ppl get
b. Raiding- feuding combined with raiding- over resources-
c. Conquest- conquest warfare- when one group wants to defeat another
group in order to conquer them, they quest for sovereignty- power to
Conflict Resolution-the Ju’/hoansi- Richard Lee- they walk away when conflict
arises. They are a peaceful societies (may attention in that in the textbook). But
even they have homicides- it was interpersonal violence.All societies have
interpersonal violence- no one is peaceful.
1. Contest- direct means of resolving your conflicts- ex: a duel- just me and you.
e.g., Inuit song duel- conflict between individuals- the community makes
them sings their conflicts, a rap battle.
2. Mediation- a mediator is brought in to deal with a conflict. Lecture 6 July 30 2