ANTC32 – W4
Talking about last week’s lecture
- People who can get land are castes who are born into it. It is land ownership
and everyone else. Caste has a privilege and land is a method of domination
- Asad’s caution on our quest for finding “order” in a political system
- Barth said this is what reproduce today’s system
- Asad said what makes today’s system work has some kind of sovereign
power that regulates itself
- Barth is kind of like Hobbes – he finds order but that is because there is some
kind of force there. Order here is shorthand on submission. Orderly for who?
Would I consider this an order if I didn’t own this land?
- Asad ended by saying this process and stabilizing class domination led the
state in the swat. These things are linked.
- Economic power made British rule to come in and govern that population. So
we are trying to track evolutionary model. Some kind of system in a tribal or
egalitarian society that was used to differentiate people, being solidified into
dividing people like kinship. This takes on kind of political capability which
forms into politics
- A note to us to be careful when thinking of subtle ways when dominance
happens. That is political domination using class (we are friends here, but
this will somehow brainwash you politically)
- Question: is war and violence related to foundation of state and stateless
o Why is war so important in understanding primitive society?
War in non-state society
- Every point he makes tells us the nature of the knowledge
- What is the background assumption
- Why does he say the primitive society was unthinkable?
o No law, state, king, so they didn’t have polity to govern, they are
savage and not even considered as a collective group of people. But
very concept of Social depended on “centralized state”. The first
society showed no evidence. It looked like it was social but any
primitive characteristics of society was lacking
o Are they more like animals or human?
o Contradiction because there were 2 ways to explain violence. In one
hand these people were so peaceful, good yet kind of stupid, no
intellectual capacity, etc. how do you govern people that are not really
o On the other hand, they became fierce, merciless, cannibalistic savage,
etc. All this image of savage where violence was their core. Lack of
government lays behind this. No one knows how to control this fierceness.
How violence understood in anthro of stateless societies
- Naturalist discourse
o Aggression is an innate behavior which we use to survive.
o Getting the resources we need to survive. There is biological derive to
o Biology takes away the social dimension
- Economist Discourse
o When they cannot get what they want then they fight. Builds on
assumption that sources are limited and people compete for it.
o Stateless society is the original society where there is overabundance
of resources and doing good things and work is low priority.
- Exchange discourse
o Through discussing of centralized violence of society
o He is debating his teacher Levi-Strauss
o LS argued that commercial exchanges represent potential wards that
is peacefully resolved.
o The idea behind this is that LS’s theory of exchange is the absolute
fundamental building block of social life. You establish your group and
shows interaction, dependency, non isolation, etc.
o Clastres said it is wrong. LS argued that warfare exists in negative and
has no real function, and that it is an accident. Clastres says no.
o Clastres emphasis on the idea of autonomy and independence of
primitive society. Something that is possible. And it is an absolute
idea. this he says that every time we do a study on the stateless
society, the economy works in the domestic mode of production. It
provides labour, workforce, and everything else. They organize the
groups. It is economic based and it is kind of true in all stateless
o Bargaining based on needs and want – suddenly dependent on
o So he criticizes what they have to do if they wanted to. This is an ideal
B) Territorial Integrity
o This is where we grow our corns, cows, etc. that is clearly demarketed.
This he says is a political point. A territory as a non-economic relation
because it defines who we are and who we are. Those that operate
outside of it is not the point.
o Putting boundary to who is not us
C) Totality and Unity
o It distinguishes all other groups that are out there but not it
o It composes the push towards the asymmetry
o We are not them and we are all the same
o Each community is undivided and that is why we can think of it as WE.
We are totality o Facing to them, we are all Canadians. But in all internal composition
group, it is not just developed by lineage or kinship structure. It is
political relation of why these things happen.
D) what of relation with these others
o What is the relation with other groups? How do they interact?
o There can be no generalized exchange
o Generally exchanging stuff. Logic of difference from everyone else will
contradict logic of exchange which is logic of identification.
o If we make rice and you make beans, we can exchange and we will
both have rice and beans – so where is the line between us?
The most important thing is that the line btwn them and us are
So we cant just give them everything. We have to stay US
He even calls this generalized exchange of death cuz it means