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Anthropology 2229F/G Lecture Notes - Ascribed Status, Kinship

Course Code
ANTH 2229F/G
Christopher Ellis

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Lecture 26 Part 3 Sociological Organization: Ranked/Chiefdoms
o Transegalitarian: shift from egalitarian to non-egalitarian
More recent term
o Hunter-gatherers (rare) and horticulturalists/agriculturalists
Most are horticulturalists or agriculturalists
Some remain hunter-gatherers if there are dense resources
Very rare
Complex Hunter-Gatherers
o Medium size (1000s)
Still live in small areas
1,000 or more, up to 30,000
o Not fluid
Relatively permanent from birth
Membership determined by kinship
o Fictive Kinship (clans), Marriage and Sodalities
Very similar to tribes
Ties of descent as well as marriage ties
Sodalities to serve a specific purpose
o Non-Egalitarian
Achieved and ascribed status
More complex: more people, more organization requires
centralized decision making
Clans based on descent,
Some have more rights and privileges that others
At birth, some get more rights and privileges than
others; ascribed status
Some people more important than others; get access to
better things, etc.
Ranking of descent groups
Leaders come from the highest ranking descent group
Called “chiefs”, inherited status
Still some achievement to leadership
More than one person could have claim to have the
authority to be the decision-maker
Based on the abilities of the individual
Leadership a combination of achieved and ascribed status
More permanent hereditary rights
Vary greatly in various groups
Authority of the leader/chief may be small; can be easily
o Lead more by example
o Simple chiefdoms
Authority of paramount chief/leader is great
o Can have power over life and death
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