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Note 8.docx

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Anne- Marie Colpron

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Harris Text “Life Without Chiefs”  “Can human societies exist without some people ruling and others being ruled?”  is it natural?  Takes 2 perspectives o Diachronic  over time o Synchronic  at the same time but at a different location  Diachronic argument o For millenniums, our ancestors lived in small nomadic hunter-gatherer bands o Hunter-gatherers move around frequently and need a large amount of land to survive o Opposite of nomads = sedentary (us) o People ruling and others being ruled is not something natural for human beings as a species since for more than 10, 000 years, ou ancestors lived without rulers, kings, presidents or governors  Synchronic argument o Some people still live in bands and manage to live without our kind of political system  Therefore, not natural for humans to be rulers or be ruled  What is a band? o A social organization found among foragers o Usually a small group of people (<50) o Labour is divided according to age and sex o Social relations are highly egalitarian  equal  no one can tell someone else what to do o Ex. Guayaki Indians, Inuit, !Kung San  Band o Based on generosity and reciprocity  giving and taking  Important because hunting required luck. If you don’t find food for a long time, you will not be able to survive o The etiquette requires not to thank  its considered as something bad o Communal property  Question: does the absence of a political system similar to ours mean the lack of a political system at all? o They do have one in their own function o They have their own kind of leaders o The first anthropologists thought they didn’t have one because the leaders were very different  headman  Headman of a band o Does not command and does not use coercion (violence. Force/ threat) o Generous o Peace keeper (settles disputes) o Sets the example o Good orator  Tribe o A form of social organization larger than a band, where members usually farm or herd for a living o The social relations in a tribe are relatively egalitarian, but the leaders can speak for the group or organize group activities (ie. The Big Man)  Big Man o One person is in charge of the redistribution of good and valuables o He works harder and receives less o Sets an example, does not command (will suggest)  Question: What does the Big Man gain in working harder and receiving less?  Respect and admiration  Prestige
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