Final study sheet
Chapter 8- Political and Legal Systems
authority: the ability to take action based on a person’s achieved or ascribed status or
band: the political organization of foraging groups, with minimal leadership and flexible
big-man or big-woman system: a form of political organization midway between tribe
and chiefdom involving reliance on the leadership of key individuals who develop a
political following through personal ties and redistributive feasts.
chiefdom: a form of political organization in which permanently allied tribes and villages
have one recognized leader who holds an “office.”
corporate social responsibility (CSR): business ethics that seek to generate profits for
the corporation while avoiding harm to people and the environment.
critical legal anthropology: an approach within the crosscultural study of legal systems
that examines the role of law and judicial processes in maintaining the dominance of
powerful groups through discriminatory practices rather than protecting less powerful
influence: the ability to achieve a desired end by exerting social or moral pressure on
someone or some group.
law: a binding rule created through enactment or custom that defines right and reasonable
behavior and is enforceable by the threat of punishment.
moka: a strategy for developing political leadership in highland Papua New Guinea that
involves exchanging gifts and favors with individuals and sponsoring large feasts where
further gift giving occurs.
nation: a group of people who share a language, culture, territorial base, political
organization, and history.
norm: a generally agreed-upon standard for how people should behave, usually unwritten
and learned unconsciously.
policing: the exercise of social control through processes of surveillance and the threat of
punishment related to maintaining social order.
political organization: groups within a culture that are responsible for public decision
making and leadership, maintaining social cohesion and order, protecting group rights,
and ensuring safety from external threats.
power: the capacity to take action in the face of resistance, through force if necessary.
sectarian conflict: conflict based on perceived differences between divisions or sects
within a religion.
social control: processes that, through both informal and formal mechanisms, maintain
orderly social life.
social justice: a concept of fairness based on social equality that seeks to ensure
entitlements and opportunities for disadvantaged members of society. state: a form of political organization in which a centralized political unit encompasses
many communities, a bureaucratic structure, and leaders who possess coercive power.
trial by ordeal: a way of determining innocence or guilt in which the accused person is
put to a test that may be painful, stressful, or fatal.
tribe: a political group that comprises several bands or lineage groups, each with similar
language and lifestyle and occupying a distinct territory.
war: organized and purposeful group action directed against another group and involving
call system: a form of oral communication among nonhuman primates with a set
repertoire of meaningful sounds generated in response to environmental factors.
communication: the process of sending and receiving meaningful messages.
creole: a language directly descended from a pidgin but possessing its own native
speakers and involving linguistic expansion and elaboration.
critical discourse analysis: an approach within linguistic anthropology that examines
how power and social inequality are reflected and reproduced in communication.
critical media anthropology: an approach within the cross-cultural study of media that
examines how power interests shape people’s access to media and the contents of its
discourse: culturally patterned verbal language including varieties of speech,
participation, and meaning.
displacement: a feature of human language whereby people are able to talk about events
in the past and future.
ethnosemantics: the study of the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences in particular
global language: a language spoken widely throughout the world and in diverse cultural
contexts, often replacing indigenous languages.
historical linguistics: the study of language change using formal methods that compare
shifts over time and across space in aspects of language such as phonetics, syntax, and
khipu: cords of knotted strings used during the Inca Empire for keeping accounts and
language: a form of communication that is based on a systematic set of symbols and
signs shared among a group and passed on from generation to generation.
language family: a group of languages descended from a parent language.
logograph: a symbol that conveys meaning through a form or picture resembling that to
which it refers.
phoneme: a sound that makes a difference for meaning in a language.
pidgin: a contact language that blends elements of at least two languages and that
emerges when people with different languages need to communicate. productivity: a feature of human language whereby are able to communicate a
potentially infinite number of messages efficiently.
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: a perspective in linguistic anthropology which says that
language determines thought.
sign language: a form of communication that uses mainly hand movements to convey
sociolinguistics: a perspective in linguistic anthropology which says that culture, society,
and a person’s social position determine language.
tag question: a question placed at the end of a sentence seeking affirmation.
Textese: an emerging variant of written English and other languages associated with cell
phone communication and involving abbreviations and creative slang.
animatism: a belief system in which the supernatural is conceived of as an impersonal
cargo cult: a form of revitalization movement that emerged in Melanesia in response to
Western and Japanese influences.
doctrine: direct and formalized statements about religious beliefs.
life-cycle ritual: a ritual that marks a change in status from one life stage to another; also
called rite of passage.
magic: the attempt to compel supernatural forces and beings to act in certain ways.
myth: a narrative with a plot that involves the supernaturals.
pilgrimage: round-trip travel to a sacred place or places for purposes of religious
devotion or ritual.
priest/priestess: male or female full-time religious specialist who