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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTB19H3
Professor
Donna Young
Semester
Winter

Description
Political institutions are political systems that enforce and apply principles or law to people of the community. Specifically, they mediate conflict, make plans regarding economy and social systems, and provide representation for the populous. They govern what usually should go forth when there are concerns or even feuds. Feuds are an important part of a community, particularly so for the Nuer. The Nuer were first studied by Evans-Pritchard. As Evans-Pritchard noted, feuds are important because fueds give expression to the hostility by occasional and violent action that serves to keep the sections apart, and prevents opposition developing into complete fission. The importance of feud is incorporated into the idea of structural functionalism, which is how multiple factors in a society are interdependent and work together to properly keep a society functioning. In the Nuer society, feuds go strongly with the idea of a political institution. The feud functions as a political institution as seen through the manners in which it mediates conflict, provides representation for the populous, and ensures group cohesiveness. Feud is like a political institution because in Western society when there are disputes, or "feuds", there is a procedure we must go through, such as hiring a lawyer going to a judge/court and etc., similarly in the Nuer society, when a feud occurs, there is a procedure that dominates: the wisdom and help of the Leopard Skin Chief is acknowledged and he mediates the feud. This is significant because political institutions are used to mediate conflicts and the feud is the way that the Neur keep the members of a specific tribe unified by minimizing tensions and increasing group cohesiveness. As in political institutions, it is ensured that there is no conflict of interest when dealing with the issue at hand. As such, the The Leopard Skin Chief, who is the main mediator for these feuds, has no position in the system of dominant lineages. He can be seen as a stranger living on land that he does not hereditarily belong to. As a result, he is the ideal individual for approaching and evaluating these feuds. In addition, like political institutions in Western societies, there are conventional compensations for damage, compensation, loss of limbs, etc. For example, if a man commits adultery, the compensation is five cows and an ox. However, there is not particular individual or power than judges or oversees these matters. This does not make it any less of a political institution, because unlike such cases in Western soci
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