Power: ability to impose will upon others and make them do things even against their own wants or wishes
Political organization: way power is distributed and embedded in society; how it creates and maintains social order
Kinds Of Political Systems
Least complicated and oldest form of political organization
Found among nomadic societies
Small and egalitarian, population dozens and up
No need for formal political systems
Leader, if one, holds no real power
Toma: Ju/’hoansi Headman
This Headman was a big deal to Anthropologist. Known world wide for his appearance in the ethnographic film 'The Hunter'
kin-ordered groups share common ancestry, identity, culture, language, and territory
Economy based on crop cultivation or herding
Population: hundreds and up
Informal leadership; authority lies with clans
Chief’s authority serves to unite his people in all affairs and at all times
Chief controls economic activities, including re-distributive systems
Highly unstable--lesser chiefs try to take power from higher ranking chiefs
A Kpelle town chief in Liberia, West Africa, listens to a dispute in his district.
Settling disputes is one of several ongoing traditional tasks that fall to paramount chiefs among Kpelle people.
Most formal of all political organizations first appearing about 5,000 years ago
Tendency toward instability
Large numbers of people within defined territory; divided into social classes
Commonly referred to as a civilization
Should not confused with nation
Kurds: A Nation without a State
The Kurds, most of whom live in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, are an example of a nation without a state.
Political Systems and Legitimacy
Legitimacy : right to govern, hold, use, and allocate power based on values of society.
Varies cross culturally
Religion and Politics
Iran and Great Britain permit a closer relationship between political and religious affairs.
Shiite Muslim religious leader Ayatollah Khamenei is Iran’s supreme spiritual leader and his country’s highest political authority.
England: Queen Elizabeth 'Supreme Govenor' of Church of England
Political Leadership and Gender
Some societies--women politically equal with men:
Iroquoian tribes of New York State -- men held office; women appointed them and could remove them
Igbo of Nigeria -- women held positions that paralleled and balanced those of men
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia
Brought the country to prosperity by working with the US to relieve all of their debt
Gender and Politics:
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf inspects members of the Liberian police after taking the presidential oath in January 2006.
The first female president on the African continent, Sirleaf is a Harvard-educated economist who took the world by surprise when she won the head office in her war-torn and poverty-stricken country.
Internal beliefs self-imposed by individuals
Cultural controls deeply ingrained in the mind
Usually fear of shame, divine punishment, and magical retaliation
Most societies also have externalized controls
Designed to encourage conformity to social norms
Mix of cultural and social control: sanctions
Positive sanctions reward appropriate behavior
Negative sanctions punish behavior
Witchcraft often employed as social control mechanism in uncentralized societies
May be used either internally or externally
Formal sanctions may involve some form of regulated combat, see here as armed dancers near Mount Hagen in New Guinea demand redress for murder.
Functions of Law
Formal rules of conduct that, when violated, result in application of negative sanctions
Defines relationships among society’s members and their behavior
Allocates authority to employ coercion to enforce sanctions
Aids its own efficient operation by ensuring change is allowed
Western societies--acts against the state or an individual
Non-state societies--acts against kin-groups or individuals
Three ways disputes are resolved
Negotiation--use of direct argument and compromise to arrive voluntarily at mutually satisfactory agreement
Mediation- -Settlement of dispute through negotiation assisted by unbiased third party
Adjudication-- Mediation with unbiased third party making ultimate decision
Inuit Song Duels
Singing insults at one another, the crowd will pick the winner to solve the dispute. This is the traditional approach to dispute resolution among the Inuit of Northern Canada.
Over past 5,000 years estimated that humans created and fought over 14,000 wars
Reasons for war vary entirely upon society in which it is found
Each group has own objectives, motives, methods, and scale of warfare
One theory for war: aggressive nature of human male, however war is NOT a universal phenomenon
Another theory: people fearing future unpredictable disasters take resources of others
At very least, safe to assume warfare is result of misunderstanding and culture clash
Why Not War?
Countries economically interdependent (trade) have DECREASED chance of going to war
Countries equal in (and recent build-up of) military resources have INCREASED chance
Participatory political systems (democracies) have DECREASED chance compared with authoritarian governments
Cambodia: Politics of Reconciliation after Genocide
Map with skulls of victims of Khmer Rouge regime (1970’s)
1.7 million innocent Cambodians killed
Congo: Mass Murder and Rape
Congo an Africa’s failed states, With a wealth of precious natural resources—including gold, diamonds, and uranium—the country risks splintering. Since 1998, a war has devastated the peoples. Deaths of almost 6 million people, millions homeless. 200,000 refugees fleeing from the horrors of mass murder, pillage, famine, and rape.
Today, there are more than 250,000 child soldiers, many as young as 12 years old.
Among them are these boys training to be guerrillas in Sahel, Eritrea.
Warfare in Multinational States
In multinational states, warfare is common as one nationality suppresses others within the country.
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