Political Organization and the Maintenance of Order- Text Flashcards Preview

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What are complex centralized political structures a product of?

mainly the 17th and 18th centuries


What does the term "political organization" refer to?

The way power is distributed and embedded in a cultural group, whether it involves organizing a net hunt of passing legislation. In other words, political organization is linked to the way power is used to coordinate and regulate behaviour so that order is maintained.


True or False: Some form of political organization exists in all human groups.



What are the 4 basic kinds of political systems?

uncentralized bands and tribes, and centralized chiefdoms and states


What are uncentralized political systems?

In many non-Western cultural groups, marriage and kinship form the principal means of social organizations


What are the economies of uncentralized political systems? What about population?

The economies of these groups are of a subsistence type and populations are typically quite small


Describe the leader of a uncentralized political system? What about people not conforming?

Leaders do not have the power to force compliance with the society's customs or laws, but if individual members do not conform, they may become the target of scorn and gossip of even be ostracized.


Describe how important decisions are made a uncentralized political system?

Important decisions are usually made in a democratic manner by a consensus of adults, often including women s well as men; dissenting members may decide to act with the majority, or they may choose to adopt some other course of action, if they are willing to risk the social consequences.


True or False: a uncentralized political system provides great flexibility, which in many situations confers an adaptive advantage.



What is a band?

A small group of related households occupying a particular region who gather periodically but do not yield their sovereignty to the larger collective.


Whom are bands found among/

Bands are found among foragers, hungers, and other nomadic groups


How do bands organize themselves politically?

Politically autonomous extended-family groups


How may bands be characterized?

Bands may be characterized as associated of related families who occupy a common (often vaguely defined) territory and who live there together for as long as environmental and subsistence circumstances are favourable.


What is the oldest form of political organization?

The band is the oldest form of political organization, since all humans once were hunters and gathers.


Why is conflict reduced in bands>

- egalitarian groups
- the potential for conflicts to develop is much reduced


How are disputes settled in bands?

Informally through gossip, ridicule, direct negotiation, or meditation. For conflict resolution, the emphasis is placed on community healing rather than punishment.


How are decisions made in a band?

Decisions affecting a band are made with the participation of all adult members, with an emphasis on achieving consensus rather than a simply majority.


What is consensus?

A general agreement among adult members of a group.


What is leadership based on in a band?

Leadership is based on ability, and leaders maintain their position only as long as they retain the community's confidence.


What is an example of a band?

Ju / 'hoansi


Describe a leader in the Ju / 'hoansi society.

The leader, called the kxau, or "owner," is the focal point for the band's theoretical ownership of the territory. That leader, male or female, symbolically personifies the rights of band members to ownership.


What is an important technique for resolving disputes in bands?

Mobility. Those who are unable to get along with others of their group simply "vote with their feet" and move to another group where kinship ties give them entry rights.


What is a tribe?

A group of nominally independent communities occupying a specific region and sharing a common language and culture integrated by some unifying factor.


Describe the tribal system.

A tribal system is one that involves separate bands or villages integrated by factors such as kinship and clans. People are united into communities or age grades or associations that crosscut kinship or territorial boundaries.


What do those who belong to tribes have to sacrifice?

Sacrifice a degree of household autonomy to a larger-order group in return for greater security against enemy attacks or starvation.


What is the economy of a tribe typically based on?

Economy based on some form of farming or herding, lending to tribal membership being larger than band membership as these production methods usually yield more food than foraging does.


What does each tribe consist of?

Each tribe consists of two or more small, autonomous local communities, which may form alliances with one another for various purposes.


What is tribal political organization?

Informal and temporary


Describe leadership among tribes?

Leadership among tribes is informal. A local leader among the Blackfoot, for example, was a man respected for his wisdom and hunting prowess. They do not have formal means of control.


How are decisions made in tribes?

Groups decisions were made by public consensus.


What induced members of a tribe to abide by group decisions?

Gossip, criticism, withdrawal of cooperation,and the belief that antisocial actions caused disease.


What is the "Big Man" in the tribal leadership of the Melanesian?

The Big Man combines a small amount of interest in his tribe's welfare with a great deal of self-interested cunning and calculation for his own gain. His status is the result of acts that a raise him above most other tribe members and that attract him to a band of loyal followers.


How must one achieve the status of leader in a tribe?

To achieve this status, one must be male, wealthy, generous, and eloquent; physical bravery and skill in dealing with the supernatural are two other frequent characteristics. The possession of wealth must be coupled with the trait of generosity, the willingness to make loans.


How des a leader acquire his political power in a tribe?

Through the loans he makes, he acquires his political power. Other villagers comply with his requests because their win his debt.


What is the organizing unit and seat of political authority in many tribal groups?

the clan -- that is, an association of people who believe themselves to share a common ancestry.


What is the segmentary lineage system?

A form of political organization in which a large group is broken up into clans, which are further divided into lineages. It is a form of tribal kinship bond. This system is similar in operation to the clan, but it is less extensive and is relatively rare.


What is political organization like among segmentary lineage systems?

Political organization among segmentary lineages is usually informal, although older tribal members may exercise some personal authority.


How many clans exist among the Nuer, who number about 200 000 people? Describe.

- at least 20 clans exist
- each is patrilineal and is segmented into maximal lineages; each of these is in turn segmented into major lineages, which are segmented into minor lineages, which in turn are segmented into minimal lineages


Describe lineage segments among the Nuer.

Lineage segments among the Nuer are all equal The lineage's superstructure is merely an alliance and becomes active only during conflicts between any of the minimal segments.


What is the system of political organization among the Nuer known as?

complementary or balanced opposition


How are disputes among the Nuer (which are frequent) settled?

Any resulting social disruption is minimized by the actions of the "leopard-skin chief," who is not really a chief, but rather a holder of a ritual conciliation office. The leopard-skin chief has no political power and is viewed as standing outside the lineage network.


What do age-grade systems provide a tribe with?

A means of political integration beyond the kind group. Youths are initiated into an age grade and pass from one age grade to another at a appropriate ages.


In bands and tribes, authority is uncentralized and each group is___and___autonomous

- economically
- politically


What is political organization vested in in bands and tribes?

kinship, age, and common-interest groups


True or False: In bands and tribes populations are small and relatively homogeneous, with people engaged mostly in the same sorts of activities throughout their lives



What happens as populations increase, technology becomes more complex, and trade networks and labour specialization produces a surplus of goods in uncentralized political systems?

The opportunity for some individuals or groups to exercise control increases


How is political power organized in a centralized system?

In such groups, political authority and power are concentrated in a single individual--the chief--or in a body of individuals--the state.


Where is the state found?

The state is found in societies where each individual must interact on a regular basis with large numbers of people whose interests are diverse and who are neither kin nor close acquaintances.


What is a chiefdom?

A regional polity in which two or more local groups are organized under a single chief, who is at the head of a ranked hierarchy of people.


Describe the office of the chief.

The office of the chief is usually hereditary, passing from a man to his own or his sister's son. The chief is generally a true authority figure, and his authority unites his people in all affairs and at all times.


True or False: A chiefdom does not have a recognized hierarchy consisting of major and minor authorities who control major and minor subdivisions...a chain or command.

False. They do.


How do chiefs maintain their power?

Although chiefs inherit their offices, in practice they maintain power through personal abilities and as exemplars of what is almost always seen as a semisacred position.


What does the chief control?

The chief controls the economic activities of his people.


What type of system are chiefdoms (typically)? Describe.

Typically, chiefdoms are redistributive systems: the chief has control over surplus goods and perhaps even over the community labour force.


True or False: The chief may amass a great amount of personal wealth and pass it on to his heirs. They may use their possessions as evidence of status.



Why have chiefdoms in all parts of the world been highly unstable?

The result of lesser chiefs attempting to wrest power from higher ranking chiefs or of paramount chiefs vying with one another for supreme power.


What is the state?

In anthropology, a centralized political system with the power to coerce.


What is the most formal of all political institutions?

the state


How is power grouped in a state/

political power is centralized in a government, which may legitimately use force to regulate the affairs of tis citizens as well s relations with other states.


What resulted in states?

Increased food production results in increased population. Together, these lead to landscape modifications such as irrigation and terracing. They lead to competition for lands, rural populations large enough to support market systems and a specialized urban sector. As overcrowding develops, resources become scarcer, and ethnocentrism becomes more pronounced. The potential for social conflict rises dramatically. Increase in hierarchical authority and a loss of individual freedom and autonomy is the price that humanity has paid for the ability to live together in far greater concentrations. State institution have provided the necessary institutions for living together at high densities.


What is the guiding ideology of the ate?

That they are permanent and stable.


When did states first appear?

5000-6000 years ago


Have states been relatively permanent?

no, they show a clear tendency toward instability and collapse


What are the longest-lasting social forms invented by humans

uncentralized political systems


What is a nation?

Communities of people who see themselves as "one people" on the basis of common ancestry, history, society, institutions, ideology, language, territory, and (often) religion


How many states are recognized in the world by the UN?



How many nations exist in the world today?



What makes each nation?

Is that is people share a language, culture, territorial based, and political organization and a common history"


True or False: Today, states commonly have living within they boundaries people more than one nation. Rarely do state and nation collide.



___percent of the world's states are multinational.



What are Japan and Iceland examples of?

The state and nation colliding (nation state)


True or False: There are a number of societies in which women enjoy as much political power as men.



Describe the role of women in band societies.

It is common for women to have as much say in public affairs as men, even though the latter more often than not are the nominal leaders of their groups.


Describe the role of women and men in the Igbo of Nigeria.

- dual-sex systems
- possessed separate political institutions for men and women that provided each sex with its own autonomous sphere of authority, as well as areas of shared responsibility
- a male obi, considered the head of government hough in fact he presided over the male community, and a female omg, the acknowledged mother of the womb community but in practice concerned with the female section.


True or False: the omg was neither the obi's wife nor the previous obi's daughter



Who managed a women's affairs in the Igbo?

Women managed they own affairs, and their interests were represented at all levels of government. Moreover, they had the right t enforce their decisions and rules by applying sanctions similar to those men employed.


What happened with British colonial rule with the Igbo?

- Given the high visibility of women in the Igbo political system, it is surprising that when the British imposed colonial rule on these people, they failed to recognize the autonomy and power these women possessed
- As a consequence, the British introduced "reforms" that destroyed women's traditional autonomy and power without providing alternative forms. The British robbed Igbo women of their equality and made them subordinate to men


True of False: Historically, in state-organized societies, men usually have been subordinate to women.

- Typically in state-organized societies, women usually have been subordinate to men.


What is cultural control?

Control through beliefs and values deeply internalized in the minds of individuals.


What is social control?

Control over groups through coercion and sanctions.


What is sanctions?

Externalized social controls designed to encourage conformity to social norms.


What are some examples of cultural controls?

Cultural controls are built in, or internalized, and rely on deterrents such as fear of supernatural punishment--ancestral ghosts sabotaging the hunting, for example--and magical retaliation. The individual expects some sort of punishment, even though no on erin the community may be aware of the wrongdoing.


Sanctions are___controls and involve varying mixes of cultural and social control.



What needs to happen in order for a sanction to be effective?

If the sanction is to be effective, it cannot be arbitrary. Sanctions must be consistently applied, and the culture's members must know generally of their existence.


What are the following examples of: awards, titles, and recognition by one's neighbours.

positive sanctions


What do positive sanctions consist of?

Incentives to conformity


What are the following examples of: imprisonment, corporal punishment, or ostracism from the community for violation of social norms.

negative sanctions


What do negative sanctions consist of?



Sanctions can also be___or___, depending on whether a legal statute is involved.

formal or informal


What is a law?

Formal negative sanctions


What are formal sanctions?

Formal sanctions, such as laws, are always organized. They are attempts to precisely and explicitly regulate people's behaviour.


What are informal sanctions?

Informal sanctions emphasize cultural control and are diffuse in nature, involving spontaneous expressions of approval or disapproval by members of the community. Because most people want to be accepted, they are willing to acquiesce to the rules that govern dress, eating, and conversation, even in the absence of actual laws.


True or False: Witchcraft is another agent of control in human groups, whether they possess a centralized political system or not.



What does Bronislaw Malinowski argue about the rules of law?

Argues that the rules of law are distinguished from the rules of custom in that "they are regarded as the obligation of one person and the rightful claim of another, sanctioned not by mere psychological motive, but by a definite social machinery of binding force based...upon mutual dependence." In other words, laws exemplify social control because they employ overt coercion.


What did E. Adamson Hoebel believe about the definition of law?

"A social norm is legal if its neglect or infraction is regularly met, in threat or in fact, by the application of physical force by an individual or group possessing the socially recognized privilege of so acting"


What are the three basic functions of law?

1) defines relationships among members of a culture, determining proper behaviour under specified circumstances.
2) law allocates the authority to employ coercion in the enforcement of sanctions.
3) law functions to redefine social relations and to ensure social flexibility.


What do nation-states with a centralized government make a clear distinction between?

Offences against the state and offences against individuals, usually glossed under headings of criminal versus civil offences.


How are all offences viewed in cultures without centralized governance?

All offences are viewed as against members, and, importantly, against the community, rather than against the state, rendering the distinction between crime and tort irrelevant.


In which two ways are disputes settled?

1) negotiation (or mediation)
2) adjudication


What is negation?

The use of direct argument and comprise by the parties to a dispute to arrive voluntarily at a mutually satisfactory agreement.


When is negotiation referred to as mediation?

If it involves an unbiased third party's assistance


What is mediation?

Settlement of a dispute through negation assisted by an unbiased third party


What is adjudication?

Mediation with an unbiased third party making the ultimate decision


What does negotiation often act as?

a prerequisite or an alternative to adjudication


Is war a universal phenomenon?



True or False: In the past 10 000 years war has only become problem, since the development of food-production techniques and with the emergence of centralized states.



True or False: Warfare has reached crisis proportions only in the past 150 years.



What is the definition of world views?

The conceptions, explicit and implicit, and individual or a group has of the limits and workings of its world


What may provide more stimuli for warfare among farming peoples?

centralization of political control and the possession of valuable property


Among which people did warfare become prominent? Why?

Among farmers and pastoralists because where populations are small, food surpluses absent, property ownership minimal, and state organization nonexistent, the likelihood of organized violence by one group against another is nominal. Food-producing peoples are far more prone to the pressures of population growth. This can lead to resource depletion.


Another difference tween food-gathering and food-producing populations lies in their different___views.



What is the world view of foragers?

As a general rule, foragers tend to conceive of themselves as a part of the natural world an din some sort of balance with it.


What is the naturalistic world view?

The belief that humans are merely one part of the natural world.
- foragers hold this view


What is the exploitative world view?

The belief that nature exists for humans to dominate and exploit.


What can the exploitative world view lead to?

dominating other humans groups for the benefit of one's own


What is structural violence?

The widespread practice in many societies or inflicting harm on subordinate sectors of society by indirect means--such as poorer housing, schooling, or health care--rather than through the direct exercise o force and coercion.


What is the primary goal of peacekeeping?

Toe establish conditions in troubled societies that will enable the people to resolve their differences and build a better future.


What must the political system of all cultures do?

Whatever form a culture's political system may take and however the people may go about their business, it must find some way to obtain the people's allegiance.


How do uncentralized political systems and centralized political systems differ when it comes to obtaining the people's allegiance?

In uncentralized systems, where every adult participates in all decision making, loyalty and cooperation are freely given, since each person is considered a part of the political system. As the group grows larger, however, and the organization becomes more formal, the problems of obtaining and keeping public support become greater. The problems becomes especially acute in complex societies in which the population has become divided into social classes.


What do centralized political systems increasingly rely on as a means of social control? In which two ways may this be expressed?

Given this social inequality, centralized political systems increasing rely really on coercion as a means of social control. Coercion may be expressed overtly by legal sanctions or covertly by rules that force people to accept poorer housing, lower wages, and/or inadequate access to health care, education, and opportunities for upward mobility.


What is covert coercion also referred to as?

Structural violens--in other words, violence that people experience by they position in society and not by physical punishment.


What is legitimacy?

Legitimacy is a former support for a political system; unlike force legitimacy is based on the values a particular culture believes most important. Legitimacy grants the right to hold, use, and allocate power.


Describe power based on legitimacy.

Power based on legitimacy is symbolic and depends not on any intrinsic value but rather on the positive expectations of those who recognize and accede to it.


What is Antonio Gramsci's concept of hegemony?

In class societies, ruling elites attempt to frame their ideas in a society as a whole. Hegemony equals legitimacy when the ideas of the ruling class are identified not as the narrow interests of the dominant elite, but rather as expressing the "natural" order of things and simple "common sense."


Historically,___belief has been one of the most effective means for elites to ensure legitimacy of their rule.



True or False: Religion is not intrinsically connected with politics.



In both industrial and nonindustrial societies, what is belief in the supernatural reflected in?

the political organization