How do Anthropologists Study Politics?
❖ Variation in Political Organization
o Factors associated with
■ How food is procured: food collection to food production to increasingly intensive food production
■ Where people live: small, fluid to large, permanent communities, rural to urban
■ Concentration of people: low to high population
■ How society is organized: egalitarian to ranked to class and caste hierarchical social organization
■ The role of kinship
❖ Egalitarian Societies
o Foragers and horticulturalists
o Equal access to status positions
■ For person of same ability (ex. leadership)
o Dependency on sharing
o Separation of status from actual possession of wealth
❖ Rank Societies
o Agriculturalists and pastoralists
o Unequal access to prestige/status but not major unequal access to economic resources/power o Position of chief partially hereditary
o Generosity for redistribution and maintenance of economic equality
❖ Class (Stratified) Societies
o Unequal access to prestige, economic resources, and power
o Differing classes have differing opportunities
o Various mechanisms of class perpetuation
o Boundaries between classes is established by custom and tradition
o Open systems
■ Some possibility of moving from one class to another
o Closed (caste) systems
■ Ranked group where membership is determined at birth
■ Marriage is restricted to members of one's own caste
• Ex. India, Japan, Rwanda
❖ The Search for Laws of Social Organization
o Thinkers such as Karl Marx and Lewis Henry Morgan looked for laws through historical change o Biological determinists look or biological triggers o Cultural ecologists look to the natural environment
o Anthropologists find that in fact, there is no law, that social organization is arbitrary
❖ Varieties of Social Organization
o Social Organization
■ The patterning of human interdependence in a given society through the action and decision of its members
o Power
■ Transformative capacity; the ability to transform a given situation - laws
❖ The Power to Act
o Power
■ Transformative capacity; the ability to transform a given situation
o Political Anthropology
■ The study of social power in human society
■ State and non-state societies
■ Coercion verses free agency
❖ What could lead people to accept coercion?
o Antonio Gramsci
■ Ideology
• Worldview that justifies the social relationships under which people live
■ Domination
• Unstable and expensive
■ Hegemony
• A system of leadership in which rulers persuade subordinated to accept the ideology of the dominant group by offering mutual accommodations that nevertheless preserve the rulers' privileged position
❖ Power as an Independent Entity
o Resistance
■ The power to refuse being forced against ones will to conform to someone else's wished
o Consensus
■ An agreement to which all parties collectively give their assent
o Persuasion
■ Power based on verbal argument
❖ The Power of Imagination and of Reflection
o Anomie
■ A pervasive sense of rootlessness and normlessness in a society
o Alienation
■ The deep separation that individuals experience between their innermost sense of identity and the labour they are forced to perform in order to survive
❖ Power at Work in the Contemporary World: Biopower and Governmentality
o Michel Foucault
o Biopower
■ Preoccupied with the bodied of citizens and the social body itself
o Governmentality
■ The art of governing appropriate to promoting the welfare of populations within a state
❖ How are Politics, Gender and Kinship Related?
o Katherine Bowie
■ Demonstrated that it is impossible to understand local (electoral) politics without understanding local kinship and lineage practices
• Ex. Thailand = matrilocality and matrilineal kinship
■ Because of how kinship system works (women stay local, husbands marry into villages), it is the lineages that govern economic exchanged
❖ Role of Kinship
o Hereditary leadership = Ascribed
■ Common in rank and state societies
■ Monarchies
• Rules of succession
■ Visually identifiable
• Tattoos (Polynesia)
• Dress (crowns, other symbols of state - items are passed down) o Versus achieved status/leadership
❖ How are Immigration and Politics Related?
o "New Europe" as case study
■ Many implications of immigration including
• Globalization
• Negotiation identity
■ Different countries view immigration differently
• Umberto Melotti
French= "ethnocentric assimilationism"
British= "uneven pluralism"
Germany= "institutionalized of precariousness"
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