Anthropology Political Organization

Anthropology Political Organization - Anthropology(9/13...

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Anthropology (9/13) Political Organization: Universal Challenges for all Societies: Certain tasks must be carried out in every society, without coercion people do not tend to produce more than they need to survive – don’t have incentive to produce surplus Affairs within a community or society have to be organized such as healing the ill, solving disputes, administering resources, preparing rituals Have to deal with the issue of managing complexity: drought, famine, hunger, war, pestilence, population growth, trade and how we respond to these things With universals we should expect diversity in the particulars – in the particular ways that the people deal with these problems Maximalist view vs. Minimalist View: 1. Minimalist: Relatively ethnocentric – understand the world from the view of the observer Focus especially on formal institutions like governments and institutions Focus especially on the modern state and the nation state, distorts our understanding of politics and political organization because ignores cross-culture variation Ignores revolutionary dimension of political organization because is ethnocentric Focuses only on politics and formal institutions 2. Maximalist: Grew out of study of stateless societies Were curious about diversity of political forms found in world and in trying to understand diversity in early state societies Earned that political agents tend to face the same problems all over the world Offers opportunity for us to grasp the range of activities that make up politics Not all societies have political offices or kinds of political institutions we recognize in nation states like US, but all societies have some type of political organization and people in organizations take on positions of leadership
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3. Both deal with their approach to their subject matter, how you shape your problem will affect what you study and focus on in the field. Pushes focus on institution and evolutionary questions into the background. If focus on political those questions come to the front and agents and individuals fall into the background. Political Anthropology: Came into study in early 30’s and 40’s from a book African Political Systems, since then anthropology has developed at least 5 major understandings: Structural Functionalist Approach – focus towards function, integration, and maintenance in a given society of culture Processual Approach – developed by the 60’s, emphasized conflict and politics, focused on actors and how actors pursued goals, reached out to other subjects explicitly and incorporated their data in developing their theory; have recently come to incorporate focus on nationalism, citizenship, modern nation state, identity, globalization, etc. Political Economy approach – emphasizes relation between politics and economics and
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This note was uploaded on 10/13/2008 for the course ANTH 101 taught by Professor Scarre during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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Anthropology Political Organization - Anthropology(9/13...

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