Anth. 102 Notes

Anth. 102 Notes - Exam 2: Anthropology Politics Minimalists...

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Exam 2: Anthropology Politics Minimalists believe government and political phenomena exist in formal political institutions. Anth have developed a Maximalist approach to study, done so because realize that there are a large range of informal political institutions. They occur in unlikely context: such as witchcraft institutions, kinship relationships, and religious institutions. Maximilist approach treat, as a matter of principle, a very wide range of practices as political. Politics: process and method of making decisions for groups. Ex: group we deal with is citizenry of societies the political groups that make decisions for groups look at religious structure s. There are clans in many societies, have clan heads may have political parties. Look at domestic unit, the acquisition, use and distribution of power at many different levels of society. Political anthropology often take into account the forces that drive the society, forces not simply human, sometimes divine, supernatural. Important recognition of the cardinal element, the pursuit of gain by individuals. (gain may be financial, spiritual, authority, prestige) Legitimacy : Involves the right to exercise power, the conferral of authority, a degree of social acceptance of the right of an individual (or set of individuals) to exercise power. Rhetori c: the choice of argument an individual or group uses to acquire legitimacy. Rhetoric is important because used by individuals to gauge whether they should put their trust into that person. Political anth think leaders have legitimacy and offices have legitimacy. It is strongly consensual. Marshall Sahlin’s “Poor Man, Rich Man, Big-Man, Chief: Political Types in Melanesia and Polynesia”: The contrast between developed Polynesian and underdeveloped Melanesian polities is striking. Melanesian scheme of small, separate, and equal political blocs, compares with the Polynesian polity which is an extensive pyramid of groups capped by the family and following of a paramount chief. The Melanesian Big man status: The attainment of this status is the outcome of a series of acts which elevate a person above a common herd. In the internal sector, the Big Man has true command ability, outside of it he only has fame and indirect influence. Two shortcomings: a comparative instability, flux of rising and falling leaders, enlarging and contracting factions. Secondly, the possibility of desertion inhibits the leaders ability to forcibly push up his followers’ output which therefore constraints a higher political organization. Polynesian chiefdom became an extensive set of offices, a pyramid of higher and lower chiefs holding sway over larger and smaller sections of the polity. Comparative point: the qualities of command that had to be personally demonstrated by men in Melanesian in order to attract loyal followers, were in Polynesia socially assigned to office and rank. Class notes: Marshall Sahlins is trying to find out how power operates and is structured.
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Anth. 102 Notes - Exam 2: Anthropology Politics Minimalists...

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