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A band society, sometimes called a camp, or in older usage, a horde, is the simplest form of human
society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be ...

society
. A band generally consists of a small
kin group__NOTOC__ Kin usually refers to kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often deba ...
, no larger than an
extended family An extended family is a family that extends beyond the nuclear family A nuclear family, elementary family or conjugal family is a family group consisting of a couple and their children (one or more). It is in contrast to a single-parent family, t ...

extended family
or
clan A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even withi ...
. The general consensus of modern anthropology sees the average number of members of a social band at the simplest level of foraging societies with generally a maximum size of 30 to 50 people.


Origins of usage in anthropology

Band was one of a set of three terms employed by early modern ethnography to analyse aspects of
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
foraging societies. The three were respectively 'horde,' 'band', and 'tribe'. The term 'horde', formed on the basis of a Turkish/Tatar word ''úrdú'' (meaning 'camp'), was inducted from its use in the works of J. F. McLennan by
Alfred William Howitt Alfred William Howitt , (17 April 1830 – 7 March 1908), also known by author citation (zoology), author abbreviation A.W. Howitt, was an Australian anthropologist, explorer and natural history, naturalist. He was known for leading the Victoria ...
and
Lorimer Fison Lorimer Fison (9 November 1832 – 29 December 1907) was an Australian anthropology, anthropologist, Methodism, Methodist minister and journalist. Early life Fison was born at Barningham, Suffolk, Barningham, Suffolk, England, the son of Thomas ...

Lorimer Fison
in the mid-1880s to describe a geographically or locally defined division within a larger tribal aggregation, the latter being defined in terms of social divisions categorized in terms of descent. Their idea was then developed by A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, as a model for all Australian indigenous societies, the horde being defined as a group of parental families whose married males all belonged to the one patrilineal clan. 'Horde' from the outset bore stereotypical connotations of Australian Aboriginal societies as primitive, closed, rigid and simple, and came to be discarded not only for its implication of 'swarming savages' but also because it suggested a fixed tribal- territorial entity which compromised the actual field data, the field data allowing for a far more fluid concept of the group. In 1936,
Julian Steward Julian Haynes Steward (January 31, 1902 – February 6, 1972) was an American anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, socie ...

Julian Steward
reformulated Radcliffe Brown's highly restrictive definition, by proposing the idea of a band society at the hunter-gatherer level which could be patrilineal, matrilineal or a composite of both. Over time, 'band' has tended to replace the earlier word 'horde' as more extensive comparative work on hunter-gatherer societies shows they are not classifiable as simply closed patrilineal groups, and better approached in terms of a notion of a flexible, non-exclusive social band, having bilateral relations for marriage and other purposes with similar groups in a circumscribed territory. In 1962,
Les Hiatt Lester Richard Hiatt (1931–14 February 2008), aka "Les Hiatt", was a scholar of Indigenous Australians, Australian Aboriginal societies who promoted Australian Aboriginal studies within both the academic world and within the wider public for almo ...
invalidated Radcliffe-Brown's theory of the horde, demonstrating that the empirical evidence from Aboriginal societies contradicted Radcliffe-Brown's generalisations. The word "band" is also used in North America, for example among the
indigenous peoples of the Great Basin The Indigenous peoples of the Great Basin are Native Americans of the northern Great Basin, Snake River Plain, and upper Colorado River basin. The "Great Basin" is a cultural classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas Classification ...
. With African hunter-gatherers, for instance among the Hadza, the term "camp" tends to be used.


Characteristics

Bands have a loose organization. They can split up (in spring/summer) or group (in winter camps), as the Inuit, depending on the season, or member families can disperse to join other bands. Their
power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, p ...
structure is often
egalitarian Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equality, prioritizing it for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all hu ...
. The best hunters would have their abilities recognized, but such recognition did not lead to the assumption of authority, as pretensions to control others would be met by disobedience. Judgments determined by collective discussion among the elders were formulated in terms of custom, as opposed to the law-governed and coercive agency of a specialized body, as occurred with the rise of the more complex societies that arose upon the establishment of sedentary agriculture.


Definitions and distinctions

A. R. Radcliffe-Brown defined the horde as a fundamental unit of Australian social organizations according to the following 5 criteria: # It denotes people who customarily share the same camp and lifestyle. # It is the primary landowner of a given territory. # Each horde was independent and autonomous, regulating its social life by a camp-council, generally under the direction of a headman. # Children pertained to the father's horde # A unified horde identity was affirmed in all relations with external tribes. In his 1975 study, ''The Notion of the Tribe'',
Morton Fried Morton Herbert Fried (March 21, 1923 in Bronx, New York – December 18, 1986 in Leonia, New Jersey),leadership Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and Br ...

leadership
that do not generate surpluses, pay
tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attr ...
es or support a standing
army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch, service branch ...
. Bands are distinguished from
tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...

tribe
s in that tribes are generally larger, consisting of many families. Tribes have more social institutions, such as a
chief Chief may refer to: Title or rank Military and law enforcement * Chief master sergeant Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) is the ninth, and highest, United States Air Force enlisted rank insignia, enlisted rank in the United States Air Force, ...
, big man, or
elders An elder is someone with a degree of seniority or authority. Elder or elders may refer to: Positions Administrative * Elder (administrative title), a position of authority Cultural * American Indian elder, a person who has and transmits cul ...
. Tribes are also more permanent than bands; a band can cease to exist if only a small group splits off or dies. Many tribes are subdivided into bands. On occasion hordes or bands with common backgrounds and interests could unite as a tribal aggregate in order to wage war, as with the
San
San
, or they might convene for collective religious ceremonies, such as initiation rites or to feast together seasonally on an abundant resource as was common in Australian aboriginal societies. Among the
Native Americans Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
of the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
and the
First Nations The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are groups of indigenous peoples in Canada, Canadian indigenous peoples, who are classified as distinct from the Inuit and Métis. Traditionally, the First Nations were peoples who lived south of ...
of
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocea ...

Canada
, some tribes are made up of official bands that live in specific locations, such as the various
bands of the Ojibwa tribe
bands of the Ojibwa tribe
.


Examples

Band societies historically were found throughout the world, in a variety of climates, but generally, as civilisations arose, were restricted to sparsely populated areas, tropical rainforests, tundras and deserts. With the spread of the modern
nation-state A nation state is a state in which a great majority shares the same culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, ...
around the globe, there are few true band societies left. Some historical examples include the
Shoshone The Shoshone or Shoshoni ( or ) are a Native American tribe with four large cultural/linguistic divisions: * Eastern Shoshone: Wyoming * Northern Shoshone: southern Idaho Idaho () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region o ...

Shoshone
of the
Great Basin The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the ...
in the United States, the
Bushmen The San peoples (also Saan), or Bushmen, are members of various Khoe languages, Khoe, Tuu languages, Tuu, or Kxʼa languages, Kxʼa-speaking indigenous hunter-gatherer cultures that are the Indigenous peoples of Africa, first cultures of Southe ...
of southern
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are ...

Africa
, the pygmies (
Mbuti The Mbuti people, or Bambuti, are one of several indigenous pygmy In anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, and society, societies, in both the pre ...
) of the
Ituri Rainforest 190px, Map of Ituri within the DRC The Ituri Rainforest is a rainforest Rainforests are forest A forest is an area of land dominated by trees. Hundreds of definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors s ...
in Africa, and many groups of
indigenous Australians Indigenous Australians are people with familial heritage to groups that lived in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent) ...
.


See also

*
Chiefdom A chiefdom is a form of hierarchical political organization in non-industrial societies usually based on kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all soci ...
*
Hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
*
Lineage-bonded society A lineage-bonded society is a type of acephalous society predicated on claims of a common ancestor. A lineage-bonded society is by population, the smallest classification of acephalous society. Beyond a certain size threshold, claims of common l ...
*
Band government In Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into th ...
, in which a "band" forms a fundamental component. *
Tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...

Tribe


Notes


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * {{refend * Anthropological categories of peoples Ethnology