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Chiefdom
A CHIEFDOM is a form of hierarchical political organization in non-industrial societies usually based on kinship , and in which formal leadership is monopolized by the legitimate senior members of select families or 'houses'. These elites form a political-ideological aristocracy relative to the general group
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Political Anthropology
POLITICAL ANTHROPOLOGY concerns the structure of political systems , looked at from the basis of the structure of societies. Political anthropologists include Pierre Clastres , E. E. Evans-Pritchard , Meyer Fortes , Georges Balandier , F.G. Bailey , Jeremy Boissevain , Marc Abélès, Ted C. Lewellen , Robert L. Carneiro , John Borneman and Joan Vincent. CONTENTS* 1 History of political anthropology * 1.1 From stateless anthropology to an anthropology in and of the state * 2 See also * 3 Notes * 4 References HISTORY OF POLITICAL ANTHROPOLOGY Political anthropology has its roots in the 19th century. At that time, thinkers such as Lewis H. Morgan
Lewis H. Morgan
and Sir Henry Maine tried to trace the evolution of human society from 'primitive' or 'savage' societies to more 'advanced' ones
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Legal Anthropology
LEGAL ANTHROPOLOGY, also known as the ANTHROPOLOGY OF LAWS, is a sub-discipline of anthropology which specializes in "the cross-cultural study of social ordering". The questions that Legal Anthropologists seek to answer concern how is law present in cultures? How does it manifest? How may anthropologists contribute to understandings of law? Earlier legal anthropological research focused more narrowly on conflict management, crime, sanctions, or formal regulation. Bronisław Malinowski
Bronisław Malinowski
's 1926 work, Crime and Custom in Savage Society, explored law, order, crime, and punishment among the Trobriand Islanders
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Ascribed Status
ASCRIBED STATUS is the social status a person is assigned at birth or assumed involuntarily later in life. It is a position that is neither earned nor chosen but assigned. These rigid social designators remain fixed throughout an individual's life and are inseparable from the positive or negative stereotypes that are linked with one's ascribed statuses. The practice of assigning such statuses to individuals exists cross-culturally within all societies and is based on gender, race, family origins, and ethnic backgrounds. For example, a person born into a wealthy family has a high ascribed status based solely on the social networks and economic advantages that one gains from being born into a family with more resources than others. In contrast, an achieved status is a social position a person takes on voluntarily that reflects both personal ability and merit
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Achieved Status
ACHIEVED STATUS is a concept developed by the anthropologist Ralph Linton denoting a social position that a person can acquire on the basis of merit; it is a position that is earned or chosen. It is the opposite of ascribed status . It reflects personal skills, abilities, and efforts. Examples of achieved status are being an Olympic athlete, being a criminal, or being a college professor. Status is important sociologically because it comes with a set of rights, obligations, behaviors, and duties that people occupying a certain position are expected or encouraged to perform. These expectations are referred to as roles . For instance, the role of a "professor" includes teaching students, answering their questions, being impartial, appropriately
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Social Status
SOCIAL STATUS is the position or rank of a person or group, within the society. Status can be determined in two ways. One can earn their social status by their own achievements, which is known as achieved status . Alternatively, one can be placed in the stratification system by their inherited position, which is called ascribed status . An _embodied status_ is one that is generated by physical characteristics located within our physical selves (such as beauty, physical disability, stature, build). The status that is the most important for an individual at a given time is called master status
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Caste
CASTE is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy , hereditary transmission of a lifestyle which often includes an occupation, status in a hierarchy, and customary social interaction and exclusion. Although caste systems exist in various regions, its paradigmatic ethnographic example is the division of Indian society into rigid social groups, with roots in India's ancient history and persisting until today. However, the economic significance of the caste system in India has been declining as a result of urbanization and affirmative action programs. A subject of much scholarship by sociologists and anthropologists, the Indian caste system is sometimes used as an analogical basis for the study of caste-like social divisions existing outside India. The term is also applied to non-human populations like ants and bees
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Age Grade
For Ageclass in forestry see Timber metrics Part of a series on Political and legal anthropology Basic concepts Status and rank * Ascribed status * Achieved status * Social status
Social status
*
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Age Set
In anthropology , an AGE SET is a social category or corporate social group , consisting of people of similar age, who have a common identity, maintain close ties over a prolonged period, and together pass through a series of age-related statuses. This is in contrast to an age grade , through which people pass individually over time. While a year group or class in a school could be regarded as a simple example of an age set (e.g. 'Class of 2004'), the term is most commonly used to refer to systems in tribal societies . The phenomenon is most prevalent in East Africa
East Africa
, central Brazil
Brazil
and parts of New Guinea , where in many societies the importance of social groupings based on age eclipses that of social groupings based on kinship and descent . Age sets in these societies are formed by the periodic grouping together of young people—usually men—into a corporate unit with a name and a collective identity
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Leveling Mechanism
In cultural anthropology , a LEVELING MECHANISM is a practice that acts to ensure social equality , usually by shaming or humbling members of a group that attempt to put themselves above other members. One commonly given example of a leveling mechanism is the !Kung practice of "shaming the meat", particularly as illustrated by the Canadian anthropologist Richard Borshay Lee in his article "Eating Christmas in the Kalahari" (1969). When Lee gave the !Kung an ox as a Christmas gift, the !Kung responded by insulting the gift, calling it a "bag of bones" and joking that they would have to eat the horns because there was no meat on it. Lee later asked a man named Tomazo why his gift was insulted in this way. He responded that it was because the gift was arrogant. Lee asked what he meant by this and was told: Yes, when a young man kills much meat he comes to think of himself as a chief or a big man, and he thinks of the rest of us as his servants or inferiors
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Big Man (anthropology)
A BIG MAN is a highly influential individual in a tribe , especially in Melanesia
Melanesia
and Polynesia
Polynesia
. Such a person may not have formal tribal or other authority (through for instance material possessions, or inheritance of rights), but can maintain recognition through skilled persuasion and wisdom. The big man has a large group of followers, both from his clan and from other clans. He provides his followers with protection and economic assistance, in return receiving support which he uses to increase his status. CONTENTS * 1 Big Man "system" * 2 Position * 3 System in Papua New Guinea * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Further reading BIG MAN "SYSTEM"The American anthropologist Marshall Sahlins has studied the Big Man phenomenon
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Patriarchy
In sociology , PATRIARCHY is a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority , social privilege and control of property. In the domain of the family, fathers or father-figures hold authority over women and children. Some patriarchal societies are also patrilineal , meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage. Historically, patriarchy has manifested itself in the social, legal, political, religious and economic organization of a range of different cultures. Even if not explicitly defined to be by their own constitutions and laws, most contemporary societies are, in practice, patriarchal
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Matriarchy
MATRIARCHY is a social system in which females hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of men, at least to a large degree. While those definitions apply in general English, definitions specific to the disciplines of anthropology and feminism differ in some respects. Most anthropologists hold that there are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal, but some authors believe exceptions may exist or may have. Matriarchies may also be confused with matrilineal , matrilocal , and matrifocal societies. A few people consider any non-patriarchal system to be matriarchal, thus including genderally equalitarian systems (Peggy Reeves Sanday favors redefining and reintroducing the word matriarchy, especially in reference to contemporary matrilineal societies such as the Minangkabau ), but most academics exclude them from matriarchies strictly defined
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Pantribal Sodalities
In anthropology, a PANTRIBAL SODALITY is a social grouping which is not determined by family membership (non-kin), and which extends across an entire tribe . Pantribal sodalities sometimes arise in areas where two or more different cultures overlap and are in regular contact. Such sodalities are especially likely to develop in the presence of warfare between tribes. Drawing their membership from different villages of the same tribe, such groups could mobilize men in many local groups for attack or retaliation against another tribe. The best examples come from the Great Plains
Great Plains
of North America and from tropical Africa
Africa
. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Native American societies of the Great Plains
Great Plains
of the United States and Canada experienced a rapid growth of pantribal sodalities
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