How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

159 terms

Political Organization and Social Control

ANTHRO 101
STUDY
PLAY
age grades
Permanent age categories in a society through which people pass during the course of a lifetime.
age organizations
A type of social organization found in East Africa and among certain Native American groups, wherein people of roughly the same age pass through different levels of society together; each ascending level, based on age, carries with it increased social status and rigidly defined roles.
age set
A group of people roughly the same age who pass through various age grades together.
ancestor worship
The worship of deceased relatives; these souls are considered supernatural beings and fully functioning members of a descent group.
authority
The power or right to give commands, take action, and make binding decisions.
autocracy
A form of government that is controlled by a leader who holds absolute power and denies popular participation in decision making.
band societies
Bands are the basic social units in many hunting-andgathering societies; these societies are characterized by being kinship based and having no permanent political structure.
chiefdoms
An intermediate form of political organization in which integration is achieved through the office of chiefs.
coercive theory of state formation
The argument that the state came into existence as a direct result of warfare.
corporate lineages
Kinship groups whose members engage in daily activities together.
council of elders
A formal control mechanism composed of a group of elders who settle disputes among individuals in a society.
crime
Harm to a person or property that is considered illegitimate by society.
degradation ceremonies
Deliberate and formal societal mechanisms designed to publicly humiliate someone who has broken a social norm.
democracy
A type of political system that involves popular participation in decision making.
deviance
The violation of a social norm.
ghost invocation
The practice of a living person (typically an elder) calling forth the wrath of ancestor-gods against an alleged sinner.
ghostly vengeance
The belief that ancestor-gods (ghosts) will punish sinners.
headless societies
Societies without political leaders, such as presidents, kings, or chiefs.
hydraulic theory of state formation
The notion that early state systems of government arose because small-scale farmers were willing to surrender a portion of their autonomy to a large government entity in exchange for the benefits of largescale irrigation systems.
intermediaries
Mediators of disputes among individuals or families within a society.
law
Cultural rules that regulate human behavior and maintain order.
Leopard-Skin Chief
An intermediary found among the Nuer of the African Sudan.
moots
Informal hearings of disputes for the purpose of resolving conflicts, usually found in small-scale societies.
nation
A group of people who share a common identity, history, and culture.
negative sanctions
Punishment for violating the norms of a society.
oath
A declaration to a god to attest to the truth of what a person says.
ordeal
A painful and possibly life-threatening test inflicted on someone suspected of wrongdoing to determine guilt or innocence.
pan-tribal mechanisms
Mechanisms such as clans, age grades, and secret societies found in tribal societies that cut across kinship lines and serve to integrate all the local segments of the tribe into a larger whole.
political coerciveness
The capacity of a political system to enforce its will on the general population.
political integration
The process that brings disparate people under the control of a single political system.
positive sanctions
A mechanism of social control for enforcing a society's norms through rewards.
public opinion
What the general public thinks about some issue; when public opinion is brought to bear on an individual, it can influence his or her behavior.
rebellion
An attempt within a society to disrupt the status quo and redistribute the power and resources.
revolution
An attempt to overthrow the existing form of political organization, the principles of economic production and distribution, and the allocation of social status.
sanctions
Any means used to enforce compliance with the rules and norms of a society.
social control
Mechanisms found in all societies that function to encourage people not to violate the social norms.
social norms
Expected forms of behavior.
socialization
Teaching young people the norms in a society.
song duel
A means of settling disputes over wife stealing among the Inuit involving the use of song and lyrics to determine one's guilt or innocence.
specialized political roles
Assignment and training of people who will carry out very specific tasks such as law enforcement, tax collection, dispute settlement, recruitment of labor, and protection from outside invasions.
state
A particular type of political structure that is hierarchical, bureaucratic, centralized, and has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force to implement its policies.
state system of government
A bureaucratic, hierarchical form of government composed of various echelons of political specialists.
supernatural belief systems
A set of beliefs in forces that transcend the natural, observable world.
tribal societies
Small-scale societies composed of autonomous political units and sharing common linguistic and cultural features.
voluntaristic theory of state formation
The theory that stable systems of state government arose because people voluntarily surrendered some of their autonomy to the state in exchange for certain benefits.
warfare
Institutionalized, armed conflict between nation-states or other politically distinct groups.
witchcraft
An inborn, involuntary, and often unconscious capacity to cause harm to other people.
acephalous
lacking a government head or chief
age grades
specialized associations, based on age, that stratify a society by seniority
age set
a group of people of similar age and sex who move through some or all of life's stages together
authority
the approved use of power, based on personal characters or on the holding of formal public office
band
a small group of people related by blood or marriage, who live together and are loosely associated with a territory in which they forage
bigman
a self-made leader who gains power through personal achievements rather than through political office
bureaucracy
administrative hierarchy characterized by specialization of function and fixed rules
chiefdom
a society with social ranking in which political integration is achieved through an office of centralized leadership called the chief
citizenship
those persons invested by the state with rights and duties, based on criteria such as residence or other group affiliations
compensation
a payment demanded by an aggrieved party to compensate for damage
deviants
those who transgress society's rules
egalitarian society
a society in which no individual or group has more privileged access to resources, power, or prestige than any other
elites
the social strata that has differential access to all culturally valued resources, whether power, wealth, or prestige, and possessively protects its control over these resources
factions
informal alliances within a group or society
government
an interrelated set of status roles that become separate from other aspects of social organization such as kinship
hegemony
the (usually elite) construction of ideologies, beliefs, and values that attempt to justify the stratification system in a state society
law
a means of social control and dispute management through the systematic application of force by those in society with the authority to do so
leadership
the ability to direct an enterprise or action
mediation
a form of managing disputes that uses the offices of a third party to achieve voluntary agreement between disputing parties
political ideology
the shared beliefs and values that legitimize the distribution and use of power in a particular society
political organization
the patterned ways in which power is legitimately used in a society to regulate behavior, maintain social order, make collective decisions, and deal with social disorder
political process
the ways in which individuals and groups use power to achieve public goals
power
the ability to impose one's will on others
rank society
a society characterized by institutionalized differences in prestige but no important restrictions on access to basic resources
rebellion
the attempt of a group within society to force a redistribution of resources and power
revolution
an attempt to overthrow an existing form of political organization
secret societies
West African societies whose membership is secret or whose rituals are known only to society members. Their most significant function is the initiation of boys and girls into adulthood
social complexity
the number of groups and their interrelationships in a society
social differentiation
the relative access individuals and groups have to basic material resources, wealth, power, and prestige
state
a hierarchical, centralized form of political organization in which a central government has a legal monopoly over the use of force
stratified society
a society characterized by formal, permanent social and economic inequality in which some people are denied access to basic resources
tribe
a culturally distinct population whose members consider themselves descended from the same ancestor
war
a formally organized and culturally recognized pattern of collective violence directed toward other societies or between segments within a larger society
authority
The recognized right of an individual to command another person to act in a particular way; legitimate power.
big men
Political leaders who do not occupy formal offices and whose leadership is based on influence, not authority.
caste
A system of stratification in which membership in a stratum is in theory hereditary, strata are endogamous, and contact or relationships between members of different strata are governed by explicit laws, norms, or prohibitions.
chiefdom
A centralized political system with authority vested in formal, usually hereditary, offices or titles; exchange is often organized by redistribution.
class
A system of stratification in which membership in a stratum can theoretically be altered and intermarriage between strata is allowed.
composite bands
Autonomous or independent political units consisting of several extended families that live together for most or all of the year.
court legal systems
Systems in which authority for settling disputes and punishing crimes is formally vested in a single individual or group.
courts of mediation
Court systems in which the sanctions imposed are designed more to restore harmonious relations between parties than to punish.
courts of regulation
Court systems that use codified laws, with formally prescribed rights, duties, and sanctions.
egalitarian society
A form of society in which there is little inequality in access to culturally valued rewards.
income
The value of what is earned during a given period of time, usually figured on an annual basis.
inequality
The degree to which individuals, groups, and categories differ in their access to rewards.
influence
The ability to convince people that they should act as you suggest.
law
A kind of social control characterized by authority, intention of universal application, obligatio, and sanction.
power
The ability to make others do what you want based on coercion or legitimate authority.
prestige
The respect, esteem, and overt approval other members of the group grant to individuals they consider meritorious.
ranked society
A form of society in which there are a fixed number of statuses (e.g., titles, offices) that carry prestige, and only certain individuals are eligible to attain these statuses.
self-help legal systems
Informal legal systems in societies that have no centralized political systems, in which authorities who settle disputes are defined by the circumstances of the case.
simple bands
Autonomous or independent political units, often consisting of little more than an extended family, with informal leadership vested in one of the older family members.
social control
Mechanisms by which behavior is constrained and directed into acceptable channels, thus maintaining conformity.
sodalities
Formal institutions that cross-cut communities and serve to unite geographically scattered groups; may be based on kinship groups (clans or lineages) or on nonkinship groups.
state
A centralized, multilevel political unit characterized by a bureaucracy that acts on behalf of the ruling elite.
stratified society
A form of society with marked and usually heritable differences in access to wealth, power, and prestige; inequality is based mainly on unequal access to productive and valued resources.
tribe
An autonomous political unit that encompasses a number of distinct, geographically dispersed communities that are held together by sodalities.
wealth
(1) Ownership of or access to valued material goods and to the natural and human resources needed to produce those goods. (2) The total value of all property owned less the amount of debt owed.
adjudication
Mediation with an unbiased third party making the ultimate decision.
band
A relatively small and loosely organized kin-ordered group that inhabits a common territory and that may split periodically into smaller extended family groups that are politically and economically independent.
chiefdom
A regional polity in which two or more local groups are organized under a single chief, who is at the head of a ranked hierarchy of people.
cultural control
Control through beliefs and values deeply internalized in the minds of individuals.
genocide
The physical extermination of one people by another, either as a deliberate act or as the accidental outcome of activities carried out by one people with little regard for their impact on others.
law
Formal rules of conduct that, when violated, effectuate negative sanctions.
legitimacy
The right of political leaders to govern-to hold, use, and allocate power-on the socially accepted customs, rules, or laws that bind and hold a people together as a collective whole.
mediation
Settlement of a dispute through negotiation assisted by an unbiased third party.
nation
A people who share a collective identity based on a common culture, language, territorial base, and history.
negotiation
The use of direct argument and compromise by the parties to a dispute to arrive voluntarily at a mutually satisfactory agreement.
political organization
The way power is accumulated, arranged, executed, and structurally distributed and embedded in society; the means through which a society creates and maintains social order.
power
The ability of individuals or groups to impose their will upon others and make them do things even against their own wants or wishes.
sanction
An externalized social control designed to encourage conformity to social norms.
social control
External control through open coercion.
state
In anthropology, a political institution established to manage and defend a complex, socially stratified society occupying a defined territory.
tribe
In anthropology, refers to a range of kin-ordered groups that are politically integrated by some unifying factor and whose members share acommon ancestry, identity, culture, language, and territory.
acephalous
Lacking a government head or chief.
age grades
Specialized associations based on age which stratify a society by seniority.
age set
A group of people of similar age and sex who move through some or all of life's stages together.
authority
The ability to cause others to act based on characteristics such as honor, status, knowledge, ability, respect, or the holding of formal public office.
band
A small group of people related by blood or marriage, who live together and are loosely associated with a territory in which they forage.
bigman
A self-made leader who gains power through personal achievements rather than through political office.
chiefdom
A society with social ranking in which political integration is achieved through an office of centralized leadership called the chief.
citizenship
Membership in a state.
egalitarian society
A society in which no individual or group has more privileged access to resources, power, or prestige than any other.
ethnic boundaries
The perceived cultural attributes by which ethnic groups distinguish themselves from others.
ethnic groups
Categories of people who see themselves as sharing an ethnic identity that differentiates them from other groups or the larger society.
ethnicity
Perceived differences in culture, national origin, and historical experience by which groups of people are distinguished from others in the same social environment.
factions
Informal alliances within well-defined political units such as lineages, villages, or organizations.
genocide
The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural (ethnic) group.
government
An interrelated set of status roles that become separate from other aspects of social organization, such as kinship, in exercising control over a population.
hegemony
The dominance of a political elite based on a close identification between their own goals and those of the larger society.
indigenous peoples
Groups of people who have occupied a region for a long time and are recognized by other groups as its original (or very ancient) inhabitants. Indigenous peoples are often minorities with little influence in the government of the nation-state that controls their land. Small-scale societies designated as bands, tribes, or chiefdoms that occupied their land prior to European contact.
law
A means of social control and dispute management through the systematic application of force by a politically constituted authority.
leadership
The ability to direct an enterprise or action.
mediation
A form of managing disputes that uses the offices of a third party to achieve voluntary agreement between the disputing parties.
nation-state
A sovereign, geographically based state that identifies itself as having a distinctive national culture and historical experience.
political ideology
The shared beliefs and values that legitimize the distribution and use of power in a particular society.
political organization
The patterned ways in which power is legitimately used in a society to regulate behavior.
political process
The ways in which individuals and groups use power to achieve public goals.
power
The ability to control resources in one's own interest.
rank society
A society characterized by institutionalized differences in prestige but no important restrictions on access to basic resources.
rebellion
The attempt of a group within society to force a redistribution of resources and power.
refugees
People who have been uprooted from their native lands and forced to cross national boundaries.
revolution
An attempt to overthrow an existing form of political organization and put another type of political structure in its place.
secret societies
West African societies whose membership and rituals are known only to society members. Their most significant function is the initiation of boys and girls into adulthood.
segmentary lineage system
A form of sociopolitical organization in which multiple descent groups (usually patrilineages) form at different levels and function in different contexts.
social complexity
The number of groups and their interrelationships in a society.
social differentiation
The relative access individuals and groups have to basic material resources, wealth, power, and prestige.
state
A hierarchical, centralized form of political organization in which a central government has a legal monopoly over the use of force.
stratified society
A society characterized by formal, permanent social and economic inequality in which some people are denied access to basic resources.
tribe
A culturally distinct population whose members consider themselves descended from the same ancestor.
tributary mode of exchange
Primary producers are allowed access to the means of production, and tribute is exacted from them by coercion.
war
A formally organized and culturally recognized pattern of collective violence directed toward other societies, or between segments within a larger society.