The Political Life of Man - a Study of the Social Order and Disorder

The political life of man
A study of the social order and disorder

August 15th 2010

  1.   Introduction
  2.   Types of political organizations
      a.     Band organizations
      b.     Tribal organizations
      c.     Chiefdom organizations
      d.     State organizations
  3.   Acquiring leadership
  4.   Participation in politics
  5.   Conflict settlement
      e.     Peaceful resolution
      f.     Violent resolution and war

1. Introduction
Anthropologist started to view political anthropology as a separate specialization only about 70 years ago and, even so, the subject only gained popularity after the Second World War. Prior to this, anthropologists considered their general discipline to be borderless. Only with the rapid increase of data and knowledge in the 1940s did it seem that there was a need of specialization of the subject and hence, anthropology was broken down to smaller subjects. Political anthropology became one of these specialized subjects. However, in disregard to this, anthropologists have always been studying this field and some studies, like that of primitive societies, date back to the very beginning of anthropology.  

2. Types of political organizations
Anthropologists have observed that, throughout history, there have been different types of political systems with varying degrees of political integration and political authority. Some of the most common traits are shown below.

The smallest and simplest form of political separation is in the form of band organizations. Band organizations consist of a small group of people, usually nomadic, that act as a political unit. Band organizations used to exist in ancient hunter gatherer societies and its population did not carry specialized roles. The territory too was not clearly defined as the population tends to move about following game and resources. However, the land occupied by a single band is usually large and therefore the population density...