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Bands And Tribes Essay, Research Paper
- Small size, 25- 50 people (mostly related by
- Least complex type of political organisation.
- Major subsistence strategy: gathering and hunting
- Generalised reciprocity
- They are generally egalitarian; people have the same rights and
share food etc.
- Cognatic descent (reckoned through both males and
- Non-centralised political system. There are no offices and
temporary leaders, therefore no-one has official authority over
- Political decision are made informally, by consensus.
- When some activity must be performed in common, band members
unite behind the person who most inspires their personal
confidence, and then only for a clearly defined period of
- There are few rights to personal property; things can be used
by anyone. Example: Inuit of? Angmagssalik, on the coast of
Greenland. Tribes Tribe- the political organisation often occurring among
Horticulturalists or herders, whose members identify themselves
as distinct from members of other groups based on their common
heritage, and often common ancestry. – Larger and more complex than bands; few hundred to several
- Major subsistence: Horticulture, Pastoralism. There food
sources are quite reliable.
- Balanced reciprocity
- There is personal inequality; weakly developed social
- Lineal or cognatic descent.
- Non-centralised authority- authority is spread among several or
many roles and leaders.
- The various groups and factions have their leaders, but their
leadership is attained informally. And typically,? no especially
rich or powerful individual heads the whole tribe. Instead, the
leaders of the various factions and other groups come together
into a temporary coalition when necessary- in the face of a
threat from the outside, for instance. Alliances are constantly
- Offices are rare.
- Leadership is attained informally, factions are possible
- Warfare is common.
- They live in permanent or semi-permanent villages. Because
these are relatively, a variety of groups- descent groups,
political factions, military associations can develop.
- Sometimes an informal leader emerges to settle conflicts among
members or integrate a tribe"s various groups in the face
of an outside threat. This leader has no official mandate and
occupies no formal office; his authority derives from his ability
to? coerce and persuade people to support him. The active support
of many people is very important to a leader in a tribal society-
their joint labour provides food and their loyalty gives him his
- On New Guinea and neighbouring Melanesian islands, political
leaders who are charismatic, eloquent, physically powerful,
politically skilled and generous may receive recognition as big
men. They exhibit many of the characteristics of tribal leaders
in other societies. A big man does not occupy an office; his
power depends on the influence he exerts over his personal
following. His generosity is particularly important, for making
loans and gifts to supporters and potential supporters is
essential for gaining leadership. Example: Qashagi, Western Iran
- Larger, more complex than tribes
- Populations number in the thousands
- Major subsistence strategy: Non-mechanised agriculture
- Balanced reciprocity: re-distribution
- Distinct social classes
- Lineal or cognatic descent
- Centralised authority; chief is officeholder
- Political decisions are made formally Example: Azande of Central Africa. (They no longer exist in
their original form, however).
- Largest, most complex political organisation
- Tens of thousands to millions of members
- Major subsistence strategy: large-scale, technologically
complex agriculture and industrial production
- Market exchange economy. Use of Money.
- Highly stratified social structure
- Cognatic descent
- Centralised government; authority based on law..
- Rights of citizenship and complex bureaucracies
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