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Ch 23: Political Organization

About This Chapter

Watch online anthropology video lessons to learn about the social structures of foraging bands and chiefdoms, the shapes of states, sources of government conflict and more. These video lessons are short and engaging and make learning easy!

Political Organization - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

If the term political organization brings to mind election season and political pundits, use this chapter to get a different perspective on the leadership roles, alliances and associations used by societies large and small to organize their social structures, reinforce cultural norms and resolve conflicts. We'll also show you how these concepts play out in the relationships among modern-day states. Lessons in this chapter can teach you the following:

  • Characteristics of various political organizations
  • The development of states and their boundaries
  • Sources of political power and influence
  • Forms of social control

Video Objectives
Politics: Definition and Source of Governmental Conflict Identify the conflicts created by differing political objectives and ideas about who should govern.
Political Organizations: Band, Tribes, States and Chiefdoms Survey the cultural and social characteristics of bands, states, chiefdoms and other forms of political organization.
Defining Features of Foraging Bands Find out how foraging bands resolve conflicts. Consider the roles of its nuclear family structures.
Defining Features of Foraging Tribes Examine the leadership structures and integrating forces found in foraging tribes.
Defining Features of Chiefdoms Differentiate between the basis of social status in chiefdoms and social status in traditional states. Study chiefdoms' economic and political systems.
States: Development, Location and Size Learn about the different sizes of states, and identify some of the problems associated with defining them.
Shapes of States: Compact, Prorupted, Elongated, Fragmented and Perforated Examine the different categories used to describe the shapes of states.
Types of Boundaries: Physical and Cultural Differentiate between cultural and physical boundaries.
Local Government Boundaries Inside States: Cultural & Political Separation Examine the uses of boundaries to create political advantages and divide ethnic populations or people of differing nationalities.
Cooperation Among States: Political, Military & Economic Alliances Consider the advantages associated with economic, political and military cooperation between states.
Political Associations Scrutinize the types of political associations connecting groups of people.
Power, Authority and Influence Study how each of these terms relates to politics.
Social Control: Customs, Laws and War Assess the ways in which laws and norms are used as forms of social control in both small and large societies.

12 Lessons in Chapter 23: Political Organization
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Politics: Definition and Source of Governmental Conflict

1. Politics: Definition and Source of Governmental Conflict

In this lesson, we will explore the concept of politics. We will examine the various definitions of the word, take a close look at the role of politics in government, and investigate the conflicts sometimes caused by politics.

Political Organizations: Bands, Tribes, Chiefdoms & States

2. Political Organizations: Bands, Tribes, Chiefdoms & States

This lesson will seek to explain the different social structures that exist across the globe. In doing so, it will highlight bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and states. It will also define mana and redistribution.

Foraging Bands: Defining Features

3. Foraging Bands: Defining Features

This lesson defines foraging and bands and explores the distinguishing features of foraging bands. You'll also learn about concepts of customs and egalitarian societies.

Foraging Tribes: Defining Features

4. Foraging Tribes: Defining Features

This lesson will explain the distinguishing features of foraging tribes. In doing so, it will highlight bands, egalitarian societies, the nomadic lifestyle, loose political ties, and sodalities.

Chiefdom: Defining Features

5. Chiefdom: Defining Features

This lesson will explain the political structure of a chiefdom. In doing so, it will highlight the concepts of mana, redistribution, and multi-leveled chiefdoms found within many less industrialized societies around the globe.

State as a Concept: Definition, Development, & Size

6. State as a Concept: Definition, Development, & Size

This lesson will seek to explain the concept of a state. In doing so, it will highlight legitimate power, traditional authority, rational authority, and a federal system of states.

Shapes of States: Compact, Prorupted, Perforated & More

7. Shapes of States: Compact, Prorupted, Perforated & More

This lesson will seek to explain and identify the many shapes that states can be found in. In doing so, it will define the word state and the importance of sovereignty.

Types of Boundaries: Physical & Cultural

8. Types of Boundaries: Physical & Cultural

This lesson will seek to explain physical, political, and cultural boundaries. In doing so, it will identify differences in socio-economics, language, and religion as foundations for boundaries.

Local Government Boundaries: Cultural & Political Influence

9. Local Government Boundaries: Cultural & Political Influence

This lesson will explain the characteristics of local governments. In doing so, it will define the terms delimitation, redistricting, constituency, and gerrymandering as well as the role these terms play in local governance.

Cooperation Among States: Political, Military & Economic Alliances

10. Cooperation Among States: Political, Military & Economic Alliances

This lesson will seek to explain the political cooperation among states. In doing so, it will define the terms 'treaty' and 'state,' as well as explore military and economic alliances.

Power, Authority & Influence in Political Organizations

11. Power, Authority & Influence in Political Organizations

This lesson will explain the differences between power, authority, and influence within a political organization. In doing so, it will highlight terms like charisma, rational authority, traditional authority, and personal power.

Types of Social Control: Customs, Laws & War

12. Types of Social Control: Customs, Laws & War

This lesson will seek to explain the different social controls or constraints that exist in societies around the globe. In doing so, it will highlight the concepts of customs, laws, and war.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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