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Kottak: Cultural Anthropology 9e
Cultural Anthropology, 9/e
Conrad P. Kottak, University of Michigan

Political Systems

learning Objectives

This chapter introduces students to the anthropological study of politics. It focuses on the band, tribe, chiefdom, state system of sociopolitical organization.


You need to be know the four basic types of political systems and the social and cultural features that are correlated with each type.


You need to be familiar with the defining features of foraging bands, in particular how conflicts are resolved and the roles that the nuclear family and the band play.


You need to be familiar with the defining features of foraging tribes. In particular, you must be able to distinguish between the different kinds of tribal leaders.


You need to know the kinds of integrating forces that are found in tribes. Specifically, you must be familiar with segmentary lineage organization, pantribal sodalities, and age grades.


You need to know the defining features of chiefdoms. In particular, you should be familiar with the political and economic systems that are found in chiefdoms. You must also know what social status in chiefdoms is based on and how this is different from social status in states.


You need to know the defining features of states.