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Social Organization and Political Organization

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Nick Martino

on 19 January 2014

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Transcript of Social Organization and Political Organization

Max Weber (1946)
Egalitarian - equal access to social rewards (reciprocity)
Ranked - unequal access to social rewards (redistribution)
Stratified Class - has social mobility (capitalism)
Stratified Caste - no social mobility
Achieved Status
Ascribed Status
Legal Protection of Minorities
Population Transfer
Long-term subjugation
Functionalist Theory View
Conflict Theory View
Assignment: Each group is going to get assigned one of these stages. You will make a 3-5 slide presentation giving an example. This should include detailed information on the culture being presented, the researcher, the year and any important background information.
Conflict and War
- War, Sebastion Junger 2010
Social Organization
medic, forward observer, radio operator, a platoon sergeant, and a lieutenant who had graduated from OCS
theoretical knowledge not much experience
lots of experience
breaking social norms
soldiers parading around outpost in flip-flops, toward the end of tour they'd go through entire firefights in nothing but gym shorts and unlaced boots
Biology and Evolution in War
men faster than women, athletes faster than nonathletes
dodge a bullet (2000mph)
* 1/4 second to register the bullet coming toward you (200 yds)
* 1/4 second to instruct your muscles to react (400 yds)
* 1/2 second to actually move out of the way
human brain - amygdala - can process an auditory signal in 15 milliseconds
Alexander's armies stopped in Afghanistan in Nuristan and stayed so long that the blond and red-haired locals are said to be descendants oh his men.
The Soviet Army lost entire companies - 200 men at a time - to ambushes along the Kunar River.
Today's wars we need to win "human terrain"
small personal battles to win over hearts and minds of people
you can dominate a village by putting an outpost in a village but the presence of foreign men means that local women can't walk down certain paths to get to their fields in the morning, you've lost the human terrain
when the Americans gain access to a community and start delivering development projects, the locals tend to gravitate toward them and away from the insurgents
"The Koran offers us two choices, revenge and forgiveness," he said. "But the Koran says that forgiveness is better, so we will forgive. The Americans are building schools and roads, and because of this, we will forgive."
Technology v. culture
monochronic v. polychronic people
Talibans countermeasure against our tech.
- Apache helicopters have thermal imaging, so Taliban fighters disappear cover themselves in a blanket on a warm rock.
- Americans used unmanend drones to pinpoint the enemy, but the Taliban can do the same thing by watching the flocks of crows
- Americans have unlimited firepower, so the Taliban send one guy to attack firebases
concept of time is what they have on their side
Subsistence and war in Afganistan
A poor wheat harvest creates a temporary food shortage in the valley, which means the enemy has no surplus cash to buy ammo.
Kunar is such a deadly place for Taliban insurgents that the cash payment for fighting there has gone from $5 to $10 per day.
Political Organization
shura - meeting of valley elders speaking in Pashto
dopamine - a neurotransmitter in the brain that gets released when a person wins a game or solves a problem or succeeds at a difficult task. The dopamine reward system exists in both sexes but stronger in men, as a result men are more likely to become obsessively involved in hunting, gambling, gaming, and war.
1990s English anthropologist Robin Dunbar came up with the Dunbar number
148 is the ideal number of people for the human brain to maintain personal relationships
pre-contact hunter-gatherers around the world ranged from 90-221 (avg. 148)
Neolithic villages in Mesopotamia were thought to have around 150 people
The Roman army used a formation of 130 - called a maniple or a double century.
Hutterite communities in South Dakots split after reaching 150 people
nomadic hunter gatherers stayed between 30-50 people
(platoon sized)
Read Battle of Wanat to Class p. 255
born with/ innate
members who share a greater number of physical traits with one another than they do with members of another group
group of people sharing cultural traits
2 or more groups living in harmony (Swiss - German,Swiss,French,Italian)
absorbing racial and ethnic groups into the wider society (Hawaiian - Asian and Pacific Islanders)
societies where racial and ethnic groups are hostile to one another, governments must step in to legally protect the minority group (U.S. 13-14-15 - Free, Citizens, Vote)
physical removal of a minority group to another location (Cherokee Indians (1838) taken from NC to Oklahoma
Repression of one ethnic and racial group by another (South Africa Apartheid - white dominated society)
systematic attempt to eliminate entire cultures or racial groups (WW2 Germany, Rwanda, Darfur Sudan)
Social Control
Power v. Authority
Power – the ability to control resources in one’s own interest
Authority – the ability to cause others to act; based on characteristics such as honor, status, knowledge, ability, respect or the holding of public office
Political ideology is the shared beliefs and values that legitimize the distribution and use of POWER in a society
Violence always bad? (Yanomamo)
Rebellion v Revolution
Reallocation v Overthrow
Formal and Informal
Law – the means of social control through the systematic application of force by a politically organized society.
Addresses conflicts that would disrupt community life.
In small societies individual disputes can and will effect the entire community (not always winners and losers)
Inuit song duels
Get into groups of 4 or 5
Go to p. 321 in Ferraro read the section on social control
Create a poster of a Mountain View Student, and identify the different types of social control we have here in place at Mountain View
Identify 10 social norms in place, and the sanctions used to regulate them (spectrum)
Be able to distinguish which are formal and which are informal
Classwork Assigment
20 – 50 people
Generalized and Balanced Reciprocity
Informal (temporary)
Leaders persuade not command.
Elders or best foragers
Social order is informally maintained

Warfare is RARE
Dobe Ju/hoansi (Lee, 2003)
Mbuti Pygmies (Turnbull, 1968)
“Flux” - bands change in size in order to maintain order. They leave and return at their discretion.
100s people
Some redistribution
More formal than bands
Leadership based on kinship and religion
Yanomami big-men
Age sets – more important than kin
Associated with warfare
Age grades – specialized roles that change with age (Masaai)
Cheyenne police system
Nuer – go-betweens called Leopard Skin Chiefs
Warfare with slash/burn societies
Regional with two or more groups organized under one chief (ascribed rule) (several 1000’s)
Wealthy chief / king heads a ranked hierarchy
Increase in population, complex tech, jobs, instability
May be basis of “civilization”
Often unstable
Kpelle of Liberia (present)
Series of chiefs, each ruling over several subchiefs
Chiefs hear & settle local disputes, distribute medicines
Salaried by Liberian gov’t, given other perks
Kpelle wealth measured in wives, embroidered gowns, freedom from labor
Strong, centralized political system with clear, strong leader (10,000’s +)
Claims authority to maintain social order by force
Most centralized, unstable political system
Clear borders, hierarchy, jobs
Exs.: any ancient empire, any modern country
Sumer (Mesopotamia)
World’s first civilization was highly stratified state with:
large public works
strict legal code (Code of Hammurabi)
State religion
world’s first writing
Honnei and Tatemai
"private face" and "public face"
honne like honest
Use Tatemai to preserve 'wa' (social harmony)
Tatemai is the facade or the polite spin that Japanese people use in social settings
Japanese Cultural Identity
Homework Kiddies!

Next class we will be discussing types of Societies.
Use the internet to find an example of each: Egalitarian, Rank, Stratified Caste, Stratified Class
Define the Functionalist Theory and the Conflict Theory (Nanda, 315 & 316).

W – Poem/Rap/Skit Defeating or Defending Ferraro’s statement “In the U.S. democracy the people have the power.” (Ferraro, 282)

X – Create a wealth spectrum of economic inequality (Ferraro, 281) using at least 9 societies we have discussed.

Y – Conduct a random survey of people’s thoughts about which are the most and least prestigious careers in the U.S. Compare and contrast your findings with other societies. Are they consistent with Ferraro’s ideas on 282.

DAY 1 – Weber Activity

Weber (1946)
Power -- Wealth -- Prestige


The first humans were completely equal. As time changes which humans get rewarded? And how are they rewarded? (Think in terms of skills, age, and other traits.)

Digital Do Now:

Drug Dealers

Professional Athletes

Classical Pianist


Organized crime


Keep in mind that although wealth, power, and prestige are often interrelated, they can also work independently.

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