Origins of Government

 

Interpersonal relationships and the maintenance of political cohesion

 

Politicking: …to promote oneself or one’s policies (ideas)

In every society people have conflicting interests

 

The very first way to help control each other’s behavior is the “g” word.

 

How do people get along without laws/government in small societies?

1.  small size  Dunbar number.

2.  importance of kinship

3.  absence of technology

 

The centrality of domestic groups and kinship relations means reciprocity can be the chief mode of exchange and the collective interests of the domestic unit can be recognized by all its members

 

Bands intermarry

Bands have equal access to resources food, rivers, water

Very little private property

Hard to transport

Hard to hide a thief

 

Taking care of problems mobilizing public opinion

 

Song contest of the central and eastern Innuit

 

Shaman – a part time magico-religious practitioner of curing, sleight of hand, etc.

Shamans play important role of mobilizing public opinion

 

Most cultures reject the idea misfortune just happens “naturally” 

 

Black magic murders in Indonesia, new diseases killing of albinos in East Africa for body parts

 

Shamans use techniques to “solve” problems use of drugs, tobacco smoke, drumming, smoking cure

 

Simplest type of leadership 

Headman – may lead who will follow, usually unable to impose sanctions to enforce his decisions

His word is only good as long as others wish to follow

Often functions as intensifiers of production and as redistributors

Can be more than 1 in a village

Most successful can become bigman

 

Bigman

Similar to headman but usually only one per village

Bigman can get people to work together and fight together

Bigman can redistribute things among followers in village

 

Chiefs and chiefdoms

Headmen are leaders of autonomous villages or bands

Chiefs are the leaders of more or less permanently allied groups of bands and villages called chiefdoms

 

Headmen must achieve and constantly validate their status

Chiefs often inherit their offices and hold them if they temporarily can’t provide

 

Chiefdoms to State

1.  population pressure

2.  intensive agriculture – produce surplus and store it for long periods

3.  circumscription – to encircle, draw a line around

 

Origins of the State

The state is a form of a politically centralized society whose governing elites have the power to compel subordinates to pay taxes, render services and obey the law

 

The Incas as an early powerful state (Andean civilization started in early 13th century)

 

The power of thought control

1.  crime and punishment

2.  religion, priests

3.  media

4.  education