Political Anthropology

Overview

Politics: a static network of structural and functional models? Is it a "given" set of rules, statuses and procedures? Or a dynamic process, a continuum related to the past as well as to the present and continually influenced by pressures within and outside of a society? Taking the latter view of the nature of political behavior, the editors of Political Anthropology here present an original compilation of papers that thoroughly assess contemporary anthropological research and theory on political phenomena and ...

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Overview

Politics: a static network of structural and functional models? Is it a "given" set of rules, statuses and procedures? Or a dynamic process, a continuum related to the past as well as to the present and continually influenced by pressures within and outside of a society? Taking the latter view of the nature of political behavior, the editors of Political Anthropology here present an original compilation of papers that thoroughly assess contemporary anthropological research and theory on political phenomena and explore the sources and maintenance of political power. One of the aims of this book is to take tentative steps toward resolving the developing crisis by investigating the structure of political action revealed in empirical data. Within the general framework of political dynamics the book uses processes such as decision making, the judicial process, the disturbance and settlement of policy issues, the application of sanctions, and the outcome of disputes among other things. These items will find their places as components of phases in the major sequence. Investigating societies from Africa to Alaska, politics is shown to be a global phenomenon—a "human process of action" centering on the conflict between the "common good" and "interests of groups," and on the resolution or extension of that conflict by the religious, structural, sociocultural, and psychological pressures within and external to a social grouping. Essential reading for anyone concerned with the nature of political process, Political Anthropology presents a fresh, important and comprehensive overview of the "wind of change" currently abroad in the study of political behavior.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[I]t is time that the wealth of material now available on the political aspects of society should be given theoretical relevance.” —J. La Fontaine, Man “Little serious attempt at constructing general political theory has been made in social anthropology since African Political Systems appeared in 1940… Any attempt to bring the subject more into line with modern general theoretical developments is therefore very welcome. This the present work attempts; indeed, it does more than attempt: it makes a singularly brilliant contribution towards a new style of general political theory.” —Peter Worsley, The British Journal of Sociology “Teachers of political anthropology… will welcome this book in which the former domination of African ethnography has given way to a global perspective.” —Chandra Jayawardena, American Anthropologist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780202308944
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/15/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc J. Swartz has been professor of anthropology at the University of California, San Diego since 1969. He recently retired in 2005. His interests included various branches of anthropology such as social, political, and psychological. In the past he has done fieldwork in Micronesia, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Victor Turner (1920-1983) was a research officer at the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute in Zambia, where he began what was to be a lifelong study of Ndembu village life, ritual, and symbolism. He taught at the University of Manchester from 1955 to 1963, when he moved to the United States. Turner served as professor of anthropology at Cornell University, 1964-1968. From 1968 to 1977, he was professor of anthropology and social thought at the University of Chicago, and then until the time of his death he was William R. Kenan Professor of Anthropology and Religion at the University of Virginia.

Arthur Tuden was Professor of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh. He was the long-term editor of the Journal Ethnology and he has written many articles as well as authored, co-authored, or edited six books. He did field research in areas of the Ukraine, Virgin Islands, Rhedosia, and parts of Pennsylvania's own Carpatho-Rus community.

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