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Chapter 11: Politics and Culture

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Reading Assignment: Chapter 11: Politics and Culture

In this assignment you will learn about the four basic systems that human beings have used for organizing controlling their social life. You will learn about specific mechanisms that are used for encouraging conformity to cultural rules for living in society. You will examine the nature of law and learn about how societies attempt to maintain order and cope with conflict.

Assignment Overview

MCQ   ::  Matching   ::  True/False  ::   Short Essay

MCQ - Chapter 11: Politics and Culture

1. Which of the following is the typical seat of legal authority in bands?

a. the kinship group
b. the local community
c. legal associations
d. governing specialists

2. Which of the following is a typical legal authority of families in tribal societies?

a. the punishment of family members
b. he defense of the community
c. the policing of the community
d. the conduct of all trials

3. In tribes, military defense is usually the responsibility of which of the following?

a. families
b. the local group
c. military associations
d. individual volunteers

4. Which of the following is characteristic of a chiefdom?

a. Its government cannot legitimately use force.
b. The authority of its government is based on kin relationships with the governed.
c. It lacks a monopoly over legal authority.
d. Its officials may exercise authority only over their own kin.

5. The defining characteristic of a state is which of the following?

a. the presence of agriculture
b. the presence of markets
c. the monopoly by government of the right to use legal force
d. the presence of governing authorities with power outside their own kinship group

6. According to Nancy Turner, which of the following is the basis of a matrifocal society?

a. women’s control of political offices
b. a social structure in which the primary solidarity relations involve women
c. a social structure in which women dominate men
d. women’s control of the top political office of their society

7. Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of the Nuer “Leopard Skin Chief”?

a. Ritual responsibilities.
b. The ability to offer sanctuary.
c. Prestige.
d. Authority to impose fines.

8. Feuds are most common as a means for legally redressing wrongs where:

a. fraternal groups work together and share obligations.
b. work is shared by in-laws.
c. courts are powerful.
d. work is highly individualized.

9. According to Otterbein, what was NOT a purpose of warfare in bands and tribes?

a. individual motivation
b. defense
c. plunder
d. economic control of neighboring communities

10. Which of the following is NOT a major factor in crime in the United States according to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence?

a. age
b. education
c. unemployment
d. religion

Matching Exercise - Chapter 11: Politics and Culture

1. politics
2. authority
3. government
4. laws
5. band
6. tribe
7. sodalities
8. chiefdom
9. state
10. matrifocal societies
11. law
12. legal authority
13. sanction

14. negative sanctions
15. negotiation
16. mediation
17. court
18. oaths
19. ordeals
20. retribution
21. feuds
22. raids
23. war
24. internal warfare
25. crime
26. rebellion



local groups whose members are drawn from several tribal families and that perform special functions, including political functions, within communities



societies in which the primary solidarity relations involve women



the right to compel others to obey the law and to punish those who violate it



the manner in which power is achieved and used to create and implement public goals



a society with a centralized government that monopolizes the legal authority to use force



a society, often of many villages, that has a government capable of coordinating social action within and between villages but in which governmental authority is balanced by the legal autonomy of families in many areas



action taken by legal authorities responding to violations of law



a body of officials who have the authority to create and administer a system of laws that are binding on members of society at large



organized armed conflict between political communities



cultural rules that regulate human behavior and maintain order



tests of guilt or innocence by enduring dangerous or painful acts



armed conflicts between kinship groups initiated to avenge a wrong



the harming of a person or personal property by another



a semisedentary kinship-based society without a full-time government; most often economically based on a simple food domestication subsistence technology, either horticulture or pastoralism



the right, delegated to a person or persons, to use force or threaten the use of force legitimately



fighting between neighboring peoples who share the same language and culture




punishments and the loss of privileges or benefit to which a person was entitled before breaking a law



personal use of force to redress wrongs, usually in simple societies with no centralized governmental authority



ritual acts of swearing innocence on pain of punishment by deities



organized violence by one group against another to achieve an economic benefit



seminomadic, kinship-based society with no full-time government, economically based on a foraging subsistence technology



organized and violent opposition to the legitimacy of a society's current governing body



the attempt of parties involved in a conflict to resolve disputes by discussing their disagreements



formalized institution that asserts authority over parties in a dispute and over persons accused of violating the law



formal rules that are binding on members of society at large



negotiation between conflicting parties carried out by a neutral third party

True/False - Chapter 11: Politics and Culture






1. Politics concerns itself with the use of power for social ends.



2. Authority is any use of power by governing officials.



3. The policing of communities in tribal societies is typically a family responsibility.



4. Chiefs typically have both religious and secular authority in their societies?



5. According to Nancy Tanner, a matrifocal society is one in which women dominate men.



6. Religion functions as a mechanism of social control.



7. Retribution is never a legitimate use of legal authority.



8. Feuds are usually motivated by a sense of obligation toward one’s fraternal group.



9. Raids are usually motivated by a desire for economic gain.



10. Crime occurs at roughly similar rates in all societies.

Short Essay Questions - Chapter 11: Politics and Culture

1. Describe the political system by which people govern themselves in band societies.

2. What responsibilities were exercised by the military associations of the Plains Indians?

3. How do chiefdoms differ from bands and tribes in their system of government?

4. What factors tend to be associated with high levels of political power for women?

5. What is Marvin Harris' view about the main cause of gender inequality in non-industrialized societies?

6. How does this concept of matrifocality differ from that of matriarchy?

7. According to Margaret Schuler, what are the main human rights categories that particularly affect women?

8. Define mediation and explain how a mediator can function successfully even though he or she has no legal authority to enforce a decision.

9. What social differences exist between the kinds of societies that practice internal and those that practice external warfare?

10. What social conditions are most likely to increase criminal behavior?

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, January 04). Chapter 11: Politics and Culture. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License