Anthropological Approaches to Political Behavior

Anthropological Approaches to Political Behavior

Anthropological Approaches to Political Behavior

Anthropological Approaches to Political Behavior

Synopsis

Power is immanent in human affairs; by definition, human beings are political animals. The only way to fully comprehend and analyze the complexities of power is to locate where material, psychological, and social dimensions of political power are ultimately and socially situated and reproduced.
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; This collection of essays highlights the theoretical concerns of political anthropology. Initially published in the journal Ethnology, the essays were classroom tested and collected on the basis of student comments. An in-depth introduction presents the intellectual traditions in political anthropology and focuses particularly on the manner in which various periods defined and dealt with the nature of social power. It also places current works within the framework of critical but constantly revised theoretical problems.

Contributors:nbsp; Mart Bax; Ernest Brandewie; Karen J. Brison; Philip A. Dennis; Richard G. Dillon; Harvey E. Goldberg; James Howe; Donald T. Hughes; Roger M. Keesing; Donald V. Kurtz; Charles Lindhom; Robert F. Maher; Richard W. Miller; Sydel F. Silverman; L. Lewis Wall; Daniela Weinberg

Excerpt

The following chapters and articles are in response to the classroom experience and were selected on the basis of the judgment of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. The articles highlight theoretical concerns in the field of political anthropology as initially published in the journal Ethnology and were accepted for publication in this volume based on student comments.

The introduction is an overview and discusses how the study of power is indeed the concern of political anthropology. We present the historical intellectual traditions in political anthropology and indicate the consistency as well as change in these concerns. We try to place current works within the framework of critical but constantly revised theoretical problems.

Further discussion focuses on the universal components of political action and some tentative comparative generalizations which draw on earlier studies and more recent fieldwork.

This book is not intended for the anthropologist alone. Presently a new view of political behavior is necessary. The professional researcher has been interested for far too long in problems and questions that are of concern only to a limited number of other like-minded scholars.

This book springs from twenty-five years of teaching courses in political anthropology to both undergraduates and graduate students. In the last five years, teaching in general has been difficult; teaching political anthropology has been even more strenuous. In the sixties, student interest in politics was unusually heightened. Concern over political activity made teaching a raucous, stimulating, and exciting activity, but in the seventies student behavior radically shifted. Student involvement in academic interests was not diminished, and concern for grades and completion of a degree was a major motivation. However, the obvious disinterest and disdain of political analysis was obvious. The general mood was illustrated by a cool apathy concerning the operation of politics, and students typically responded by almost completely withdrawing from . . .

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