Friday, March 6, 2009

Chapter 10 " Life without Chiefs"

I have to admit that I had difficulty to understand this chapter, certainly due to the fact that it is something unfamiliar for me. I had some backgrounds concerning the political system that characterizes large state soctiety, but nothing concerning the evolution of political leadership from Headman to Big Man until Chief.

Although the concept remains kind of tricky to get for me, I saw that there is a huge difference between Headman, Big Man and Chief. The first two are leadership. They are not symbol of power and formal authority upon the population. They don't rule the village but set an example for the villagers. In that time, there was not social structure that enables someone to inspect the life of the others. Headman and Big Man shared what they had and therefore reinforced the political and the economic system of the village. Conflicts among the population were unusual as all were treated at the same level.

On the other hand, with the emergence of the Chief, the aspect of equality and sharing among the population became more unusual. The Chief had a more important role in the economic and political life. He could grow away from the others by dressing himself smarter, building higher houses and having volunteers to satisfy what he needed. Through the explanation of what is a Chief, I see how power and formal authority became "normal", accepted and how it shaped hierarchical groups and demarcations between people according to their ages, sex, religion, jobs...

By relating this chapter with the presentation on "Political Systems" something called out about it: regardless if it is in India, China, Israel or another country the aspect of the power was obvious for each country. For example, in India the cast system is still existing, in Israel going to the army is required. People do not have choices about it because it represents a legitimate aspect of authority.What happened and what it is still happening is certainly a consequence of the evolution of political organization. When someone has not only power but also formal authority upon a population, conflicts are more likely to happen in the society.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent written skills here. Articulate, speculative, brilliantly written Charlene! Made me think.