Politics is all about power, and power--its composition, creation, and use--pervades this unique and clearly written assessment of the paradigms by which anthropologists explain and understand political phenomena. In Political Anthropology, Donald V. Kurtz examines how anthropologists think about politics, political organizations, and problems fundamental to political anthropology. He explores the ideas by which they address universal political concerns, the paradigms that direct political research by anthropologists, and political topics of special interest.The universal political concerns include ideas related to political power, leadership, the legitimation of authority, and rules that regulate succession to political statuses and offices. Kurtz relates these concerns to the paradigms that provide the research strategies anthropologists use to examine political phenomena; he investigates structural functionalism, processualism, political economy, and political evolution. Postmodernism provides a fifth research strategy characterized by an eclectic approach to politics that suggests its paradigmatic status is still unformulated. The analysis concludes with a consideration of ideas related to state formations.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Paradigms and Science -- The Paradigms of Political Anthropology -- Political Essentials -- Political Power -- Political Leaders and Authorities -- Succession to Political Status and Office and the Legitimation of Political Authority -- Paradigms and Topics of Political Anthropology -- The Structural-Functional Paradigm -- The Politics of Kinship -- The Processual Paradigm -- The Paradigm of Political Economy -- The Paradigm of Political Evolution -- The Paradigm of Political Evolution -- Anthropology and the Study of the State -- The Postmodern Paradigm of Political Anthropology