What can we learn from deceptively simple tribal societies about the ways in which man resolves his conflicts with other men? How can the social anthropologist aid in our understanding of the problems of power and social control common to all societies, from the simplest to the highly complex? What special tools of the anthropologist enable him to view these phenomena scientifically?
Politics, Law and Ritual In Tribal Society is a systematic introduction to the political systems of tribal societies. It discusses the relation between disputes and struggles for power within the context of mechanisms of social control and stability. Analyses of tribal systems are viewed against studies of modern societies. In addition, Gluckman presents a step-by-step survey of the cumulative development of anthropological analysis of tribal institutions, from the 19th century to the present, and supports the argument that anthropology is a science rather than an art.
This book will interest all anthropologists who wish to know more about the historical and methodological development of their discipline as a science, all social anthropologists who need a comprehensive (if unorthodox) text on tribal institutions, and all who are fascinated by the problems of human conflict and the ways in which they have been resolved.
Max Gluckman (1911-1975) was head of the Department of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Manchester. He is well known for his many books and articles on the peoples of South and Central Africa and on social anthropology in general. He was a political activist and was strongly against the use of colonies. He directly took on social problems and cultural discrepancies such as colonialism with racism, urbanization, and labor migration.