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Elaine M. Reeves

In: 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 18: Political Organizations

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Political Organizations
Political organizations

Political anthropology is a subset of social and cultural anthropology, with a special interest in the political process as a way for societies to institutionalize common values. Specifically, British anthropologists in the 1940s helped to establish political anthropology as a subdivision of anthropology.

Politics is the arena of power relations, serving as the social institution through which power is acquired by people and groups. Government is a formal organization responsible for regulating relationships among members of a society and between a society and other foreign societies from outside of established boundaries. When resources are allocated by a governmental authority structure, the political process is in place and active.

Political organizations express power and authority in both traditional and modern communities. Power can be egalitarian ...

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