Political Anthropology

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Scope

Focus on Power, forms of governance, politics and the nature of the state. PA as unique as it draws on power and culture in equal measure. Cf. Weber 'Politics as a Vocation'. The 'variety and complexity of the human political condition' (Donald Kurtz 2001, Political Anthropology; paradigms and power). Kurtz's five principal paradigms of political anthropology : structural-functionalism, processualism, political economy, evolutionism, and what he calls the 'postmodern paradigm'.

Contrast to Political Science : Political scientists have generally given priority to the study of modern political institutions such as the state and political parties. The theories and concepts of political anthropology have been constructed on the basis of ethnographic material, with studies ranging from the analysis of stateless societies (where political institutions such as kinship, witchcraft, or magic play crucial roles in the reproduction of a social order) to societies in which political institutionalisation has led to diverse configurations of state organisation.

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