This edition: Politics, Power and Violence
This lesson explores the anthropological concepts of political organization and social control as practiced cross- culturally. It opens with anthropologists Victoria Bernal and Laura Nader discussing the concepts of political organization in terms of power, authority, functions and in its four main forms: bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and states. Nader and William Ury then explore the various methods of maintaining social order across cultures, including interior and externalized controls, sanctions and laws. Methods of dispute resolution are described by Nader and Ury, and they debate the merits of alternative dispute resolution methods (ADR) in the United States. China’s control over citizens’ use of the Internet is used as an example of the interrelationships between social control, ideology, legitimacy, and the potential for the use of force by ruling powers. Nader and human rights activist Xiao Qiang then describe, in parallel fashion for comparison and contrast, their personal experiences with peaceful student protests at the University of California in Berkeley in the mid-1960s and in Tiananmen Square in China in 1989, both of which brought violent reactions from their respective governments.