The Art of Politics

  • Joy Hendry


It was pointed out in the introduction to the last chapter that it is not always possible to make a clear distinction between the concepts of ‘law’ and ‘politics’, but our discussions there fell more into the realms of ‘law’ than politics. However, we took pains to broaden our approach to include mechanisms of social control which could hardly be described as ‘legal’, even in the broadest sense of the word, although our approach was certainly not confined to societies which have no overarching legal system. In this chapter we shall turn to areas more usually associated with what the English language might term ‘politics’, though again the reader must be prepared to have a broad and flexible mind.


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  1. Ahmed, Akbar S. (1976) Millennium and Charisma Among the Pathans (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul).Google Scholar
  2. Barth, Fredrik (1965) Political Leadership Among the Swat Pathans (London: Athlone).Google Scholar
  3. Brenneis, Donald Lawrence and Fred R. Myers (1984)Dangerous Words: Language and Politics in the Pacific (New York University Press).Google Scholar
  4. Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1940) The Nuer (Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  5. Ferguson, R. B. (1995) Yanomami Warfare: A Political History (Santa Fe, New Mexico: School of American Research Press).Google Scholar
  6. Fortes, M. and E. E. Evans-Pritchard (1940)African Political Systems (Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  7. Leach, E. R. (1970) Political Systems of Highland Burma (London: Athlone).Google Scholar
  8. Leeds, Anthony (1969) ‘Ecological Determinants of Chieftanship among the Yaruro Indians of Venezuela’, in Andrew P. Vayda (ed.),Environment and Cultural Behaviour (Austin, Texas and London: University of Texas Press).Google Scholar
  9. Maybury-Lewis, David (1974) The Akwe Shavante (Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  10. Rival, Laura (1997) ‘Oil and sustainable development in the Latin American humid tropics’, Anthropology Today, 13(6): 1–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Balandier, Georges (1967) Political Anthropology (London: Allen Lane).Google Scholar
  2. Bloch, Maurice (ed.) (1975) Political Language and Oratoty in Traditional Societies (London: Academic Press).Google Scholar
  3. Gledhill, John (1994) Power and its Disguises: Anthropological Perspectives on Politics (London: Pluto).Google Scholar
  4. Godelier, Maurice (1986) The Making of Great Men (Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  5. Shore, Cris (1990) Italian Communism: The Escape from Leninism (London: Pluto).Google Scholar
  6. Spencer, Paul (1973) Nomads in Alliance (London: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  7. Strathern, Andrew (1971) The Rope of Moka: Big Men and Ceremonial Exchange in Mount Hagen, New Guinea (London: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Wilson, Monica (1963) Good Company: a Study of Nyakyusa Age-Villages (Boston: Beacon).Google Scholar


  1. Clavell, James, Shogun (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1975) is a well-known novel, subsequently filmed for television in a less anthropologically interesting way, about the encounter between a British sailor-explorer and the Japanese power structure during a period in the sixteenth century when Japan was relatively open to outsiders.Google Scholar
  2. Mishima Yukio, After the Banquet (Tokyo & Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle, 1967) is a novel which portrays life behind the scenes of early twentieth-century Japanese politicians, showing also the potential power of women close to the men with big names.Google Scholar


  1. The Kawelka: Ongka’s Big Moka — see p. 64 above.Google Scholar
  2. The Kayapo: Out of the Forest (Michael Beckham and Terence Turner, 1988), another excellent ‘Disappearing World’ film discussing the resistance and reunification of peoples of Altamira against a huge hydroelectric dam project on the Xingu River, a large tributary of the Amazon.Google Scholar
  3. The Masai — see p. 81 above.Google Scholar
  4. The Mursi: War with the Bodi: Decision-making, and Relations with the Kwegu (Leslie Woodhead, 1985) are films about a cattle-keeping people of South West Ethiopia who have no formal chiefs or leaders.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Joy Hendry 1999

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  • Joy Hendry

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