RE: followers/leaders (was You may not believe in God but She still believes ...

From: altamira (
Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 11:12:07 MDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> > What is the difference between a tribal leader and a political
> leader, with
> > respect to personality? I'm assuming here that a tribal
> leader does not
> use
> > force to get people to follow her but is followed voluntarily,
> and only so
> > long as her leadership is beneficialy to the other members of
> the tribe. A
> > political leader, by definition, uses coercion.
> Bonnie, with respect, this sounds like you're laboring under the
> yoke of the
> Meadeian anthropology of "Coming of Age in Samoa" (which was just a
> scientistic restatement of Rousseau's fantasy of the "noble savage"). I
> don't know of any real empirical basis for this view of primitive social
> organization and leadership. For instance, the Yanomamo of the Amazon
> jungle, once thought to be the very epitome of the "noble
> savage", have been
> found to have a fairly violent culture, full of bloody power
> struggles, war
> and casual rape.

I never read "Coming of Age in Somoa." I heard that everything in it was
questionable, since when the Somoan girls were being interviewed, they made
up a bunch of stuff as a joke (but they didn't let Meade in on the joke).

I was categorizing more along the lines used by Jared Diamond in...what was
that book called?..._Guns, Germs, and Steel_ or something like that...with
tribal cultures defined as those in which leaders are chosen for specific
purposes and continue to lead only so long as the people agree to have them
lead; in such cases the leaders are unlikely to enjoy special material
advantages. The definition refers to political powers and says nothing about
the level of violence practiced by individual people in the course of day to
day life, although in kinship based tribes violence is more likely to be
turned against non-members than members. This is in contrast to, say, a
chiefdom or a kingdom, where the leader continues to lead even when a
substantial number of members of the group are against his or her
leadership; in chiefdoms, the leader enjoys material advantages such as
fancier clothing, nicer housing, special foods.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:14:14 MDT