Political Organisation:
IB Anthropology at UWC
Costa Rica
No completely autonomous tribes
in today’s world
• Societies e.g. in
Papua New Guinea
and Amazonia
where tribal
principles continue
to operate
Key Point #1
• Tribes typically have
a horticultural or
pastoral economy
and are organized
by village life or
membership in
descent groups
Key Point #2
Tribes lack
stratification and
formal government
Key Point #3
A few tribes still
conduct small-scale
warfare, in the form of
inter-village raiding.
Key Point #4
Tribes have more
effective regulatory
mechanisms than
foragers do, but tribal
societies have no sure
means of enforcing
political decisions
Similarities & Differences
Like foragers, horticulturalists
tend to be egalitarian,
Some have marked gender
Horticultural villages usually
are small, with low population
density and open access to
strategic resources.
Age, gender, and personal traits
determine how much respect
people receive and how much
support they get from others.
Egalitarianism diminishes,
however, as village size and
population density increase.
Main regulatory officials in tribes
• Village Heads
• ‘Big men’
• Descent-group
• Village councils
• Leaders of pantribal