Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Michael Joseph Francisconi
The major thesis of political anthropology is that politics cannot be isolated from other subsystems of a society. Political anthropology has defined its interest in how power is put to use in a social and cultural environment. Power is defined as political influence to accomplish certain aims. Through cultural interpretation, the political culture defines certain goals as acceptable. Political systems operate within a historical setting. The ability to make and enforce decisions is the basis of power, and power is what political anthropologists study. Political anthropology investigates the everyday experiences of people as they are shaped by their economic position in a particular society, and the world economy that molds most political issues. Structural functionalism is the study of how the separate parts of a society interact to form a cooperating whole; this is called synchronic. Synchronic theory characterizes the most important goal of any cultural element as the harmony ...