Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kingship and Chieftaincy
Both kingship and chieftaincy are traditional forms of centralized authoritative decision making, which involve a variety of relationships between the ruler and the ruled. Kingship (often referred to as monarchy) is an institution that takes its form and function in a world where the political has not yet emerged as an autonomous sphere from the religious. Chieftaincy is an organizing principle whereby hereditary representatives head small-scale collectivities (chiefdoms), which have little specialization of the economy, politics, and ideology. Studied mainly by anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, chiefdoms and kingdoms may be seen as two parallel forms of politics growing from the same root. Differentiating between kingdoms and chiefdoms is problematic as is automatically identifying any centralized polities with the state. The better solution is to collapse chiefdoms and kingdoms into one overarching category (such as chiefdom). Many writers, for example, on Africa, have lacked a conceptual framework with which to grasp ...