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Chiefdoms - Paper

By | May 2010
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Chiefdoms

1. The social structure of chiefdom is a hierarchical society in which some people have greater access than others to wealth, rank, status, authority and power. According to Scupin, many Polynesian chiefdoms rule of succession is based on primogeniture in which the eldest son assumed the status and realm of the father. This helped to avoid power struggles when a chief died. Chiefly Authority was more limited among the Trobrianders than was among the Hawaiians and Tahitians. The Trobriand chief has to work to expand his area of power and status and prevent other chiefs from destroying or diminishing his ancestral rights. A Trobriand chief gained rights, legitimacy, and authority through descent. Generosity was one of the most important aspects of Trobriand. If it is not demonstrated, the chief’s power, authority and legitimacy diminish and another more generous people within the chiefly family can replace them. Hawaiian Society was divided into various social strata composed of descent groups. The highest-ranking noble strata were district chiefs and their families the ali’i. The highest-ranking descent groups, the eldest child inherits the position of the father. Above the ali’i were the ali’i nui, the paramount chiefs who ruled over the islands. Paramount chiefs and district chiefs were treated with reverence and extreme respect. Chiefs did not have absolute power. Conflicts arose constantly to the chiefs by rival leaders who made genealogical claims for rights to succession. If a chief was unable to show their authority and power through redistribution of food, land, goods, and warfare against rival claimants challengers could increase their political power while the chief’s power is diminished. There was less order more revolts and the noble lineage is simply replaced by another.

The Nuer

2. There were many difficulties the Nuer faced in adapting to their new lives in the United States. The difficulties were things...

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