ANTH 423, Dr. Maximilian Forte, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology, Concordia University


Background Readings in Philosophy, Politics, Social Theory

Marxists Internet Archive

A Miniature Library of Philosophy

Readings in Political Anthropology

Many of the following items can be downloaded as PDF files, from the preview window that opens when one clicks on the following links–these files are marked as PDF. Others, however, require that you login using your Concordia Library account if off campus, and are marked below as “DOI”–these files are are usually PDF and/or HTML. If logged in on the campus network, you should be able to download the “DOI” items without needing to login to your library account. (None of these items was produced, uploaded or maintained online by the course instructor, and thus no guarantee is offered that these will remain online or in the same locations.)


Classics in Politicsa compilation of key articles written by European political philosophers (PDF)

African Political Systems, edited by Meyer Fortes and E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1950 (PDF of the complete volume, 14.3 mb)

“Preface” and “Introduction” by Meyer Fortes and E.E. Evans-Pritchard (from African Political Systems) (PDF)

“The Kingdom of the Zulu of South Africa,” by Max Gluckman (from African Political Systems, edited by Fortes and Evans-Pritchard) (PDF)

The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of  a Nilotic People  by E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1940 (PDF of the complete text, 16.3 mb)

“The Political System,” by E.E. Evans-Pritchard (Ch. 4 from his The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of  a Nilotic People) (PDF)

African Systems of Kinship and Marriage, edited by A.R. Radcliffe-Brown and Daryll Forde (PDF of the complete text, 22 mb)

Roseberry, William. (1997). “Marx and Anthropology.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 26, 25-46. (DOI)

Political Anthropology Texts Online

Political Anthropology: Power and Paradigms, by Donald V. Kurtz

Political Anthropology: An Introduction (3rd edition), by Ted C. Lewellen

Overview of the Field

Easton, David. (1959). “Political Anthropology.” Biennial Review of Anthropology, 1, 210-262. (DOI)

[as a response to Easton:] Cohen, Abner. (1969). “Political Anthropology: The Analysis of the Symbolism of Power Relations.” Man, 4(2), 215-235. Also as (DOI).

Perlman, Melvin L. (1969). “Methodological Problems in Political Anthropology.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, 3(1), 31-41. (DOI)

Winckler, Edwin A. (1969). “Political Anthropology.” Biennial Review of Anthropology, 6, 301-386. (DOI)

Cohen, Ronald. (1969). “Research Directions in Political Anthropology.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, 3(1), 23-30. (DOI)

Southall, Aidan. (1969). “Orientations in Political Anthropology.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, 3(1), 42-52. (DOI)

“The Paradigms of Political Anthropology,” by Donald V. Kurtz (Ch. 1 from Political Anthropology: Power and Paradigms) (PDF, 48 mb)

“The Organization of Political Life” (chapter from an introductory text in anthropology) (PDF)

“Power and Control” (chapter from an introductory text in anthropology) (PDF)


Mills, C. Wright. (1958). “The Structure of Power in American Society.” The British Journal of Sociology, 9(1), 29-41. (DOI)

Wolf Eric R. (1990). “Distinguished Lecture: Facing Power – Old Insights, New Questions.” American Anthropologist, 92(3), 586-596. (DOI)

“Power Topographies,” by James Ferguson (Ch. 24 in the Companion to the Anthropology of Politics) (PDF)

Action Theory, Instrumentalism

Vincent, Joan. (1978). “Political Anthropology: Manipulative Strategies.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 7, 175-194. (DOI)

Politics, Symbolism, Ritual

Cohen, Abner. (1969). “Political Anthropology: The Analysis of the Symbolism of Power Relations.” Man, 4(2), 215-235. (DOI)

Cohen, Abner. (1971). “The Politics of Ritual Secrecy.” Man, 6(3), 427-448. (DOI)

Cohen, Abner. (1979). “Political Symbolism.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 8, 87-113. (DOI)

Structure and Process

Stewart, Marjorie Helen. (1981). “Anthropology and the Political Process.” Anthropos, 76(3/4), 441-466. (DOI)

Swartz, Marc J. (1969). “Processual and Structural Approaches in Political Anthropology: A Commentary.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, 3(1), 53-59. (DOI)


“Hegemony,” by Gavin Smith (Ch. 14 in the Companion to the Anthropology of Politics) (PDF)

Kurtz, Donald V. (1996). “Hegemony and Anthropology: Gramsci, Exegeses, Reinterpretations.” Critique of Anthropology, 16(2), 103-135. (PDF)

Women and Politics

Nelson, Cynthia. (1974). “Public and Private Politics: Women in the Middle Eastern World.” American Ethnologist, 1(3), 551-563. (DOI)

Molnar, Augusta. (1982). “Women and Politics: Case of the Kham Magar of Western Nepal.” American Ethnologist, 9(3), 485-502. (DOI)

Ross, Marc Howard. (1986). “Female Political Participation: A Cross-Cultural Explanation.” American Anthropologist, 88(4), 843-858. (DOI)

Miller, Bruce G. (1992). “Women and Politics: Comparative Evidence from the Northwest Coast.” Ethnology, 31(4), 367-383. (DOI)

Miller, Bruce G. (1994). “Contemporary Native Women: Role Flexibility and Politics.” Anthropologica, 36(1), 57-72. (DOI)

Politics in Non-State Societies

Brown, Michael E. (1978). “‘Society against the State’: The Fullness of the Primitive.” October, 6, 61-73. (DOI)

Creamer, Winifred; & Haas, Jonathan. (1985). “Tribe versus Chiefdom in Lower Central America.” American Antiquity, 50(4), 738-754. (DOI)

Flanagan, James G. (1989). “Hierarchy in Simple ‘Egalitarian’ Societies.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 18, 245-266. (DOI)

Murphy, William P. (1990). “Creating the Appearance of Consensus in Mende Political Discourse.” American Anthropologist, 92(1), 24-41. (DOI)

The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia, by James C. Scott (chapters 1 and 2) (PDF)


Edelman, Marc. (2005). “Bringing the Moral Economy Back in… to the Study of 21st-Century Transnational Peasant Movements.” American Anthropologist, 107(3), 331-345. (DOI)

Nations and Nationalism

Visvanathan, Shiv. (2006). “Nation.” Theory, Culture & Society, 23, 533-538. (DOI)

“Imagining Nations,” by Akhil Gupta (Ch. 17 in the Companion to the Anthropology of Politics) (PDF)

Nationalism: A Critical Introductionby Philip Spencer and Howard Wollman (Ch. 1 Ambivalent Legacies: Nationalism, Political Ideology and Social Theory, and, Ch .2 Contemporary Approaches to Nationalism) (PDF)

“Yugoslavia: Making War,” by Jeff Pratt (Ch. 7 from his book, Class, Nation and Identity: The Anthropology of Political Movements) (PDF)

“Sovereignty,” by Caroline Humphrey (Ch. 26 in the Companion to the Anthropology of Politics) (PDF)

Colonialism, Postcolonialism, Decolonization

Horvath, Ronald J. (1972). “A Definition of Colonialism.” Current Anthropology, 13(1), 45-57.

Lewis, Diane. (1973). “Anthropology and Colonialism.” Current Anthropology, 14(5), 581-602. (DOI)

Sathyamurthy, T.V. (1973). “Social Anthropology in the Political Study of New Nation-States.” Current Anthropology, 14(5), 557-579. (DOI)

Southall, Aidan. (1974). “State Formation in Africa.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 3, 153-165. (DOI)

Stark, Frank M. (1986). “Theories of Contemporary State Formation in Africa: A Reassessment.” The Journal of Modern African Studies, 24(2), 335-347. (DOI)

Magubane, Bernard; & Faris, James C. (1985). “On the Political Relevance of Anthropology.”Dialectical Anthropology, 9(1/4), 91-104. (DOI)

Smith, Andrea L. (1994). “Colonialism and the Poisoning of Europe: Towards an Anthropology of Colonists.” Journal of Anthropological Research, 50(4), 383-393. (DOI)

“Postcolonialism,” by K. Sivaramakrishnan (Ch. 23 in the Companion to the Anthropology of Politics) (PDF)

The State

Claessen, Henri J. M. (1984). “The Internal Dynamics of the Early State.” Current Anthropology, 25(4), 365-379. (DOI)

Nagengast, Carole. (1994). “Violence, Terror, and the Crisis of the State.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 23, 109-136. (DOI)

Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. (2001). “The Anthropology of the State in the Age of Globalization: Close Encounters of the Deceptive Kind.” Current Anthropology, 42(1), 125-138. (DOI)

Kapferer, Bruce. (2005). “New formations of power, the oligarchic-corporate state, and anthropological ideological discourse.” Anthropological Theory, 5(3), 285-299. (DOI)

Li, Tania Murray. (2005). “Beyond ‘the State’ and Failed Schemes.” American Anthropologist, 107, 383–394. (DOI)

“Governing States,” by David Nugent (Ch. 13 in the Companion to the Anthropology of Politics, dealing with the anthropology of the state) (PDF)

“Anthropology and the Study of the State,” by Donald V. Kurtz (Ch. 11 from Political Anthropology: Power and Paradigms) (PDF, 48 mb)

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, by James C. Scott (Part 1: State Projects of Legibility and Simplification) (PDF)

“The State as a Vehicle of both Capitalist Expansionism and Decolonization: Historical Evidence and Theoretical Questions,” by John Milios and Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos (Ch. 4 in Rethinking Imperialism) (PDF)

“Tribes Make States and States Make Tribes: Warfare and the Creation of Colonial Tribes and States in Northeastern South America,” by Neil L. Whitehead (Ch. 6 from War in the Tribal Zone Expanding States and Indigenous Warfare, edited by R. Brian Ferguson and Neil L. Whitehead) (PDF)

“War Making and State Making as Organized Crime,” by Charles Tilly (PDF)

“Human Rights,” by Richard Ashby Wilson (Ch. 15  in the Companion to the Anthropology of Politics) (PDF)

“Militarization,” by Catherine Lutz (Ch. 20 in the Companion to the Anthropology of Politics) (PDF)

“Neoliberalism,” by John Gledhill (Ch. 21 in the Companion to the Anthropology of Politics) (PDF)


Nicholas, Ralph W. (1973). “Social and Political Movements.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 2, 63-84. (DOI)

“Transnational Civil Society,” by June Nash (Ch. 27 in the Companion to the Anthropology of Politics) (PDF)


Brown, Michael F. (1996). “On Resisting Resistance.” American Anthropologist, 98(4), 729-735. (DOI)

Langley, Sandra. (2004). “Revisiting ‘Resistance,’ ‘The Peasantry,’ and Liberation/Development.” Social Analysis, 48(1), 179-195. (DOI)

Moll,Luis C. (2004). “Rethinking Resistance.” Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 35(1), 126-131. (DOI)

Sivaramakrishnan, K. (2005). “Some Intellectual Genealogies for the Concept of Everyday Resistance.” American Anthropologist, 197(3), 346-355. (DOI)

Seymour, Susan. (2006). “Resistance.” Anthropological Theory, 6(3), 303-321. (DOI)

New Directions, Political Commitment

Gough, Kathleen. (1968). “New Proposals for Anthropologists.” Current Anthropology, 9(5), 403-435. (DOI)

D’Andrade, Roy. (1995). “Moral Models in Anthropology.” Current Anthropology, 36(3), 399-408. (DOI)

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. (1995). “The Primacy of the Ethical: Propositions for a Militant Anthropology.” Current Anthropology, 36(3), 409-440. (DOI)

Robins, Steven; & Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. (1996). “On the Call for a Militant Anthropology: The Complexity of ‘Doing the Right Thing’.” Current Anthropology, 37(2), 341-346. (DOI)

Huizer, Gerrit. (1996). “Anthropology as Advocacy.” Etnofoor, 9(2), 31-50. (DOI)

Hyatt, Susan Brin; & Lyon-Callo, Vincent. (2003). “Introduction: Anthropology and Political Engagement.” Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development, 32(2), 133-146. (DOI)