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Bands and Tribes

Bands and tribes are
considered as the simplest
political systems. They are often
perceived to be acephalous or
without a well-defined system of


A band is typically formed by several

families living together based on marriage
ties, common descendants, friendship
affiliations, and members usually have a
common interest, or enemy. Thus, the main
source of integration is kinship either blood
or affinity. The power structure within a
band is less hierarchical as member
families are seen to be equal and there is

There is evidence that women

have higher influence in bands that
are considered pedestrian-foragers
(gatherers), while men tend to end
up having more leadership roles in
bands whose livelihoods depend on
hunting, or in pastoralist-agricultural
bands where food is produced by
cultivating the land.

Informal leadership is accorded to members

who possess certain skills and knowledge
such as the gift of memory, hunting or
healing skills, or those other special ability.
For example, being a gifted speaker can
elevate a band member to the status of being
an informal leader. In any event, accession to
the status of informal leadership is reached
by consensus rather than by a formal process
of election. The small size of band enables
this relatively informal process. An informal

As the bands increase in size, the

tendency for conflict increases, which lead
to the band splitting along family lines.
This process is known as band
fissioning. Eventually, this could lead to
some leaving the band to form their own,
which is referred as social velocity.

Evidence suggests that while

food scarcity can be a trigger for
conflict, what usually leads to
fissioning and eventual break-up
is the presence of social discord
that the informal leadership could
no longer contain. At present,
there is practically no band that

INUIT (Eskimo)

Dobe Jo/hoansi (!KUNG)


A band that survives fissioning and social

velocity, even as it experiences increasing
population and a shift from a foraging and hunting
community, to one where there I now a presence of
multiple communities engaged in pastoral or
horticultural forms of livelihood, eventually becomes
a tribe.
A tribe is still considered an acephalous
political system, even if it is more complex than a
band. This complexity results from the fact that the

The manner by which tribes are

organized is through the presence of
pantribal associations, or what
anthropologists refer to as sodalites.
These come in the form of councils of
tribal leaders. It was noticed that the
emergence of more complex ways of
organizing a tribe eventually led to the
eventual displacement of women leaders.
This is also partly due to the shift from

Tribe are often

headed by a village
headman, even though
such a role does not
have absolute political
power. A village
headman derives his
authority from having a
senior position, coupled
with an ability to force
others to obey him.

Headman of the
village of Rusirani

Most tribes remain egalitarian, where

families and groups are considered
politically and economically equal, even
those of headmen. Tribes are also seen
economically self-sufficient and are
larger and more integrated than bands.
However, contact with modern societies
led to eventual collapse of tribal
systems as tribes were unable to



A chiefdom is defined as a political organization that more

defined. Itis a form of hierarchical organization in nonindustrial societies usually based onkinship, and in which
formal leadership is monopolized by the legitimate senior
members of select families or 'houses'. These elites form a
political-ideological aristocracy relative to the general group.
A chiefdom is led by a highly ranked incumbent of an
inherited political role, chief: chiefs lead because of
theirascribed status, not theirachieved status.

It is characterized by a central village
or community ruled by a single family.
A number of smaller communities
surround this smaller community, with
each being headed by a subsidiary
leader subservient to the central ruler.

It is composed of several simple chiefdoms ruled
by a single paramount chief residing in a single
paramount center. This is a highly structured and
hierarchical political system characterized by a class
system where the elites demand tributes in the form
of agricultural crops and produce from the commoner
to a system that is called tributary system.

Lesser chief are then obliged to give tribute to the

paramount chief. In return, the paramount chief carries
out rituals and performs functions over which he has
sole authority, such as the conduct of symbolic
redistribution of material goods, and the awarding of
titles and other symbolic rewards.
Research shows that chiefdoms are highly unstable and
are prone to cycles of disintegration and integration.



The advent of modernity has made the process
of consolidating different individuals into one
political community more difficult and complex.
The expansion of chiefdoms was punctuated by
their collapse. Out of the breakdown of political
organizations, what emerged was the presence of
groups of people that shared a common history,
language, traditions, customs, habits and ethnicity.

Benedict Anderson considers a nation


Benedict Anderson considers a

nation as IMAGINED in the sense
that nations can exist as a state of
mind, where the material expressions
seen in actual residence in a
physical territory becomes secondary
to the common imagined connections
emanating from a common history
and identity. Thus even if people
may be scattered in different places,

Paul James considers a nation as

Paul James considers a nation
as ABSTRACT. He argues
that a nation is objectively
impersonal even if each
individual is able to identify
with others. This argument
however may not be true for
Filipinos, as Filipino identify
strongly with other Filipinos.

A nation, despite its being
historically constituted and having a
common sense of identification among
its members, as well as the
consciousness of having thee potential
to be autonomous, nevertheless do not
possess political sovereignty. As such,
it remains a political entity that does
not possess the status of being
recognized as an independent political

A state is apolitical
unit consisting of a
government that has
sovereignty presiding
over a group of people
and a well-defined
territory and is thus the
highest form of political

When the
citizens of a
state belong
to only one
nation, such

However, the reality is that there are

many states that govern peoples who
have different cultural identities and
who are conscious of their being
distinct. Thus they become nations
within states. This become a problem
when these nations are treated
unequally, and where a dominant group

It can also be argued that the Moros in

Mindanao are technically considered as a
nation within the Philippine state since
they have a distinct cultural identity and
history. Hence, clearly the Philippines
could not be consider as a nation-estate.


1.The elements of State and Nation are

The State has four elementspopulation, territory, government,
and sovereignty. In the absence of even one element, a State
cannot be really a State. A state is always characterise by all these
four elements. On the contrary, a nation is a group of people who
have a strong sense of unity and common consciousness.
Common territory, common race, common religion, common
language, common history, common culture and common political
aspirations are the elements which help the formation of a nation,
and yet none of these is an absolutely essential element. The
elements which go to build a nation keep on changing.

2.State is a Political Organization while Nation is a social,

cultural, psychological, emotional and political unity:

The State is a political organization which

fulfills the security and welfare needs of its
people. It is concerned with external human
actions. It is a legal entity. On the other hand,
a Nation is a united unit of population which is
full of emotional, spiritual and psychological
bonds. A nation has little to do with the
physical needs of the people.

3.Possession of a Definite Territory is essential for

the State but not for a Nation:
It is essential for each State to possess a fixed territory.
It is the physical element of the State. State is a
territorial entity. But for a nation territory is not an
essential requirement. A nation can survive even without
a fixed territory. Love of a common motherland acts as a
source of unity. For example, before 1948 the Jews were a
nation even though they had no fixed territory of their
own. When, in 1948, they secured a definite and defined
territory, they established the State of Israel.

4.Sovereignty is essential for State but not for

Sovereignty is an essential element of the State. It is the soul of the State.
In the absence of sovereignty, the State loses its existence. It is the element
of sovereignty which makes the state different from all other associations of
the people. It is not essential for a nation to possess sovereignty.
The basic requirement of a nation is the strong bonds of emotional unity
among its people which develop due to several common social cultural
elements. Before 1947, India was a nation but not a State because it did not
have sovereignty. (State = Nation + Sovereignty).
After her independence in 1947, India became a State because after the
end of British imperial rule it became a sovereign entity. However, each
nation always aspires to be sovereign and independent of the control of
every other nation.

5.Nation can be wider than the State:

The State is limited to a fixed territory. Its boundaries can
increase or decrease but the process of change is always very
complex. However a nation may or may not remain within the
bounds of a fixed territory. Nation is a community based on
common ethnicity, history and traditions and aspirations.
Obviously its boundaries can easily extend beyond the
boundaries of the State. For example in a way the French nation
extends even to Belgium, Switzerland and Italy because people in
these countries belong to the same race to which the French claim
to belong.

6.There can be two or more Nationalities living

in one State:

There can be two or more than two nations

within a single State. Before the First World
War, Austria and Hungary were one State, but
two different nations. Most of the modern
states are multinational states.

7.Nation is more stable than State:

A nation is more stable than the State. When
sovereignty ends, the State dies, but not the nation. A
nation can survive even without sovereignty. For example,
after their defeat in the World War II, both Germany and
Japan lost their sovereign statuses and outside powers
began to control them. They ceased to exist as States. But
as nations they continued to live as nations, which after
some months regained their sovereign statuses and
became sovereign independent states.

8.A State can be created while a Nation is always

the result of evolution:
A State can be created with the conscious endeavors of the
people. Physical elements play an important role in the birth of a
State. For example, after the Second World War, Germany got
divided into two separate states West Germany and East Germany.
But Germans remained emotionally as one nation.
Ultimately in Oct., 1990 the Germans again got united into a
single state. In 1947 Pakistan was created out of India as a separate
State. A nation is a unity of the people which emerges slowly and
steadily. No special efforts go into the making of a nation.

9.The State uses police power (force) for preserving its unity and
integrity, the Nation is bound by strong cultural and historical links:

State has police power. Those who dare to disobey it are punished by the
state. A nation does not have police power or force or coercive power. It is
backed by moral, emotional and spiritual power. A nation survives on the power
of sense of unity of the people. A nation appeals, the State orders; a nation
persuades, a States coerces; and a nation boycotts, the State punishes. State is a
political organization, while the nation is a unity.
State and nation do not have the same boundaries, and yet there is a
tendency for a nation and state to be one. Most of the nations today stand
organized into different states. Most of the modern States are multinational
States. The modern state is called a nation-state because all the (nationalities)
living in one state stand integrated into one nation.

A state continuously pursues the objective of

national- integration. The State tries to secure this
objective by securing a willing blending of the
majority nationality and all the minority
nationalities, through collective living, sharing of all
the ups and the downs in common and development
of strong emotional, spiritual and psychological
bonds. Unity in diversity or more really, unity in
plurality stands accepted as the guiding principle by
all the modern civilized multinational states like
India, USA, Russia, China, Britain and others.


The task of organizing a political

community requires the existence
of leaders. Leaders, in order to be
effective, need to possess authority
that is considered legitimate by the
members of the community.

AUTHORITY-is the power to make binding
decisions and issue commands. It is necessary for a
leader to possess authority. What makes authority
binding and worthy of obedience is its legitimacy.
LEGITIMACY- is a moral and ethical concept that
bestows one who possesses power the right to
exercise such power since such is perceived to be
justified and proper.

Legitimacy is not automatically

acquired just because one has authority.
This occurs when the authority was
obtained through improper means such
as through violence or when one commits
cheating in an election, or when one is
perceived to be understanding of power
due to lack of qualifications. Hence, for
authority to be binding and stable, it


Max Weber identifies three types of
authority based on the source of
their legitimacy, the traditional
authority, the charismatic authority
and the rational legal authority.

Legitimacy is derived from wellestablished customs, habits, and social
structures. Monarchical rule or the rule
of elites in a chiefdom are examples of
leadership systems that have traditional


Legitimacy emanates from the

charisma of the individual, which for
some can be seen as a gift of
grace, or the possession of
gravitas or an authority derived
from a higher power, such as those
that are associated with the right of

The possession of this charisma enables one

to be accorded authority despite of the
absence of cultural or even legal justification.
In some instances, charismatic authority even
is able to negate the standards provided by
culture and tradition, or by laws. Religious
leaders, or even popular icons such as movie
actors, are examples of people who may end
up possessing charismatic authority.

This kind of authority draws its

legitimacy from formal rules

promulgated by the state through its
fundamental and implementing laws.
This is the most dominant way of
legitimizing authority in modern
states, and this is from where
government officials draw their