Compose a 2250 words assignment on how pastoralism impacted kinship, social organization and political organization. Needs to be plagiarism free! Sections between the primary mode of subsistence and aspects of culture such as kinship, social organization, and political organization, and the case is no different from the Basseri. This paper will explore some of those connections as outlined in published ethnographic work.
Pastoralists have “pre-state” societies and therefore do not have a state, by common definition in anthropology (see Scupin, 1995). They are instead organized through tribal kinship relations, encompassing often thousands of persons. The Basseri were divided into 13 tires, with each tire further subdivided into several olds.
For most pastoralists, the descent is traced through the male (“patrimony”) unlike horticulturalists where matrilineal or matrilocal kinship patterns are common (Nowak & Laird, 2010). The Basseri follows this pattern, and membership in an old is determined by descent in the male line, and the structure of the tire is based on connections of descent in the male line (Keesing, 1981). This type of tribal kinship pattern could be considered a segmentary lineage system, in which sub-groups were ideally arranged in a complex structure of complementary opposition and alliances by various groups and sub-groups, though real-life often strayed from this ideal (Lindholm, 1986). This tribal kinship organization, rather than any state-like institutions, was used to manage the collective use of land and other resources by the Basseri in their pastoral mode of subsistence. The entire social organization, in fact, was based upon these tribal kin relationships.
The Basseri migrated seasonally through a strip of land some 300 miles long, an area of about 2,000 square miles, settling in one pasture area during summer, when they would also grow some wheat, and being more nomadic during winter (Keesing, 1981). This frequent movement pattern of thousands of people, of necessity, required society and social organization that was flexible and mobile.