Kinship, Friendship, and Patron-Client Relations in Complex Societies

Eric R. Wolf

in Pathways of Power

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520223332
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924871 | DOI:
Kinship, Friendship, and Patron-Client Relations in Complex Societies

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The anthropologist's study of complex societies receives its major justification from the fact that such societies are not as well organized and tightly knit. There are political resources that are essential to the operation of the system. This chapter explores in detail the dialectical interplay between formal structures and the different kinds of informal associations among persons operating within the structures of structural-functionalist titleholders. The formal framework of economic and political power exists alongside or intermingled with various other kinds of informal structures that are interstitial, supplementary, or parallel to it. This study presents a great deal of information about the hidden mechanisms of complex societies. Tracing the origin and circulation of the models of etiquette structuring these sets would also reveal much of the social dynamic, of the changing distribution of forces in the social body.

Keywords: formal structures; informal associations; structural-functionalist titleholders; complex societies; social body

Chapter.  7228 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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