Political Anthropology


a) Allows student to become familiar with the ways anthropology has studied politics, power, domination and resistance.
b) Analyse alternative political systems as a way of showing its diversities as well as the main principles of organization.
c) Develop the students intelectual capacities, theoretical and practical, students to understand and explain such contexts and themes, having in mind the use of such knowledge in further studies and/or carriers.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

José Manuel Fraga Mapril Gonçalves


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language





BALANDIER, G. (1987), Antropología política. Lisboa, Presença
CLASTRES, P. (1979), A Sociedade contra o Estado. Porto, Afrontamento
EVANS-PRITCHARD, E. E. (1981), “Os Nuer do Sul do Sudão”, in Sistemas Políticos Africanos. Lisboa, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian : 469-508.
GLEDHILL, John (1994) Power and its disguises: Anthropological Perspectives on Politics, London, Pluto Press
MAHMOOD, S. (2006), “Secularism, hermeneutics and empire: the politics of Islamic reformation”, Public Culture, 18 (2), pp. 323-347
NASH, J. (1981), “Ethnographic aspects of the world capitalist system”, Annual Review of Anthropology, vol. 10, pp. 393-423
VINCENT, J. (1990), Anhropology and Politics: Visions, Traditions and Trends, Tucson, The University of Arizona Press
WACQUANT, L. (2012), “Three steps to a historical anthropology of actually existing neoliberalism”, Social Anthropology, 20 (1), pp. 60-79

Teaching method

The classes will be mainly carried out by the lecturer but participation is highly encouraged. 

Evaluation method

Participation in classes and frequency (10%), Final exam(60%), Small exam(30%)

Subject matter

a. locating the political in Anthropology: meta-narrative
b. Societas and civitas
c. Segmentarity
d. structural instability
e. Theory of games
f. Processualists
g. Transactionalism
h. The symbolics of power
i. Power as symbolic action
j. Types of chieftans
k. Society againts the State
l. Ethnographies of the world-systems
m. Everyday forms of resistance
n Transnationalism
o. Secular normativities
p. Neoliberalism: centaur state or a subjectivity?