Political complexity

Dr. Elman Service defined in 1962 the following levels of political complexity:

Bandaka hunter-gatherers.
TribeHypothetically, a new tribe could develop when an individual took his family beyond the tribal area. Presumably, tribal names were derived from an ancestor deemed seminal to the tribe's formation. For example, Israelites deemed Israel (aka Jacob) crucial to their origins.
Chiefdom
StatesCharacterized by a unified ideology, aka kingdoms or empires. Early State Modules (ESMs) presume that territory can only be ruled as well as it can be communicated with, and that pre-modern transportation was on foot.
EmpireAn empire is a super-state that unifies a heterogeneous population under a common ideology.

Key terms

BalkanizationBreaking up of a region into smaller territories, such as Czechoslovakia → Czech and Slovak.
UrbanizationDefined by: dramatic increase in population; fortifications; public buildings; and presence of a specialized bureaucracy.
Middle groundA region where disparate people and cultures coexist.
Privacy Policy