Panare - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. The largest group that has any collective identity is the settlement. Although anthropologists have distinguished between Western, Eastern, and Southern Panare on the basis of minor cultural and linguistic traits, these terminological distinctions are not recognized by the Panare themselves. Each settlement group is an autonomous entity, owing no allegiance to any other.

Political Organization. Panare society is highly egalitarian. Although men generally exert some control over women, one adult has very little power over another of the same gender in day-to-day life. There is no word for "chief" as such, though the term i'yan is used of someone with leadership qualities; there can be one, many, or no i'yan in a given community. The authority of an i'yan is very limited and rarely extends beyond his own settlement.

Social Control. There are no formal institutions of social control. Deviant behavior receives only adverse comment from other members of the settlement, but this is very effective since deviance is rare. Serious misdemeanors and irreconcilable conflicts are simply resolved by one of the parties leaving the settlement.

Conflict. Oral tradition includes accounts of warfare in the distant past, but physical violence is abhorred by the Panare and is almost unknown today.


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