What is an Acephalous Political System?

An acephalous political system is that in which there is no single head, chief or king and order is maintained by other means. There are four sub-types of acephalous political system:

Central African Bushmen: Bushmen are divided into small bands who constantly move from one place to another in search of roots, fruits or animal. Order is maintained by the elders of the band.

Yako of Nigeria: Consists of autonomous villages with their councils. Order is preserved by the village councils whose members are economically successful, have leadership qualities.

Masai of East Africa: In these societies the change from childhood to manhood is an important social event. Children, are initiated into youngest age set and gradually move on to the eldest age set. It is then that they take on the task of maintaining social order.

Nuer of Sudan: Divided into lineages the members of a lineage are obliged to help each other. In case of a dispute between lineages, all the members unite to fight. Dispute between members of the same lineage is sorted out by other members of the lineage without outside intervention. Thus, order is kept on the basis of relations amongst lineages.

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