Further, they have strongly argued that government and state are not synonymous. There can be a government without a state, that is, territory. And, to the contrary, there can be a state or territory without having a government. In other words, state is independent of government and government is independent of state.
Thus, Fortes and Evans-Pritchard are credited with bringing the different social anthropologists under the umbrella of their edited work. This has given strength to their argument.
Before the publication of this book, Shapera had a thesis which was similar to that of Fortes and Evans-Pritchard.
But nobody took him seriously. Dwelling on the theme of African political systems, the contributors to the volume observe that among African tribals governmental functions are fulfilled by three kinds of organizations.
First, there were tribal groups which did not have anything of the kind of state. These groups were stateless societies. The second were those which had a state, and in the third category there were groups which had both state and government.
The functions of state and stateless societies were specified. In societies which had state, the functions were performed by kin groups including village and family. But, the groups which did not have a state, the functions were performed by non-kin groups. It would be quite interesting to have a look at the African political system (see figure on next page).
In the figure we have classified primitive political organizations into two categories: (1) society with state, and (2) stateless society. In the first, there is a territory, a fixed area and some form of government either run by the ruler or the army. The social anthropologists who have studied African political systems have found two kinds of such societies:
(i) With a territory and a government which is based on kinship, e.g., Swaziland, and
(ii) Without a state as the one in the Ashanti tribe of West Africa and Nuer tribe of Sudan.