Archaic State Interaction: The Eastern Mediterranean in the Bronze Age

Edited by William A. Parkinson and Michael L. Galaty

Archaic State InteractionArchaic State InteractionArchaic State Interaction

In current archaeological research, the failure to find common ground between world-systems theory believers and their counterparts has resulted in a stagnation of theoretical development in regards to modeling how early state societies interacted with their neighbors. This book is an attempt to redress these issues. Using the Bronze Age Aegean as a laboratory, co-editors William A. Parkinson and Michael L. Galaty challenged the authors to shift away from traditional models and questions of state formation and to consider how different kinds of states interact with their contemporaries over time. “Rather than asking ‘How do states come to be?’ we wanted to answer the question ‘How do states that develop differently, along different historical trajectories, affect each other and surrounding societies?’”

By shifting the theoretical focus away from questions of state evolution to state interaction, the authors develop anthropological models for understanding how ancient states interacted with one another and with societies of different scales of economic and political organization. One of their goals has been to identify a theoretical middle ground that is neither dogmatic nor dismissive. The result is an innovative approach to modeling social interaction that will be helpful in exploring the relationship between social processes that occur at different geographic scales and over different temporal durations. The scholars who participated in the SAR Advanced Seminar that resulted in this book used a particular geographic and temporal context as a case study for developing anthropological models of interaction that are cross-cultural in scope but still deal well with the idiosyncrasies of specific culture histories.

Find out more about Archaic State Interaction by visiting the SAR website (opens in new browser window).

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