The Evolution of Leadership: Transitions in Decision Making from Small-Scale to Middle-Range Societies

Edited by Kevin J. Vaughn, Jelmer W. Eerkens, and John Kantner

The Evolution of LeadershipThe Evolution of LeadershipThe Evolution of Leadership

The product of an SAR advanced seminar, this volume reflects the work of leading cultural anthropologists and archaeologists in an interdisciplinary exploration of the way leaders emerge and leadership becomes institutionalized. “The range of anthropological disciplines represented, including ethnography, ethnohistory, ethnoarchaeology, and archaeology, as well as the widespread geographic areas in which the participants work, including the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, demonstrated the importance of the culturally specific dimensions of leaders and leadership,” write the editors in the volume’s introduction.

Generations of scholars have examined the social phenomena of leaders and leadership from a variety of humanistic and scientific perspectives. “Because the leader is an entity that archaeologists consider essential in all models of socio-political complexity, the results of this advanced seminar help archaeologists plan investigations that reveal evidence of such persons and their behavior, and they link this evidence to specific models for the emergence of leadership,” write the editors. “A series of authoritative snapshots describe what archaeology and ethnography can tell us about leadership and small- and medium-size societies,” said reviewer Brian Fagan. “The geographic coverage is broad, the range of examples impressive. This is an important and timely contribution to the long-standing—and often repetitive—debates about the nature of leadership in smaller-scale societies.”

Find out more about The Evolution of Leadership by visiting the SAR website (opens in new browser window).

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