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Chiefdoms

Power, Economy, and Ideology

Edited by Timothy Earle

The study of chiefdoms has moved from preoccupation with their formal characteristics to a concern with their dynamics as political institutions. The contributors to this volume are interested in how ruling elites retain power through control over production and exchange, and then legitimize that control through an elaborate ideology. These case studies look at particular chiefdoms, originating in specific historical conditions. Despite obvious differences between the chiefdoms, certain common underlying processes are revealed. The collection recognizes how complex and interdependent are the sources of power in society, as well as the forces of instability that constantly threaten to tear society apart. Chiefdoms offers a rich and varied interpretation of sociopolitical power.

1982. 396 pp., 4 maps, 60 figures, 9 tables, glossary, notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: Richard Bradley, Robert Drennan, Timothy Earle, Gary Feinman, Yale Ferguson, Antonio Gilman, Patrick Kirch, Kristian Kristiansen, Candelario Sáenz, Vincas P. Steponaitis

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  1. The evolution of chiefdoms
    Timothy Earle
  2. Chiefdoms, states, and systems of social evolution
    Kristian Kristiansen
  3. The pattern of change in British prehistory
    Richard Bradley
  4. Property rights and the evolution of chiefdoms
    Timothy Earle
  5. Lords of the waste: predation, pastoral production, and the process of stratification among the Eastern Twaregs
    Candelario Sáenz
  6. Chiefship and competitive involution: the Marquesas Islands of eastern Polynesia
    Patrick Kirch
  7. Trajectories towards social complexity in the later prehistory of the Mediterranean
    Antonio Gilman
  8. Chiefdoms to city-states: the Greek experience
    Yale Ferguson
  9. Contrasting patterns of the Mississippian development
    Vincas Steponaitis
  10. Demography, surplus, and inequality: early political formations in highland Mesoamerica
    Gary Feinman
  11. Pre-Hispanic chiefdom trajectories in Mesoamerica, Central America, and northern South America
    Robert Drennan
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