Beyond Chiefdoms: Pathways to Complexity in Africa

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Recent critiques of neoevolutionary formulations that focus primarily on the development of powerful hierarchies have called for broadening the empirical base for complex society studies. Redressing the neglect of sub-Saharan examples in comparative discussions on complex society, this book considers how case material from the region can enhance our understanding of the nature, origins and development of complexity. The archaeological, historical and anthropological case materials are relevant to a number of recent concerns, revealing how complexity has emerged and developed in a variety of ways. Contributors engage important theoretical issues, including the continuing influence of deeply embedded evolutionary notions in archaeological concepts of complexity, the importance of alternative modes of complex organization such as flexible hierarchies, multiple overlapping hierarchies, and horizontal differentiation, and the significance of different forms of power. The distinguished list of contributors include historians, archaeologists and anthropologists.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521022699
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/10/2005
  • Series: New Directions in Archaeology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Pathways to complexity: an African perspective Susan Keech McIntosh; 2. The segmentary state and the ritual phase in political economy Aidan Southall; 3. Perceiving variability in time and space: the evolutionary mapping of African societies Ann B. Stahl; 4. Western representations of urbanism and invisible African towns Roderick J. McIntosh; 5. Modelling political organization in large scale settlement clusters: a case study from the inland Niger Δ Susan Keech McIntosh; 6. Sacred centres and urbanisation in West Central Africa Raymond N. Asombang; 7. Permutations in patrimonialism and populism: the Aghem chiefdoms of Western Cameroon Igor Kopytoff; 8. Wonderful society: the Burgess shale creatures, Mandara polities, and the nature of prehistory Nicholas David and Judy Sterner; 9. Material culture and the dialectics of identity in the Kalahari: AD 700-1700 James Denbow; 10. Seeking and keeping power in Bunyora-Kitara, Uganda Peter Robertshaw; 11. The (in)visible roots of Bunyoro-Kitara and Buganda in the Lakes Region: 800-1300 David L. Schoenbrun; 12. The power of symbols and the symbols of power through time: probing the Luba past Pierre de Maret; 13. Pathways of political development in Equatorial Africa and neo-evolutionary theory Jan Vansina.

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