Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire

Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire

by Kent Flannery
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674064690

ISBN-13: 2900674064699

Pub. Date: 11/11/2015

Publisher: Harvard

Our early ancestors lived in small groups and worked actively to preserve social equality. As they created larger societies, however, inequality rose, and by 2500 bce truly egalitarian societies were on the wane. In The Creation of Inequality, Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus demonstrate that this development was not simply the result of population increase,

Overview

Our early ancestors lived in small groups and worked actively to preserve social equality. As they created larger societies, however, inequality rose, and by 2500 bce truly egalitarian societies were on the wane. In The Creation of Inequality, Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus demonstrate that this development was not simply the result of population increase, food surplus, or the accumulation of valuables. Instead, inequality resulted from conscious manipulation of the unique social logic that lies at the core of every human group.

A few societies allowed talented and ambitious individuals to rise in prestige while still preventing them from becoming a hereditary elite. But many others made high rank hereditary, by manipulating debts, genealogies, and sacred lore. At certain moments in history, intense competition among leaders of high rank gave rise to despotic kingdoms and empires in the Near East, Egypt, Africa, Mexico, Peru, and the Pacific.

Drawing on their vast knowledge of both living and prehistoric social groups, Flannery and Marcus describe the changes in logic that create larger and more hierarchical societies, and they argue persuasively that many kinds of inequality can be overcome by reversing these changes, rather than by violence.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900674064699
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
11/11/2015
Pages:
648

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Part I Starring Out Equal

1 Genesis and Exodus 3

2 Rousseau s "State of Nature" 19

3 Ancestors and Enemies 40

4 Why Our Ancestors Had Religion and the Arts 54

5 Inequality without Agriculture 66

Part II Balancing Prestige and Equality

6 Agriculture and Achieved Renown 91

7 The Ritual Buildings of Achievement-Based Societies 110

8 The Prehistory of the Ritual House 121

9 Prestige and Equality in Four Native American Societies 153

Part III Societies That Made Inequality Hereditary

10 The Rise and Fall of Hereditary Inequality in Farming Societies 187

11 Three Sources of Power in Chiefly Societies 208

12 From Ritual House to Temple in the Americas 229

13 Aristocracy without Chiefs 251

14 Temples and Inequality in Early Mesopotamia 260

15 The Chiefly Societies in Our Backyard 298

16 How to Turn Rank into Stratification: Tales of the South Pacific 313

Part IV Inequality in Kingdoms and Empires

17 How to Create a Kingdom 341

18 Three of die New Worlds First-Generation Kingdoms 367

19 The Land of die Scorpion King 394

20 Black Ox Hides and Golden Stools 422

21 The Nursery of Civilization 448

22 Graft and Imperialism 475

23 How New Empires Learn from Old 503

Part V Resisting Inequality

24 Inequality and Natural Law 547

Notes 567

Sources of Illustrations 615

Index 623

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