The creation of inequality : how our prehistoric ancestors set the stage for monarchy, slavery, and empire / Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus.Material type: TextPublisher: Cambridge : Harvard University Press, c2012Description: xiii, 631 p. : illus. ; 24 cmISBN: 9780674064690Subject(s): Prehistoric peoples | Anthropology, Prehistoric | Human evolution | Social evolution | EqualityDDC classification: 569.9 LOC classification: GN740 | .F54 2012
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|Main library collection||305.5 Fla 2012||Available||T 15721|
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Part I: Starting out equal: Genesis and exodus. -- Rousseau's "state of nature". -- Ancestors and enemies. -- Why our ancestors had religion and the arts. -- Inequality without agriculture. --
Part II: Balancing prestige and equality: Agriculture and achieved renown. -- The ritual buildings of achievement-based societies. -- The prehistory of the ritual house. -- Prestige and equality in four Native American societies. --
Part III: Societies that made inequality hereditary: The rise and fall of hereditary inequality in farming societies. -- Three sources of power in chiefly societies. -- From ritual house to temple in the Americas. -- Aristocracy without chiefs. -- Temples and inequality in early Mesopotamia. -- The chiefly societies in our backyard. -- How to turn rank into stratification: tales of the South Pacific. --
Part IV: Inequality in kingdoms and empires: How to create a kingdom. -- Three of the New World's first-generation kingdoms. -- The land of the scorpion king. -- Black ox hides and golden stools. -- The nursery of civilization. -- Graft and imperialism. -- How new empires learn from old. --
Part V: Resisting inequality: Inequality and natural law.
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.