Collective Action in the Formation of Pre-Modern States - ISBN: 9780387738772 - (ebook) - von Richard Blanton, Lane Fargher, Verlag: Springer - Details - OvW eBook Shop

Details

Collective Action in the Formation of Pre-Modern States


Fundamental Issues in Archaeology

von: Richard Blanton, Lane Fargher

178,49 €

Verlag: Springer
Format: PDF
Veröffentl.: 30.10.2007
ISBN/EAN: 9780387738772
Sprache: englisch
Anzahl Seiten: 448

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Beschreibungen

Anthropological archaeology and other disciplines concerned with the formation of early complex societies are undergoing a theoretical shift. Given the need for new directions in theory, the book proposes that anthropologists look to political science, especially the rational choice theory of collective action. The authors subject collective action theory to a methodologically rigorous evaluation using systematic cross-cultural analysis based on a world-wide sample of societies.
Anthropological archaeology and other disciplines concerned with the formation of early complex societies are undergoing a theoretical shift stemming from the realization that the social evolution of complex societies was more varied and complex than imagined.
Given the need for new directions in theory, the book proposes that anthropologists look to political science, especially the rational choice theory of collective action. Collective action theorists propose that state formation results from the strategic behavior of rational and self-interested actors who make up the polity, including a political elite and those outside the official structure of the state. The theory proposes that the form taken by a state will depend on the “bargaining power”, of rulers and taxpayers. Where taxpayers have more resources with which to bargain, it is predicted that rulers will concede benefits to taxpayers and will agree to restrictions on their power.
The authors subject collective action theory to a methodologically rigorous evaluation using systematic cross-cultural analysis based on a world-wide sample of societies. The results presented here indicate strong support for most elements of the theory, but some results, in particular those pertaining to the control of ruler behavior, suggest the possibility that there are contexts in which collective action may play out in ways not anticipated by the theory.
While this type of theoretical modeling is commonly seen in political science research, this volume is unique in its approach from an anthropological and archaeological viewpoint.
Rethinking the Role of Agency in Political Evolution.- The Social Actor in Collective Action.- Selecting a Sample of Societies for Comparative Coding.- Archaeological and Historical Contexts for the Coded Societies.- Revenue Sources.- Public Goods.- Bureaucratization.- Modes of Control of Principals.- Theory Testing and a Question: Is State Formation a Product of Rational Choice or Symbolic Structure?.- Collective Action Processes at World-Economy, Polity, and Community Scales.- Collective Action and Political Evolution.
Dr. Blanton is a professor of Anthropology at Purdue University.  He is known for his research on the evolution of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican civilization, especially in Central Mexico and the Valley of Oaxaca but has also contributed to several more general anthropological topics, including the economics of peasant households and household archaeology, the evolution of market systems in early civilizations, pre-modern world-systems, and cultural ecology.  Blanton's recent theoretical and comparative research on the nature of early state formation and political economy is regarded as a new departure that is making a contribution to the current discourse on the evolution of complex human societies.  He is a founding member of the Society for Economic Archaeology and has served as its president.
Collective Action in the Formation of Pre-Modern Statesby Richard Blanton and Lane FargherPurdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Research over the past half-century has substantially increased the quantity and quality of information on the evolution of early complex societies.  New methods and new discoveries have inspired anthropological archaeologists and other social scientists to rethink prevailing theories, which now seem excessively deterministic and unable to account for the role of human action in social change.  The authors propose that the rational choice theory of collective action, especially as it has been developed by political scientists, is a fruitful new direction for theory-building that can overcome these limitations.  This theory addresses the dilemma faced by any group attempting to build a complex society, namely, that the rational and self-interested behavior of social actors may limit the potential for collective action and group solidarity.       This book explores a collective action perspective on the formation of pre-modern states, but does not only promote a new mode of theoretical understanding.  Rather, it subjects collective action theory to a methodologically rigorous evaluation using a systematic cross-cultural analysis of historical, ethnographic, and archaeological data drawn from a world-wide sample of societies. These data provide strong support for the theory while pointing the way to a more complex and nuanced approach to collective action, uniting theories of pre-modern and modern states.
Uses political science theory in researching state formation in prehistoric societies
Takes a global comparative approach
Blanton is one of the founders of the field of economic and political archaeology