In recent decades the theoretical parameters of ‘social complexity’ in archaeology have shifted considerably. Those neoevolutionist theories which formed the foundation of many previous avenues of research have been extensively critiqued for their inability to adequately explain processes of change, for identifying inequality as a seemingly inevitable consequence of social progress, and for implicitly positioning modern western state societies at the apex of the typology. Archaeologists of both processual and post-processual schools have moved away from the typological trajectories of band > tribe > chiefdom > state (as per Sahlins and Service 1960, 37) and egalitarian > ranked > stratified > state (Fried 1967) and classificatory terms such as ‘chiefdom’ and ‘state’, which no longer meaningfully describe those societies encountered in the anthropological or archaeological records.
• Is the concept of the ‘state’ still useful to archaeologists?
• How might non-hierarchical social formations be recognised in the archaeological record?
• How do non-evolutionary models of society impact upon our understanding of processes of change?
• What are the implications of non-hierarchical models of power for the analysis of ‘state’ societies such as those of the ‘palatial’ Late Bronze Age in Crete and on the Greek mainland?
Seminar will take place at 7pm on Thursday October 18th 2012 at the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies (IIHSA) at 51a Odos Notara.
Numbers are limited to 15, please RSVP by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to book a place and request the reading