Socialising Complexity: Approaches to Power and Interaction in the Archaeological Record [Paperback]

Sheila Kohring (Author); Stephanie Wynne-Jones (Author)

ISBN: 9781842172940 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2016 | Language: English 248p, H242 x W170 (mm) b/w illus

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Socialising Complexity


Socialising Complexity introduces the concept of complexity as a tool, rather than a category, for understanding social formations. This new take on complexity moves beyond the traditional concern with what constitutes a complex society and focuses on the complexity inherent in various social forms through the structuring principles created within each society. The aims and themes of the book can thus be summarised as follows: to introduce the idea of complexity as a tool, which is pertinent to the understanding of all types of society, rather than an exclusionary type of society in its own right; to examine concepts that can enhance our interpretation of societal complexity, such as heterarchy, materialisation and contextualisation. These concepts are applied at different scales and in different ways, illustrating their utility in a variety of different cases; to re-establish social structure as a topic of study within archaeology, which can be profitably studied by proponents of both processual and post-processual methodologies.

Table of Contents

Part 1: The complexity concept
Socialising complexity (Stephanie Wynne-Jones and Sheila Kohring)
Evolution, complexity and the state (Robert Chapman)
Part 2: The organisation of society
Notes on a new paradigm (Carole Crumley)
Social complexity is not the same as hierarchy (Stella Souvatzi)
The rules of the game. Decentralised complexity and power structures (Kristian Kristiansen)
The state they were in: community, continuity and change in the north-central Andes, 1000-1608AD (Kevin Lane)
Part 3: Complexity through practice
Technology, production and consumption: the materialisation of complex social relationships (Sheila Kohring, Carlos P. Odriozola and Victor M. Hurtado)
Settings and symbols: assessing complexity in two pre-Hispanic polities (Elizabeth DeMarrais)
Part 4: Complexity and landscape
Multiple landscapes and layered meanings: scale, interaction and process in the development of a Swahili town (Stephanie Wynne-Jones)
Social landscapes and community identity: the social organisation of space in the north-central Andes (Alexander Herrera)
Taking the Bight out of complexity: elaborating interior landscapes within south-central California (David Robinson)
Part 5: Encountering complexity
Creating Complexity: the example of the Muisca of Colombia (Monica Giedelmann-Reyes)
The decentralised state: nomads, complexity and sociotechnical systems in Inner Asia (David Sneath)

Reviews & Quotes

"A great deal in Kohring and Wynne-Jones volume is interesting and/or thought provoking."

Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Stimulation (JASSS)

"The volume demonstrates creative analysis of rich sets of archaeological data."

Cambridge Archaeological Journal

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