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Collective Action in the Formation of Pre-Modern States : Fundamental Issues in Archaeology - Richard Blanton

Collective Action in the Formation of Pre-Modern States

Fundamental Issues in Archaeology

Hardcover Published: 1st November 2007
ISBN: 9780387738765
Number Of Pages: 448

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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.

Introductionp. 1
Rethinking the Role of Agency in Political Evolutionp. 5
The Social Actor in Collective Actionp. 12
Selecting a Sample of Societies for Comparative Codingp. 25
Archaeological and Historical Contexts for the Coded Societiesp. 33
Revenue Sourcesp. 112
Public Goodsp. 133
Bureaucratizationp. 165
Modes of Control of Principalsp. 203
Theory Testing and a Question: Is State Formation a Product of Rational Choice or Symbolic Structure?p. 249
Collective Action Processes at World-Economy, Polity, and Community Scalesp. 266
Collective Action and Political Evolutionp. 290
Variables and Coded Data for the Exit Opportunity Variablesp. 300
Material and Social Background to the Coded Societiesp. 302
Description of Coded Variables and the Coded Values. Letter Designators refer to Column Heads for the Coded Variablesp. 404
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780387738765
ISBN-10: 0387738762
Series: Fundamental Issues in Archaeology
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 448
Published: 1st November 2007
Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.39 x 15.6  x 2.69
Weight (kg): 0.84

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