A chiefdom is a form of hierarchical political organization in non-industrial societies usually based on kinship, and in which formal leadership is monopolized by the legitimate senior members of select families or 'houses'. These elites form a political-ideological aristocracy relative to the general group.
1.1 Chiefdoms in Archaeological Theory 1.2 Simple 1.3 Complex
2 Chiefdoms on the Indian subcontinent 3 Native Chieftain System in southern China 4 Alternatives to chiefdoms 5 See also 6 Bibliography 7 References 8 External links
In anthropological theory, one model of human social development
rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form
of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band society,
and less complex than a state or a civilization.
Within general theories of cultural evolution, chiefdoms are
characterized by permanent and institutionalized forms of political
leadership (the chief), centralized decision-making, economic
interdependence, and social hierarchy.
Chiefdoms are described as intermediate between tribes and states in
the progressive scheme of sociopolitical development formulated by
Elman Service: band - tribe - chiefdom - state. A chief’s status
is based on kinship, so it is inherited or ascribed, in contrast to
the achieved status of Big Man leaders of tribes. Another feature
of chiefdoms is therefore pervasive social inequality. They are ranked
societies, according to the scheme of progressive sociopolitical
development formulated by Morton Fried: egalitarian - ranked -
stratified - state.
The most succinct definition of a chiefdom in anthropology is by
Robert L. Carneiro: "An autonomous political unit comprising a number
of villages or communities under the permanent control of a paramount
chief" (Carneiro 1981: 45).
Chiefdoms in Archaeological Theory
In archaeological theory, Service's definition of chiefdoms as
“redistributional societies with a permanent central agency of
coordination” (Service 1962: 144) has been most influential. Many
archaeologist, however, dispute Service's reliance upon redistribution
as central to chiefdom societies, and point to differences in the
basis of finance (staple finance v. wealth finance). Service argued
that chief rose to assume a managerial status to redistribute
agricultural surplus to ecologically specialised communities within
this territory (staple finance). Yet in re-studying the Hawaiian
chiefdoms used as his case study, Timothy Earle observed that
communities were rather self-sufficient. What the chief redistributed
was not staple goods, but prestige goods to his followers that helped
him to maintain his authority (wealth finance).
Some scholars contest the utility of the chiefdom model for
archaeological inquiry. The most forceful critique comes from Timothy
Chiefdom and Other Archaeological Delusions
outlines how chiefdoms fail to account for the high variability of the
archaeological evidence for middle-range societies. Pauketat argues
that the evolutionary underpinnings of the chiefdom model are weighed
down by racist and outdated theoretical baggage that can be traced
back to Lewis Morgan's 19th century cultural evolution. From this
perspective, pre-state societies are treated as underdeveloped, the
savage and barbaric phases that preceded civilization. Pauketat argues
that the chiefdom type is a limiting category that should be
abandoned, and takes as his main case study Cahokia, a central place
Chief of the Name
Berezkin, Yu. E. 1995. "Alternative Models of Middle Range Society" and " 'Individualistic' Asia vs. 'Collectivistic' America?", in Alternative Pathways to Early State, Ed. N. N. Kradin & V. A. Lynsha. Vladivostok: Dal'nauka: 75–83. Carneiro, R. L. 1981. "The Chiefdom: Precursor of the State", The Transition to Statehood in the New World / Ed. by G. D. Jones and R. R. Kautz, pp. 37–79. Cambridge, UK – New York, NY: Cam-bridge University Press. Carneiro, R. L. 1991. "The Nature of the Chiefdom as Revealed by Evidence from the Cauca Valley of Colombia", Profiles in Cultural Evolution / Ed. by A.T. Rambo and K. Gillogly, pp. 167–90. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Earle, T. K. 1997. How Chiefs Came to Power: The Political Economy of Prehistory. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Frantsouzoff S. A. 2000. "The Society of Raybūn", in Alternatives of Social Evolution. Ed. by N.N. Kradin, A.V. Korotayev, Dmitri Bondarenko, V. de Munck, and P.K. Wason (p. 258-265). Vladivostok: Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Korotayev, Andrey V. 2000. Chiefdom: Precursor of the Tribe?, in Alternatives of Social Evolution. Ed. by N.N. Kradin, A.V. Korotayev, Dmitri Bondarenko, V. de Munck, and P.K. Wason (p. 242-257). Vladivostok: Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; reprinted in: The Early State, its Alternatives and Analogues. Ed. by Leonid Grinin et al. (р. 300-324). Volgograd: Uchitel', 2004. Kradin, Nikolay N. 2000. "Nomadic Empires in Evolutionary Perspective", in Alternatives of Social Evolution. Ed. by N.N. Kradin, A.V. Korotayev, Dmitri Bondarenko, V. de Munck, and P.K. Wason (p. 274-288). Vladivostok: Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; reprinted in: The Early State, its Alternatives and Analogues. Ed. by Leonid Grinin et al. (р. 501-524). Volgograd: Uchitel', 2004. Kradin, Nikolay N. 2002. "Nomadism, Evolution, and World-Systems: Pastoral Societies in Theories of Historical Development", Journal of World-System Research 8: 368-388. Kradin, Nikolay N. 2003. "Nomadic Empires: Origins, Rise, Decline", Nomadic Pathways in Social Evolution. Ed. by N.N. Kradin, Dmitri Bondarenko, and T. Barfield (p. 73-87). Moscow: Center for Civilizational Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.
^ Helm, Mary (2010). Access to Origins: Affines, Ancestors, and Aristocrats. Austin, TX: Univ Of Texas Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780292723740. OCLC 640095710. ^ Service, Elman R (1976). Primitive Social Organization: An Evolutionary Perspective. Chicago, IL: Random House. ISBN 0394316355. ^ Sahlins, Marshall D. (1963). "Poor Man, Rich Man, Big-man, Chief: Political Types in Melanesia and Polynesia". Comparative Studies in Society and History. 5 (3): 285–303. doi:10.1017/S0010417500001729. ISSN 1475-2999. ^ Fried, Morton Herbert (1976). The Evolution of Political Society: An Essay in Political Anthropology. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0075535793. ^ Earle, Timothy, ed. (2004). Chiefdoms: Power, Economy, and Ideology. Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 0521448018. ^ Pauketat, Timothy R (2011). Chiefdoms and Other Archaeological Delusions. AltaMira Press. ISBN 9780759108295. ^ Beck, Robin (2009). "On Delusions". Native South. 2: 111–120. ^ Avari, Burjor (2007). India, the Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Sub-continent from C. 7000 BC to AD 1200. Taylor & Francis. pp. 188–189. ISBN 0415356156. ^ Singh, Prof. Mahendra Prasad (2011). Indian Political Thought: Themes and Thinkers. Pearson Education India. pp. 11–13. ISBN 8131758516. ^ Chatterjee, Suhas (1995). Mizo Chiefs and the Chiefdom. Publications Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 8185880727. ^ "How Maps Made the World". Wilson Quarterly. Summer 2011. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011. Source: 'Mapping the Sovereign State: Technology, Authority, and Systemic Change' by Jordan Branch, in International Organization, Volume 65, Issue 1, Winter 2011 ^ Branch, Jordan Nathaniel (2011). Mapping the Sovereign State: Cartographic Technology, Political Authority, and Systemic Change (Ph.D. thesis). University of California, Berkeley. pp. 1–36. doi:10.1017/S0020818310000299. 3469226. Retrieved March 5, 2012. Abstract: How did modern territorial states come to replace earlier forms of organization, defined by a wide variety of territorial and non-territorial forms of authority? Answering this question can help to explain both where our international political system came from and where it might be going....
Characteristics of Chiefdoms Chiefdom: Precursor of the Tribe? Origins and Evolution of Chiefdoms Was the Chiefdom a Congelation of Ideas? by Robert L. Carneiro. In Grinin L. E. et al. Early State, Its Alternatives and Analogues. Volgogr