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Aboriginal Sociopolitical Groups in California and the Great Basin: The Rise of Orderly Anarchy

Author(s): Robert Bettinger

Year: 2015

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Socio-political development in aboriginal California follows a trajectory quite different from that in much of western North America, culminating in very small socio-political units, in some places independent family groups approximating those characteristic of the Great Basin. The key development leading to this family-level organization was in both places the privatization of stored plant food, which incentivized the intensive use of plant foods (pinyon and acorn) that were abundant but costly process. Privatization was the result of a technological breakthrough, the appearance of bow and arrow technology, which permitted the formation of smaller, family-centered social units more inclined to invest in costly resource procurement because the proceeds of that went directly to offspring and close relatives, culminating in a system termed "orderly anarchy."

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Aboriginal Sociopolitical Groups in California and the Great Basin: The Rise of Orderly Anarchy. Robert Bettinger. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395332)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America