Scales of Identity and Scales of Analysis in western New Mexico

Author(s): Matt Peeples

Year: 2015


Archaeologists typically use the term "identity" to refer to the ways in which individuals define membership in larger social groups through direct interaction or the perception of similarities and differences with others. Such social groups can be defined at a variety of scales (e.g., family unit/household, community, ethnic group/culture, etc.) and most archaeological studies tend to focus at only one particular scale. Recent archaeological research across a broad range of social and political contexts suggests, however, that social identities at increasing demographic and/or geographic scales are not necessarily neatly nested and hierarchical. In this paper, using ceramic, architectural, and chemical compositional data from large settlements dating from the 11th through 14th centuries in west-central New Mexico, I explore the complex interplay among social identities at multiple scales (households, communities, and regions) and suggest that the degree to which these scales intersect is closely related to trajectories of population growth and movement through time. I argue that an explicit consideration of the tensions among these different social and analytical scales can provide insights into the processes driving the creation of discrete social groups or the long-term persistence of diversity.

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Cite this Record

Scales of Identity and Scales of Analysis in western New Mexico. Matt Peeples. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395356)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;