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Understanding heterarchy: Landscape and community in the northern Calchaquí Valley, Argentina

Author(s): Elizabeth DeMarrais

Year: 2016

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This presentation explores landscapes of heterarchy, investigating the ways that past peoples inhabited a south Andean landscape. In the northern Calchaquí Valley of Argentina, before the Inkas, power relations were predominantly decentralized and spatially extensive. As a consequence, lived experience, the built environment, and the wider landscape both constituted and reproduced a distinctive social order and cultural logic. Using data from regional survey, I argue first for a habitus that emphasized face-to-face interactions and informal alliances on one hand, and movements to foster long-distance exchange relationships on the other. Second, I show that rituals and collective activities (and their settings) assembled far-flung communities, creating shared experiences that helped to foster solidarity. Third, I highlight the ways that social relationships were mediated across distances, using elaborately decorated objects, especially pottery and textiles. Broader theoretical aims include a deeper understanding of the dynamics of heterarchy through new insights into lived experience in this Andean landscape.

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Understanding heterarchy: Landscape and community in the northern Calchaquí Valley, Argentina. Elizabeth DeMarrais. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403067)


andes heterarchy Theory

Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

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