Feminism, Gender, and Heterarchy

Author(s): Janet Levy

Year: 2016


When archaeologists, largely led by Carole Crumley, began applying the concept of heterarchy to prehistoric contexts, the focus was on social organization writ large. We generally used heterarchy to debate, illuminate, and/or clarify models of non-egalitarianism, stratification, and hierarchy. The concept seems to have come out of analyses of 20th century political systems. Some archaeological scholars of heterarchy have diversified into discussions of other aspects of human experience, such as landscape. In the past, I have tried to apply the concept to analysis of symbolism and also to gender. Over time, I have come to understand heterarchy as a potentially feminist concept. Here I expand on this understanding and provide some brief examples of how heterarchy illuminates our study of gender roles and values in past human social groups. Examples come from western European and southeastern U.S. prehistory.

Cite this Record

Feminism, Gender, and Heterarchy. Janet Levy. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403724)


Gender heterarchy

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;