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Assembling conceptual tools to examine the moral and political structures of the past

Author(s): Carole Crumley

Year: 2017

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As recent events demonstrate, power can manifest entirely outside the framework of state hierarchies and beyond their control. Beginning with the premise that tension between competition and cooperation exists in all human societies, we must explore the ways rules and norms permit or deny each, and how both interact with history and changing conditions to forge institutions. Today, new ways to stabilize societies and reduce conflict must be found. One of the most important conditions for reducing conflict is to ensure inclusive and equitable conditions for everyone, particularly as regards food and water security, personal and group safety, and a satisfying quality of life. The form of governance of such communities and polities goes by many names: anarchist, collective, communitarian, pear-shaped, and many others and dates back thousands of years. These very forms are a perennial moral compass (family, neighborhood, community-based action). They are not left behind in human evolution; on the contrary, they remain the fabric of peaceable, supportive daily life and can still gift the future.

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Assembling conceptual tools to examine the moral and political structures of the past. Carole Crumley. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430558)


equity future heterarchy

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14951

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