Social Identification and Collective Action at La Quemada, Zacatecas, Mexico (500-900 CE)

Author(s): Andrea Torvinen

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Journeying to the South, from Mimbres (New Mexico) to Malpaso (Zacatecas) and Beyond: Papers in Honor of Ben A. Nelson" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

According to the collective social identification framework, sustained collective action depends on the degree to which groups of individuals share networks of social interaction (i.e., relational identification) and recognize membership in the same social categories (i.e. categorical identification). This study investigates the interplay of the two modes of identification to establish the potential for collective action through time and across spatial scales within the Epiclassic (600-900 CE) site of La Quemada, Zacatecas, Mexico. Large centers in the northern Mesoamerican frontier shared social categories and were connected via exchange networks, yet La Quemada fell out of the regional system while other polities persisted into the Postclassic. Given that La Quemada was occupied for centuries, we know its residents had the capacity for collective action, so it is hypothesized that a change in how La Quemada residents identified with one another weakened collective identity prior to site abandonment. Material proxies in the form of ceramic categories (i.e., shared styles expressing categorical affiliation) and fabric classes (i.e., shared pastes indicative of relational networks) are used to assess the consistency of social identification at multiple socio-spatial scales within La Quemada and will provide a model for comparing the trajectories of northern frontier polities.

Cite this Record

Social Identification and Collective Action at La Quemada, Zacatecas, Mexico (500-900 CE). Andrea Torvinen. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451513)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -109.094; min lat: 22.553 ; max long: -96.57; max lat: 26.785 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22958