Political economy and archaeology: perspectives on exchange and production

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Current research has demonstrated that political economies are a mix of many different resource mobilization strategies that crosscut the production, service, and distribution sectors of the society. Archaeologists must attempt to identify this mix of strategies as a first step in reconstructing the structure of prehistoric political economy. Elites strive to control and mobilize resources from as many different sources as possible and invoke a common set of principles in doing so. These principles or components of the political economy are the accumulation, context, matrix control and ideology principles. They are identified here as common mechanisms of resource creation, manipulation, and expropriation that can be applied to societies at different times and at different levels of organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-239
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Archaeological Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1996


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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