By Antonia E. Foias
"An outstanding assessment of modern scholarship coupled with the result of a long term examine venture on the web site and sector of Motul de San José. It contributes considerably to the anthropological literature on politics and power." --Daniela Triadan, coeditor of Burned Palaces and Elite flats of Aguateca
"A lengthy past due and especially welcome piece of scholarly paintings. It synthesizes, digests, and makes to be had the result of the super growth in political experiences within the Maya region that has happened within the final 20 years as a result of quick glyph decipherment, elevated archaeological information, and extra refined theoretical modeling." --Eleanor M. King, Howard University
The research of politics, a dominating strength all through historical past, grants nice perception into the lives of historic humans. as a result of the richness and complexity of Maya society, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent many years trying to reconstruct its political systems.
In Ancient Maya Political Dynamics, Antonia Foias argues that there's no unmarried Maya political heritage yet a number of histories, no unmarried Maya nation yet a number of polities that have to be understood on the point of the lived, person adventure. She explores the ways that the dynamics of political energy formed the lives and panorama of the Maya and the way this knowledge can be utilized to examine different complicated societies.
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Extra resources for Ancient Maya Political Dynamics
Rather than conceiving of elites as the only power holders in ancient societies, anthropologists and archaeologists now argue that all members of a society have some power, even if they have less than the rulers and the political elite. Because power is not considered to be a static quantity that is held by elites only, it is seen as relational and conflictive; leaders and followers are constantly engaged in a virtual tug of war. Legitimacy and authority are at the heart of the relationship between leaders and followers, and recent explorations of political power have moved away from studies of the economic foundations of ancient governments to the study of the ideational means by which rulers, leaders, and governments persuaded their followers to support them.
Thus, it can be easily associated with positive views of cooperative power as “power to” (Fleisher and Wynn-Jones 2010; Arens and Karp 1989). Fleisher and Wynne-Jones (2010) write: “In many African examples, coercive forms of power and impositional forms of authority are shunned or resisted; instead, power is often constituted through ritual practices and alliance building . . and authority is made legitimate through the performance and maintenance of these collective actions” (185). A variety of ideational mechanisms can be used to gain legitimacy, such as naturalizing the political structure of the community and/or the political power of the leaders through rituals (Kertzer 1988), transforming or inscribing the landscape with political symbols of power (Smith 2003), creating a society-wide identity that all members share (Yaeger 2003a; Kus 1989), or forming affective connections between the polity and its members (Smith 2000; Kertzer 1988).
Power to” can be seen as the positive, enabling power that relies on cooperation and persuasion and develops in alliances between individuals or groups, both non-elite and elite (Miller and Tilley 1984, 7). Mann (1986) defines “power to” as collective power, “whereby persons in cooperation can enhance their joint power over third parties or over nature” (6, following Parsons 1960, 199–225). But “power to” can also be seen as a limiting, negative force that defines the rules of interaction or as the “apparatus of social control [that] permeates and defines every aspect of social life” (Fleisher and Wynne-Jones 2010, 182).