Social Inequalities Forum

Feb 14, 2023 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Room 105, Leibnizstr. 1, 24118 Kiel

Social Inequality Forum.

Title "Subsistence Production, War, and Leadership in New Guinea (and Beyond): The Roots of Social Inequality?”" by Paul Roscoe (The University of Maine).



The polities that populated New Guinea at the time of European contact offer a useful theatre for probing the roots of social inequality, in particular political inequality. They embraced a variety of subsistence regimes, from hunting and gathering through horticulture to agriculture; they were all either episodically or permanently at war with at least one of their neighbours; and they displayed diverse leadership forms from egalitarian bands through Great-Men and Big-Men communities to petty chiefdoms. An analysis of polities from more than a hundred New Guinea language groups indicates that subsistence productivity and war were important in determining this political variability and in driving the development of gendered leadership and patriarchy. As a brief coda, the results of this analysis are extended to understanding the emergence and development of political centralization in northern and central coastal Peru.



For more information please contact Tim Kerig (Email)

The program of the Social Inequalities Forum of the Winter Term 2022-23 can be downloaded here.

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