DRW response to student questions about paper 5
firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Questions regarding last paper
I'm planning on writing paper five rather than paper four, and I have a few ideas in mind, but I just want to ask a few questions to make sure that what I want to write about is correct. What exactly do you mean by prestate societies? I asked Natasha, and she said that it meant societies that haven't become modernized yet. If that's the case, do you mean societies from the past (that don't exist anymore)? Or Societies from the present (which still exist)? Also, when you want us to compare and contrast societies, do you mean compare a prestate society with a society from the past? For example, the Roman Empire, Persian Empire, etc. Can you please email me back with information to help clarify things.
Thank you, Setareh
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 13:29:24 -0800 (PST) From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Final Paper
I have been having trouble writing the final paper. I have decided to do the last topic the comparative historical essay. In class on Thursday I tried to get help from the TA but she was unable to really clear up for me what the question is asking. I have been trying to figure it out on my own but I am still having a difficult time with what we are supposed to write on. Any explanation would be greatly appreciated.
Ok, good question, Setareh and Colin. The reference is to prestate societies in the SCCS sample, which are all in the past. If you wanted to compare only contemporary societies, e.g., looking at maps on problems of warfare, HIV, child warriors, etc., which would be more relevant to paper 4 rather than 5, then Natasha's suggestion would be relevant.Lets look at what it says on the wiki for the other aspect of your question:
"5. How cities, urban civilizations, trade, economic exploitation, and conflicts in and among states affect the prestate societies, and 3% extra credit for use of the SCCS database to test hypotheses. As time allows, compare and contrast prestate societies (**SCCS or individual cases**) and their dynamics with the dynamics of historical states. For background reading on effects on subsistence change see A Cross-Cultural Historical Analysis of Subsistence Change 1990 Candice Bradley; Carmella C. Moore; Michael L. Burton; Douglas R. White American Anthropologist 92(2): 447-457."
So there is an option to **compare individual cases** , state and prestate, which is what you are referring to: here for the prestate it would also be best to use bibliography from the SCCS, where the prestate societies are all in the past, as are the state societies. (See for example the "levels of jurisdiction" variables where
- 1=one level above local community, e.g. food collectors
- 2=two levels, e.g., chiefdoms would be the usual case here
- 3=three levels, often dynastic states or kingdoms
- 4=four levels, usual for full territorial states
I outlined in class the kinds of dynamics for each of these types with an idea of the balance of forces as outlined by Arthur Griffin. There is also a balance of force between human ethology, in resistance to inequality and domination (Griffin) and cohesive integration against common external enemies that builds the sense of identity as a "nation" (Turchin; also structural cohesion):
- food collectors - limited by fission
- chiefdoms - limited by fission
- dynastic states - limited by continuity and also cycles of scarcity/(time lagged with)/internal conflict that arises out of intensification of inequality
- territorial (modern) states - ditto.
Ok, so I have given away the theme that I think comes forward for the question I posed for the essay. Go for it, or come up with an alternative.