Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Conditions for slavery: New study sheds light on the development of early social hierarchies

19.12.2005


An important new study argues that inconsistent weather and spotty resources prevented enduring inequality from emerging in some early hunter-gatherer societies. By contrast, pre-colonial indigenous societies of the northwest coast of North America and the American southeast are notable for their marked social hierarchies, including chiefdoms and, in some cases, slavery.



"The conditions for the development of marked inequality [in North America] included reliable and prolific resources such as salmon, relatively high population densities, and the defense of territories and their resources," explains Ian Keen (Australian National University).

In the forthcoming issue of Current Anthropology, Keen compares complex hunter-gatherer societies in North America and Australia. Despite considerable variation in environments and resources, nowhere in Australia did "enduring inequality" such as ranked lineage or chiefly office prevail. However, Australian Aboriginal societies on the tropical northern coast were marked by "transient inequality" arising from high levels of polygyny, with some older men claiming more than twenty wives.


"The major constraint on the development of enduring inequality was the unpredictability of climates and resources," writes Keen. "Polygyny [in Australian Aboriginal societies] was only possible where resources were relatively plentiful and population density relatively high."

Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchicago.edu
http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CA

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>