Pastoralists and agriculturalists

Richard Spear (rspear@PRIMENET.COM)
Wed, 16 Aug 1995 18:20:23 -0800

Because of the flooding of the arch-theory list I have lost track of
the origins of this message, so I'm posting to both anthro-l and
arch-l ... (not even sure of the original subject!) ...

Lenny said:
> I'm a little behind the curve on this discussion (perhaps my questions have
> already been answered) so please forgive me. But I would like to hear more
> on the "rate of change" analysis of "surpluses" and the relationship of
> surpluses to gender roles and differentiation. How can one relate rates of
> change in particular surpluses (say for instance, burial paraphernalia and
> accouterments) to gender roles (as opposed to sex differences) and correlate
> them to gendered-social shifts in control and accumulation while avoiding
> the pitfalls inherent to models such as Saxe's social personas? Are we
> merely substituting gender roles for social roles in the equation?

I have *no* idea whether these messages are reaching the intended
recipients, but here goes ...

I was suggesting that surpluses in production (evidenced by the
appearance of storage facilities, an elite, othere evidences of
stratification) could be correlated with a transfer of political
power to males. The "rate of change" referred to these surpluses and
the evolution of the means of production. Perhaps a poor phrase, but
the intent was to propose that political (and economic - no
difference here) power moves from a more egalitarian to a male
dominated environment as cultures transform themselves from
production for use towards more exploitative means of production.

The distribution of economic and political power within any given
culture is only as difficult as the definition applied. I propose
the following ... "The dominant gender sets the cultural standards
for behavior in any given society." (Much as the dominant *class*
sets the standards of behavior in Capitalist economies. When the
behavior of men and women are determined by the material demands of
the environment there is egalitarianism - when the standards of
behavior are determined by one or another gender, ther eis

How does one use the archaeological record to test the status of a
gender in a culture? Ideological artifacts might contribute something
here. Check out the iconography ... how are folks depicted? Funerary
practices (you mentioned these?) might contribute also.