AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details


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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: HOUSEHOLDS, COMMONS, AND CHIEFS: THE CURIOUS EXAMPLE OF A NON-EXTRACTIVE POLITICAL ECONOMY FROM ICELAND
Author: DOUGLAS BOLENDER (University of Massachusetts-Boston), JOHN STEINBERG (UMass Boston)   
Date/Time: Sat., 11:30 AM
Co-Author(s): DOUGLAS BOLENDER (University of Massachusetts-Boston), JOHN STEINBERG (UMass Boston) 
Abstract: Tim Earle and Antonio Gilman have a long-running discussion about the functional nature of chiefs. Specifically do chiefs maintain their power because of their redistributive function or their coercive power? Viking Age Iceland may provide the best test case for these alternative political economies. The Icelandic sagas tell of stratified society with chiefly positions and an elite political economy but provide little information on the basis of that wealth or status. If they are exploitative, how do they manage to create a political economy in a land-abundant environment with few mechanisms to control labor? If Icelandic chiefs during the Viking Age were serving a productive role, what is it and why do the saga sources not mention it? Our archaeological work suggests an alternative construction of their argument in which an elite chiefly class can develop in the absence of redistributive function and with a minimum of coercion.

Program Number: 4-0445
Session Title: POLITICAL ECONOMIES: THE LEGACY OF TIMOTHY K. EARLE, PART 1
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Sat., 10:15 AM-12:00 PM
Organizer(s): LISA LUCERO (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign), CATHY COSTIN (California State University-Northridge) 
Chair(s): LISA LUCERO (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign)  
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