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1 CHAPTER ONE Introduction Mobility and community organization have emerged as two central themes in the archaeological study of small-scale farming societies around the world. Numerous studies have highlighted the importance of various forms of mobility, whether daily or seasonal moves to dispersed fields, longer term rhythms of movement of the residences of individuals and households, or migrations into distant areas occupied by kin, friends, allies, and even enemies. All of these movements shape the daily experiences , social structures, and histories of agricultural peoples. The study of mobility in small-scale farming societies has directly refuted the simplistic dichotomy between mobile, hunting and gathering societies and sedentary, agricultural societies that pervaded much of twentieth-century anthropology and still dominates most laypersons’ notions of the effects of agriculture and differences between modern and ancient societies. Archaeologists interested in small-scale farming societies have also expended significant energy defining the role of communities—often thought of as intermediate-scale social units binding together numerous spatially proximate households—in structuring local-level social organization , hierarchy, identity, and subsistence. These studies of community organization, built on the advances of settlement archaeology, have provided a means to understand social organization and interaction at a scale larger than the archaeological site and smaller than regions defined by similarities in material culture or linked by geographically extensive political ties. Studies of early farming communities, which often seek to define social organization and patterns of interaction within dispersed settlement systems, have also challenged the notion that compact, populous villages were the norm in past agricultural systems. These findings further undermine simplistic depictions of sharp contrasts between the 2 population circulation and zuni communities settlement systems of campsite-dwelling hunter-gatherers and villagedwelling farmers. More recently, archaeologists employing perspectives informed by practice theory have reformulated studies of community organization by focusing on how communities were socially constructed and changed over time. These efforts have critiqued the common tendency for archaeologists to consider communities as natural, primordial social groups, rather than social forms with historically contingent origins, structure, and trajectories. Although many archaeologists note the value of these critiques, they have been difficult to incorporate during research and have had an arguably minor impact on how most archaeologists study and conceptualize communities in both practical and theoretical terms. A number of the problems that archaeologists encounter when modeling community organization and identifying communities in the archaeological record in part derive from an underdeveloped notion of how mobility shapes social relationships within and between social groups. Surprisingly, community organization and mobility have rarely been studied together despite the well-documented importance of movement in shaping social interaction in many societies. The minimal and uncritical consideration of mobility in community studies impedes a full exploration of interactional processes that define community-scale and intraregional social networks. In turn, I would also note that archaeological research on mobility, which often privileges ecology and subsistence, has insufficiently explored social drivers in shaping networks of movement linking people and social groups across space and through time. In this book, I juxtapose insights from studies of community organization, mobility , and social change in order to challenge existing models of each and provide a new framework for analyzing these processes in past societies. To achieve this goal, I explore an intraregional population shift in the Zuni region of west-central New Mexico during the AD 1200s that led to major demographic changes, the founding of numerous settlements in formerly unoccupied areas, and the initiation of radical transformations in community organization. These analyses are conducted within a multiscalar , comparative framework that emphasizes interconnections between groups across both time and space and the historical contingency of social change (sensu Pauketat 2001, 2003, 2007, 2009). In sum, my combined exploration of mobility and community organization suggests that traditional archaeological definitions of community are often counterproductive for understanding ancient Zuni social systems and many other similarly mobile farming societies. In addition, I suggest that many of the notable transformations in community organization and distribution during the late precolonial period in the Zuni region arose directly out of peoples’ attempts to create new social mechanisms for coping with Introduction 3 frequent and geographically extensive movement. By comparing multiple dimensions of mobility and community formation in areas that were newly settled in the thirteenth century to others that had been the locus of longterm settlement for centuries, I also document the role of population circulation in the creation of contexts conducive to social change. Although closely focused on the thirteenth-century Zuni...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780816599554
Related ISBN
9780816529865
MARC Record
OCLC
828490578
Pages
208
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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