© 2010

Pathways to Power

New Perspectives on the Emergence of Social Inequality

  • T. Douglas Price
  • Gary M. Feinman

Part of the Fundamental Issues in Archaeology book series (FIAR)

About this book


There are few questions more central to understanding the prehistory of our species than those regarding the institutionalization of social inequality. Social inequality is manifested in unequal access to goods, information, decision-making, and power. This structure is essential to higher orders of social organization and basic to the operation of more complex societies. An understanding of the transformation from relatively egalitarian societies to a hierarchical organization and socioeconomic stratification is fundamental to our knowledge about the human condition.  In a follow-up to their 1995 book Foundations of Social Inequality, the Editors of this volume have compiled a new and comprehensive group of studies concerning these central questions. When and where does hierarchy appear in human society, and how does it operate? With numerous case studies from the Old and New World, spanning foraging societies to agricultural groups, and complex states, Pathways to Power provides key historical insights into current social and cultural questions.


Europe Evolution Prehistory burials and rituals Prehistory social hierarchy bronze age devleopment of hierarc foraging society history of feudalism inequality in hunter gatherer cultures iron age organizatin of agricultural cultures prehistory social inequality social stratification and religion societal structure in the Iron Age

Editors and affiliations

  • T. Douglas Price
    • 1
  • Gary M. Feinman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyField MuseumChicagoUSA

About the editors

T. Douglas Price is the Director of the Laboratory for Archaeological Chemistry at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Gary M. Feinman is Curator, Mesoamerican and Central American Anthropology, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL.

Bibliographic information


"While most archaeologists are interested in origins, only a few wish to investigate the "big picture". Most authors are well known from their publications and conference presentations, and their contributions are thoughtful, but I preferred Pathways."

Thomas N. Huffman

South African Archaeological Bulletin