Feast, Famine or Fighting?

Multiple Pathways to Social Complexity

  • Richard J. Chacon
  • Rubén G. Mendoza

Part of the Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation book series (STHE, volume 8)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxix
  2. Richard J. Chacon, Rubén G. Mendoza
    Pages 1-14
  3. Chapurukha M. Kusimba, Nam C. Kim, Sibel B. Kusimba
    Pages 61-89
  4. David Willer, Pamela Emanuelson, Yamilette Chacon, Richard J. Chacon
    Pages 417-452
  5. Robert L. Carneiro
    Pages 453-457
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 479-490

About this book


The advent of social complexity has been a longstanding debate among social scientists. Existing theories and approaches involving the origins of social complexity include environmental circumscription, population growth, technology transfers, prestige-based and interpersonal-group competition, organized conflict, perennial wartime leadership, wealth finance, opportunistic leadership, climatological change, transport and trade monopolies, resource circumscription, surplus and redistribution, ideological imperialism, and the consideration of individual agency.

However, recent approaches such as the inclusion of bioarchaeological perspectives, prospection methods, systematically-investigated archaeological sites along with emerging technologies are necessarily transforming our understanding of socio-cultural evolutionary processes. In short, many pre-existing ways of explaining the origins and development of social complexity are being reassessed. 

Ultimately, the contributors to this edited volume challenge the status quo regarding how and why social complexity arose by providing revolutionary new understandings of social inequality and socio-political evolution.


spatial distribution and hierarchy of settlements War-related social and ritual traits internal and external societal dynamics human responses to scarcity during famines sociopolitical change and leadership related to competition

Editors and affiliations

  • Richard J. Chacon
    • 1
  • Rubén G. Mendoza
    • 2
  1. 1.Soc & Anth DeptWinthrop University Soc & Anth DeptRock HillUSA
  2. 2.Social, Behavioral and Global StudiesCSU Monterey Bay Social, Behavioral and Global StudiesSeasideUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-48401-3
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-48402-0
  • Series Print ISSN 1574-0501
  • Buy this book on publisher's site