The Political Economy of Core-Periphery Systems

  • Robert S. Santley
  • Rani T. Alexander
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)


In a recent article, Richard Blanton and Gary Feinman (1984) argue that pre-Columbian Mesoamerica was a kind of world system. Following the lead of Immanuel Wallerstein (1974), they suggest that the relative wealth and power of different parts of Mesoamerica were due principally to the ability to manipulate flows of material, energy, and people at the macroregional scale through the establishment of ties of superordinance and dependency. In their view, positions of power and authority at the time of the Spanish conquest were based on the ruling elite “maintaining control of the flow of ‘luxury’ goods, which were ... important in attracting and materially rewarding the cadre of soldiers and officials that were the lifeblood of the state” (Blanton and Feinman 1984:676). Although nearby areas often paid tribute in foodstuffs, fuel, and other bulk items, “controlling the flow of [preciosities] was so important that it provided the major motivation for external conquest” (Blanton and Feinman 1984:677).


Political Economy Luxury Good Commodity Flow Economic Stratification Capitalist Mode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Santley
    • 1
  • Rani T. Alexander
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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