Foundations of Social Inequality

Part of the series Fundamental Issues in Archaeology pp 129-151

Social Inequality at the Origins of Agriculture

  • T. Douglas PriceAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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The emergence of social inequality is an intriguing and important issue. There is a very large body of literature, in a number of disciplines, on the subject. Philosophers, social theorists, and others have considered the topic in great detail since the Renaissance. Cultural anthropologists have dealt with the subject for many years (e.g., Collier and Rosaldo 1981; Fried 1967; Kelly 1993; Leach 1965; Sahlins 1958; Service 1978; Terray 1972). In archaeology, a variety of ideas have developed on what social inequality is and how and why it began (e.g., Aldenderfer 1992; Feinman and Neitzel 1984; Flannery 1972; Johnson and Earle 1987; Kelly 1991; McGuire and Paynter 1991; Paynter 1989; Upham 1990).