Early Trends toward Class Stratification: Chaos, Common Property, and Flood Recession Agriculture

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46 Scopus citations

Abstract

In societies based on flood recession agriculture in arid regions, economic stratification, institutionalized ways of sloughing off population, and common property are particularly valuable risk management options. Using ethnographic data from the Senegal River Basin and historical data from the Nile Valley, I argue that tendencies toward stratification were inherent in riverine societies practicing flood recession agriculture. Thus, early stratification occurred long before population pressure reached significant levels and well before regional trade, extensive storage capacity, or elaborate water‐management infrastructure became economically significant. The article is intended to help explain why a number of civilizations developed in arid riverine contexts. 1992 American Anthropological Association

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-117
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Volume94
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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