The establishment and defeat of hierarchy: Inalienable possessions and the history of collective prestige structures in the Pueblo Southwest

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

115 Scopus citations

Abstract

The role of social valuables in establishing and defeating hierarchies in prestate societies is explored through the use of Annette Weiner's concept of "inalienable possessions." Inalienable possessions are objects made to be kept (not exchanged), have symbolic and economic power that cannot be transferred, and are often used to authenticate the ritual authority of corporate groups. Ethnographic examples from Zuni are used to understand the range of individually and collectively owned inalienable objects in Pueblo societies. I then use three classes of these objects from archaeological contexts to gain insight into the history of collective prestige structures in the Southwest. I argue that inalienable goods are more useful than prestige goods for understanding the role of social valuables in many nonstate societies, especially those in which inequalities are based on ritual knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-251
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Volume106
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2004

Keywords

  • Archaeology
  • Inalienable possessions
  • Materiality
  • Pueblos
  • Social memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The establishment and defeat of hierarchy: Inalienable possessions and the history of collective prestige structures in the Pueblo Southwest'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this