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Korotayev, Kradin, Lynsha. Alternatives of Social Evolution: An Introduction // Alternatives of Social Evolution. Ed. by N.Kradin, A.Korotayev, V.de Munck, V.Lynsha et al. Vladivostok: Dal'nauka, 2000. P. 27–89

Korotayev, Kradin, Lynsha. Alternatives of Social Evolution: An Introduction // Alternatives of Social Evolution. Ed. by N.Kradin, A.Korotayev, V.de Munck, V.Lynsha et al. Vladivostok: Dal'nauka, 2000. P. 27–89

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Published by Korotayev
It would be possible to speak about the line of social evolution if there were a perfect 100% correlation between the main unidimentional parameters of evolution. Take one of the most influential and widespread evolutionary schemes, the one proposed by Service (1962/1971; its outline is, however, already contained in Sahlins 1960: 37): band – tribe – chiefdom – state. The scheme implies that the growth of the political complexity (at least up to the stage of the agrarian state) is inevitably accompanied by the growth of the inequality, stratification, the social distance between the rulers and the ruled, the "authoritarianism" and hierarchization of the political system, decrease of the political participation of the main mass of population &c. Of course, these two sets of parameters seem to be related rather closely. It is evident that we observe here a certain correlation, and a rather strong one. But, no doubt, this is just a correlation, and by no means a functional dependence. Of course, this correlation implies a perfectly possible line of socio-political evolution (see part III of this volume) – from an egalitarian, acephalous band, through a big-man village community with much more pronounced inequality and political hierarchy, to an "authoritarian" village community with a strong power of its chief (found e.g. among some Indians of the North-West Coast – see e.g. chapter 3 by Carnero in this volume), and than through the true chiefdoms having even more pronounced stratification and concentration of the political power in the hands of the chief, to the complex chiefdoms where the political inequality parameters reach a qualitatively higher levels, and finally to the agrarian state where all such parameters reach their culmination (though one could move even further, up to the level of the "empire" [e.g. Adams 1975]). However, it is very important to stress that on each level of the growing political complexity one could find easily evident alternatives to this evolutionary line.
It would be possible to speak about the line of social evolution if there were a perfect 100% correlation between the main unidimentional parameters of evolution. Take one of the most influential and widespread evolutionary schemes, the one proposed by Service (1962/1971; its outline is, however, already contained in Sahlins 1960: 37): band – tribe – chiefdom – state. The scheme implies that the growth of the political complexity (at least up to the stage of the agrarian state) is inevitably accompanied by the growth of the inequality, stratification, the social distance between the rulers and the ruled, the "authoritarianism" and hierarchization of the political system, decrease of the political participation of the main mass of population &c. Of course, these two sets of parameters seem to be related rather closely. It is evident that we observe here a certain correlation, and a rather strong one. But, no doubt, this is just a correlation, and by no means a functional dependence. Of course, this correlation implies a perfectly possible line of socio-political evolution (see part III of this volume) – from an egalitarian, acephalous band, through a big-man village community with much more pronounced inequality and political hierarchy, to an "authoritarian" village community with a strong power of its chief (found e.g. among some Indians of the North-West Coast – see e.g. chapter 3 by Carnero in this volume), and than through the true chiefdoms having even more pronounced stratification and concentration of the political power in the hands of the chief, to the complex chiefdoms where the political inequality parameters reach a qualitatively higher levels, and finally to the agrarian state where all such parameters reach their culmination (though one could move even further, up to the level of the "empire" [e.g. Adams 1975]). However, it is very important to stress that on each level of the growing political complexity one could find easily evident alternatives to this evolutionary line.

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Published by: Korotayev on Jun 28, 2009
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11/25/2012

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