Chiefdoms: Yesterday and Today

Chiefdoms: Yesterday and Today
Authors: Grinin, Leonid; Korotayev, Andrey
Almanac: Globalistics and Globalization StudiesGlobalization Studies and Evolutionary Trends

The authors show that the chiefdom concept turns out one of the most productive in social anthropology and political evolution since it helps to comprehend the growing complexity of societal structure and development from stateless society to early states. However, even today chiefdoms remain political and administrative actors. At present one can find some features of chiefdoms in developing countries (e.g., in some regions of Africa) and in different kinds of organizations especially in illegal and terrorist ones. Thus, chiefdom theories can help define some basic points of these organizations. So it makes sense to show how such chiefdom-like structures preserve and develop the features of ancient polities. However, these issues require and deserve further study.

Keywords: chiefdom, polity, pre-state polities, chieftaincies, complex polities, stateless societies, A1-Qaeda, ISIL, societal complexity.

Leonid Е. Grinin, is a Russian philosopher of history, sociologist, political anthropologist, economist, and a scholar of historical trends and future studies more

Andrey V. Korotayev, head and Professor of the Laboratory for Monitoring of Sociopolitical Destabilization Risks, National Research University Higher School of Economics more