Social Complexity, Inner Asia, and Pastoral Nomadism

Author: Kradin, Nikolay N.
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 18, Number 2 / September 2019


For many years scholars have interpreted the large polities of pastoral nomads of Inner Asia as having different levels of complexity (pre-state, early state, feudal society, nomadic civilization, etc.). The present article discusses the debates of recent decades within the post-Marxist and postmodern approaches as well as the polemics about the relation between internal and external factors, about the hierarchy and heterarchy, periodization and complexity levels. Many important issues give rise to a new wave of debates. However, there is still no consensus on a number of fundamental issues. We call to a new phase in nomadic studies (nomadology) – the transition from the great theories to the middle-range theories. We also give comments on some articles of the present special section. 

Nikolay N. KradinInstitute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology, Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok more