Mesoamerican States and Empires

Gary M. Feinman

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Mesoamerican States and Empires

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This article discusses the rise and historical dynamics of Mesoamerican states, the economic underpinnings of Mesoamerican states, and Mesoamerican statecraft and its diversity. Prehispanic Mesoamerican states were far from uniform over time and space, varying in both size and degree of political centralization. Whether (and how) the corpus of ancient Mesoamerican polities stands out from the preindustrial states in other global regions remains to be determined. Yet the macroregion's somewhat limited technological toolkit may have underpinned Mesoamerica's generally and comparatively small polity sizes as well as the development of sophisticated socioeconomic and ideological mechanisms that fostered interpersonal integration and collective action as opposed to strictly autocratic means of wielding power.

Keywords: Mesoamerica; statecraft; political centralization; interpersonal integration; collective action; autocracy

Article.  5669 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Historical Archaeology

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