Chapter

Local Political Economy

Kurt A. Jordan

in The Seneca Restoration, 1715–1754

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032511
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039428 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813032511.003.0002
Local Political Economy

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During the initial centuries of Native American-European engagement, political-economic conditions in Indian country shifted dramatically from decade to decade, and frequently over even shorter periods. Postcolumbian Iroquois history, for example, supplies numerous examples of abrupt disjunctions in military rivalries, the availability of firearms, suppliers, and types of trade goods, and geographical sources of furs. These and other political-economic discontinuities had profound effects on the local decisions about labor allocation and use of space that are reflected in the site-level archaeological record. This chapter proposes that the archaeology of Postcolumbian American Indians must resist disciplinary tendencies in archaeology and history that channel research to either the macro- or microscale, and instead must concentrate research on an intermediate spatial and temporal scale that can facilitate assessment of the disjunctions that took place in specific periods. It advocates a contrasting focus on local political economy, or the political-economic organization of particular localities during relatively brief swaths of time. It offers a set of guideposts to analytical scales and methods of investigation that can help archaeologists of Postcolumbian Native American sites reconstruct the political economies of specific localities.

Keywords: Native American-European engagement; political-economic conditions; Iroquois; archaeology; history; Postcolumbian American Indians

Chapter.  8655 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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