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Title: The bearded man and the pig-tailed women : hierarchy-enacting practices in Late Chalcolithic Mesopotamia
Author: Beckman, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 3166
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2014
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During the Middle to Late Uruk period (ca. 3800-3100 BC) in greater Mesopotamia and its surrounding regions, there emerged for the first time in human history a series of early complex polities. Within these polities human labour was harnessed and consolidated to serve the interests of the proto bureaucratic organisations that governed them. These organisations were controlled by elites who classified society in new hierarchical terms, which both reproduced and legitimated their dominance and power. This thesis examines this phenomenon in three sites in greater Mesopotamia where there was evidence of early complex polity formation: Uruk-Warka, Godin Tepe, and Arslantepe. It considers how the stratification of society in these sites was expressed through "hierarchy-enacting practices" associated with the administrative artefacts used by the proto bureaucratic organisations intent on legitimating elite power. It examines the iconographic representations placed upon the artefacts, the material practices undertaken with them, and the built environment in which they circulated. It asks who or what participated in organisational activities involving the artefacts and where these activities took place, and then situates them within the dominant organisational discourses of that time. This thesis argues that the hierarchy-enacting practices associated with the administrative artefacts used by these proto-bureaucracies led to a hierarchical understanding of society. Administrative artefacts and the spaces in which they operated became sites where interpellation was practised, identity positions were drawn, and subjects were created in the legitimation of new forms of social organisation and power. As such, these practices contributed to the socialisation and stratification of individuals and groups critical to the process of early complex polity formation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available