Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Main Attributes of State


As food-producing economies spread and became more productive, chiefdoms and eventually states developed in many parts of the world.A state is a form of social and political organization that has a formal central government and a division of society into classes.

The first states developed in Mesopotamia by 5500 chiefdoms were precursors to states with privileged and effective leaders-chiefs but lacking the sharp class divisions that characterize states.By 7000 in the Middle East there is evidence for an elite level indicating a chiefdom or a state.

The complexity of the  division of social and economic labor tended to grow as food production spread and intensified.Systems of political authority and control typically develop to handle regulatory problems encountered as the population grows and the economy increases in scale and diversity.Competition,including warfare among chiefdoms for territory and resources also can stimulate state formation.

Anthropologists have identified the causes of state formation and reconstructed the rise of several states.A systemic perspective  recognizes that multiple factors always contribute to state formation with the effects of one highlighting over the other.

Main Attributes of States

A state controls a specific regional territory such as Nile Valley or Valley of Mexico. The regional expanse of a state contrasts with the much smaller territories controlled by the kin groups and villages in prestate societies. Early states were expansionist they arose from competition among chiefdoms as the most powerful chiefdom conquered others extended its rule over a larger territory and managed to hold on it and rule the land and people acquired through conquest.

Each state had productive farming economies supporting dense populations often in cities.The agricultural economies of early states usually involved some form of water control or irrigation.

Each state used tribute and taxation to accumulate at a central place,resources needed to support population.

State had stratified into social classes.In the first states the non food producing population consisted  of a tiny elite ,artisans,officials,priests etc.Most people were commoners.Rulers stayed in power by combining personal ability,religious authority,economic control and force.

Each state had imposing public buildings and architecture including temples,palaces and storehouses.

Each state developed some form of record keeping or a written script.

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