Anthro 150

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Submitted By brownawhs
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Anthro 150
Extra Credit Assignment

Archeological and anthropological data and theories have supported the idea that all human societies have developed along a universal “evolutionary” trajectory. Human societies started as small and egalitarian, then transitioned to large and socially complex. This evolution from “foragers” to “states” has paved the way for various theories about the progression of the human race. In Yoffee’s article, “Too Many Chiefs?” he discussed the idea of neo-evolutionism. He describes neo-evolutionism as being a stepladder model of bands turning into tribes, then chiefdoms, and finally states (Yoffee 1993). This model has been used for the past three decades, and has helped archeologists research the early states. Despite its benefits when investigating the rise of early states, this model has been rejected and critiqued by many people. Some anthropologists reject this theory due to their inability to see evolution on one trajectory. Those who reject neo-evolutionism allow for more informative theories of social change and evolution. The idea that all human societies develop along a universal “evolutionary” trajectory can be proved using a new social evolutionary theory discussed in Yoffee’s article, “Too Many Cheifs?”
Yoffee breaks down the key components of the new social evolutionary theory and relates them to neoevolutionism. He shows that while taking the idea of a trajectory into account, the new social evolutionary theory does not rest solely on relation of “types” of archeological domains (Yoffee 1993). An idea that different types of societies can coexist together while all making progress towards a state formation is one that makes much more sense. All groups of people that started as bands and in kinship societies eventually evolved into the state societies we have today. The advancements societies made over time can be seen…...

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