This chapter focuses on the late second and early first millennia bce, a period in which, according to many scholars, societies throughout the Eurasian steppe underwent meaningful changes (e.g., Hanks 2002: 183; Khazanov 1984: 92-93; Renfrew 2002: 4-7), and addresses models for social, political, and cultural change in frontier zones. Theories addressing socio-political change can be classified into two types: indigenous and exogenous. Indigenous theories see change as evolving through processes such as competition or cooperation among local individuals and groups and their interaction with the local environment. Exogenous theories attribute change, including the development of socio-political complexity, to forces outside the local communities. Such forces can be human-derived - large scale migrations, for example - but also natural, such as climatic changes. Although external and internal processes are not mutually exclusive, the intellectual traditions in which models evolved to explain socio-political change in prehistoric societies commonly make them seem that way. Introduction Nowhere is the blend of external and internal dimensions of change more evident than in the Eurasian steppe, where contacts among societies were frequent but where unique local cultures, adaptations, and hierarchies evolved since at least the third millennium bce. This is especially true at the frontier zones of this large region: areas in which intensive interactions took place between societies with different economic strategies, ideologies, and cultural attributes.
|Original language||American English|
|Title of host publication||Social Complexity in Prehistoric Eurasia|
|Subtitle of host publication||Monuments, Metals, and Mobility|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||31|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2009|
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© Cambridge University Press 2009 and 2010.