By Antonia E. Foias

"An awesome assessment of contemporary scholarship coupled with the result of a long term study undertaking on the website and zone of Motul de San José. It contributes considerably to the anthropological literature on politics and power." --Daniela Triadan, coeditor of Burned Palaces and Elite flats of Aguateca

"A lengthy past due and especially welcome piece of scholarly paintings. It synthesizes, digests, and makes to be had the result of the large growth in political stories within the Maya zone that has happened within the final 20 years due to quick glyph decipherment, elevated archaeological facts, and extra refined theoretical modeling." --Eleanor M. King, Howard University

The learn of politics, a dominating strength all through historical past, gives you nice perception into the lives of historical humans. as a result of richness and complexity of Maya society, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent a long time trying to reconstruct its political systems. 
In Ancient Maya Political Dynamics, Antonia Foias argues that there's no unmarried Maya political historical past yet a number of histories, no unmarried Maya nation yet a number of polities that must be understood on the point of the lived, person adventure. She explores the ways that the dynamics of political energy formed the lives and panorama of the Maya and the way this knowledge can be utilized to examine different complicated societies.

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Particularly as they are constructed through symbolic meanings and movements of the body through space and the landscape” (O’Donovan 2002b, 28; Tilley 1994). Political Power and Sources of Power All theories that attempt to explain the nature of political systems must come to terms with the concept of “power,” which has proven slippery for Political Anthropology, Archaeology, and Ancient Politics · 29 political anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, and philosophers alike (Kurtz 2001; Wolf 1990, 1999; Foucault 1979, 1991; Mann 1986; O’Donovan 2002a).

Charismatic legitimacy is based on special “gifts of the body and spirit” of specific individuals who are generally believed to have supernatural powers and who instill in their audience emotions that convince them to follow the leader’s vision or mission (Gerth and Mills 1960, 245, 296). Traditional legitimacy draws from “an established belief in the sanctity of immemorial traditions and the legitimacy of the status of those exercising authority under them” (Weber 1964, 328). Finally, legal-rational legitimacy is typical of modern states, Political Anthropology, Archaeology, and Ancient Politics · 33 which rely on state bureaucracies and impersonal systems of law that are presumably based on rationality.

3 Although political anthropologists currently center their research on the interstitial arenas between formal political institutions (Vincent 1990), archaeologists have stayed close to the more visible political institutions in their exploration of ancient politics. Thus, the most recent foci of political anthropology have been the fluidity of political power, the heterogeneity and conflictive nature of human societies and political structures, the importance of symbolic ways to negotiate conflicts, and the relational nature of power as it permeates all human relations (Miller and Tilley 1984; Foucault 1978a, 1978b; Wolf 1999; Fleisher and Wynne-Jones 2010; O’Donovan 2002a).

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