Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form


Romano, Francisco (2014) CHANGING BASES OF POWER: THE TRANSITION FROM REGIONAL CLASSIC TO RECENT IN THE ALTO MAGDALENA (COLOMBIA). Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

This is the latest version of this item.

Primary Text

Download (6MB) | Preview


Institutionalized social hierarchy has emerged and developed in many places and at different times, taking a variety of different forms in the process. It has been argued that much of the variability to be observed in developing hierarchical societies is attributable to the basis underlying social power. Four main sources of power are often pointed to: political, ideological, economic and military. These sources are not exclusive of each other and can be relied upon in complementary fashion by elites, although special emphasis has been placed on economic and ideological bases of power. Some scholars have strongly advocated the view that economic bases of power have the greatest potential, although these arguments vary in terms of just how far ideologically-based power can carry emerging elites in the consolidation of large-scale, stable, centralized political systems.
Research in the Alto Magdalena deals with the interplay between ideology and economics in the transition from the hierarchical societies of the Regional Classic period (AD 1-900) to those of the Recent period (AD 900-1530). The focus is on Mesitas, the largest and most aggregated central community in the Alto Magdalena, where a sample of high and low status households of the Recent period was excavated so as to compare the kind and degree of economic differentiation between them to that documented for the Regional Classic period in previous research. Household evidence from this dissertation supports that ideology's role as a basis of power decreased and materialistic or economic factors played a larger role in Recent period politics. This transition represented considerable continuity in the hierarchical patterns of social organization that had developed many centuries earlier across the Alto Magdalena. The magnitude of the change in bases of power seems, however, was not as strong as it had been thought, as the accumulation of wealth in the hands of elites, while greater than that seen in the Regional Classic, was still minimal when compared to that seen in early complex societies in a number of other regions.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberBermann, Marc P.bermarc@pitt.eduBERMARC
Committee MemberRichardson III, James
Committee MemberFrechione, Johnjfrech@pitt.eduJFRECH
Committee ChairDrennan, Robert D.drennan@pitt.eduDRENNAN
Date: 3 February 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 26 November 2013
Approval Date: 3 February 2014
Submission Date: 5 December 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 216
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chiefdoms, bases of power, political economies, households, South America, Colombia.
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2014 15:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:16

Available Versions of this Item


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item