Circumscription Theory of the Origins of the State: A Cross-Cultural Re-analysis

Cliodynamics Vol/Iss. 7(2) University of California Riverside, CA Published In Pages: 187-203
By Zinkina, Julia, Korotayev, Andrey V., Andreev, Alexey


In this article, the authors reevaluate Carneiro's (1970) circumscription theory of state formation. They do this by examining relationships between the degree of political hierarchy and whether warfare is conducted for conquest, land acquisition, or plunder. While they find evidence that this theory is plausible in some situations, there is not enough to support the theory wholesale. Thus, they suggest that other theories of state formation should be investigated.

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