The concept of surplus captures the politics of production and also conveys the active material means by which people develop the strategies to navigate everyday life. Surplus: The Politics of Production and the Strategies of Everyday Life examines how surpluses affected ancient economies, governments, and households in civilizations across Mesoamerica, the Southwest United States, the Andes, Northern Europe, West Africa, Mesopotamia, and eastern Asia.
A hallmark of archaeological research on sociopolitical complexity, surplus is central to theories of political inequality and institutional finance. This book investigates surplus as a macro-scalar process on which states or other complex political formations depend and considers how past people—differentially positioned based on age, class, gender, ethnicity, role, and goal—produced, modified, and mobilized their social and physical worlds.
Placing the concept of surplus at the forefront of archaeological discussions on production, consumption, power, strategy, and change, this volume reaches beyond conventional ways of thinking about top-down or bottom-up models and offers a comparative framework to examine surplus, generating new questions and methodologies to elucidate the social and political economies of the past.
Contributors include Douglas J. Bolender, James A. Brown, Cathy L. Costin, Kristin De Lucia, Timothy Earle, John E. Kelly, Heather M. L. Miller, Christopher R. Moore, Christopher T. Morehart, Neil L. Norman, Ann B. Stahl, Victor D. Thompson, T. L. Thurston, and E. Christian Wells.