Week 7 Post: The Pillars of the State

It’s not fair to assume that states rose as a direct response of settled agriculture because assigning all of the credit to agriculture doesn’t serve to frame the bigger picture of the changes in thought processing that were taking place overall in modern Homo sapiens in which agriculture is one of them. Still, I see how agriculture could play a significant part in the creation of nation states. It would make sense that more people would settle in one area where their food supply was nearly constant because they would not have to emphasize following the herds they hunted as much as they would previously. Just as many organisms settle and grow in proximity to lasting water sources for drinking water security, the family bands of modern Homo sapiens might have preferred to stay in proximity to lasting food sources (or longer lasting than what they were used to up to then with moving herds). Reproduction in close ranges in bands that aren’t settling in far apart may be sharing spaces and/or running into issues of crowding. In lieu of that, organization by authority figures develops and grows more powerful as they organize more people. These assumptions are most likely problematically linear ways to view what might’ve been, but still a basic enough framework to understand how states might’ve come to be.

Continuing on the general topic of contributions of the state, many cultural artifacts raise questions to me in relation to the settlement and development of bands to states. We see evidence of very intention burial practices. Were bands more likely to stay settled in an area if they buried their dead there? Did they only bury their dead as they traveled or only as they started permanently/semi-permanently settling? Did individuals and bands have a kind of self-awareness that would want to make them distinguishable from others (similar to how we have the concepts of race, ethnicity, and nationality)? Were their models of artistic expression work of specialized workers, joint efforts between many band members across growing states, or something else? I believe that it is these decisions, the presence of planning and intention that gave way to the rise of culture. After all, culture as we know it today is a collection of attitudes and practices shared among communities. As bands/communities are widely sharing attitudes and practices in shared spaces, they are contributing to the “construction” of their state so to speak. Agriculture, religious/spiritual practices (ex. burials), and artistic expression are constructed pillars that build what we know as the state.

2 thoughts on “Week 7 Post: The Pillars of the State

  1. Something I found very interesting about your blog is your first sentence. The idea that ‘its not fair to assume’. Why do you say that? The way I see it is that all evidence points in that direction. Yes, in time things were going to change but i believe it made it happen faster. Do think that the changes  would have happen that fast if it wasn’t for agriculture? What’s holding you back from saying that agriculture was the cause of the state rising? I like your viewpoint because your disagreeing with what everybody else is going for. 

    Another thing I like about you blog is the way you set it up. I never really seen nobody actually ask questions in their first blog. I think it show that there still needs to be questions asked about current situations in the text. You also asked a lot of good questions. 

    Another thing that caught my attention is when you said “I believe that it is these decisions…that gave way to the rise of culture”. I think it could go either way. I believe that all this lines up with the emerge of agriculture. It all came from the emerge of agriculture built into more.

  2. I really liked your blog post! For the last blog entry of the class this session, it was very well organized and your ideas and opinions were very well put. I do think it is interesting how you put that “it’s not fair to assume”. It is an interesting idea, although I believe your next few lines help support that the agricultural revolution did lead to the formation of city states and “civilization” for modern humans. I think it would be even more interesting to hear why you do not fully believe in the idea and what led you to the thought that agriculture did not directly lead to the formation of ancient states. I do like all the questions you asked and what good questions they were, as all great scientists ask plenty of questions on the topics they research, and feel like these are questions you should further look up or even ask Dr. Watrall!
    Overall I really enjoyed your post, and I applaud you for not only taking a different standpoint on this week’s journal question, but also for formulating questions and organizing your viewpoints so well. I do not think I have seen anybody ask questions in their blogs and certainly not as well put as yours.

Leave a Reply