IMHICIHU   13380
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
congresos y reuniones científicas
Kinship, Sacred Leadership, and Conditions for the Emergence of the Egyptian State
New York
Conferencia; The Fourth International Conference on Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt; 2011
Institución organizadora:
Metropolitan Museum of Art
In the mid-fourth millennium BC, crucial changes happened in the Nile Valley, leading to the formation of a State society, in which a small group imposes its supremacy based on the legitimate monopoly of coercion. This process takes place in a scenario formerly characterized by communities organized through the social predominance of kinship ties. Given that the logic of kinship impedes the possibility of strong social differentiation inside society, the advent of the State needs a context that transcends kinship networks. In Krakow (2002) and London (2008) colloquia, I considered two Naqada II contexts that could allow propitious conditions for the State emergence –namely, Upper Egyptian conquest wars, and concentration of population in urban nuclei such as Hierakonpolis–, inasmuch as both dynamics could imply new permanent bonds between previously autonomous kin networks. Here I will consider a different context that may also be propitious for the advent of the State: societies with sacred leadership, in which leaders are conceived as de-socialized beings regarding their own communities, and therefore, as external beings regarding the kinship principles. This non-kin condition of sacred leaders allows them to be implied in practices not strictly compatible with the kinship logic: for instance, they can be the only ones in having permanent relations with strangers (fugitives, captives, newcomers), incorporated to the community in a subordinate position. Thus, sacred leaders are into the society but apart from its organizing logic, and this de-socialized condition seems to facilitate the emergence of new practices not ruled by the kinship logic, such as the ones that the State advent implies. Could there have been in Predynastic Nile Valley sacred leaderships as the ones the ethnographers describe in diverse African societies? Inasmuch as the king is directly identified as a god, in some way Egyptian divine kingship can be seen as the paroxysm of such sacred leaderships. To go deep on this issue, this paper proposes a double reflection on the possible evidence about the symbolic status of Predynastic leadership in the Nile Valley, and on the theoretical perspectives that emerge from connecting the nature of sacred leadership to the problem of the origin of the Egyptian State.