Chapter 1:
Politics and Economics: Theoretical Perspectives of the Motul de San Jose Project
By Antonia E. Foias and Kitty F. Emery
Abstract: This chapter introduces the theoretical debates within which the archaeological and ecological research of the Motul de San Jose Project was conducted between 1998 and 2003. The project engages the major debates on the dynamics of political structure within the Maya civilization during the Classic period, and locates the research at the intersection between economics and politics. It emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary research, combining archaeological and ecological data. Shifting attention away from the general concepts of centralization vs. decentralization, the Motul de San Jose Project dwells on the internal relationships between political inferiors and superiors, between primary and subsidiary centers, on the development of an administrative cadre (or proto-bureaucracy), and on the nature of economic control by the elite in this small polity of the Central Petn Lakes of northern Guatemala.

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