State level societies are a type of “class society [that] are often rigidly stratified into social levels, [where] the ruling class controls the populace not by consensus but by coercion and force” (Feder, 344 - 45). This society type is a form of government, structured with rules and regulations, including punishments for disobedience. There are many causes for a society to gradually transition into becoming a state level or more stratified society. Those of which will be briefly discussed throughout this short essay.
Two major causes that often intertwine that are imperative for a society to become a state leveled society are agriculture and specialization. As a societies population density increased, and specializations among the populace started to become more evident, there was great need for an increase in agricultural production. With the creation of monumental works, came the necessity of specializations among the population. However, with specializations abundant, and populations growing and encouraged to continue to grow to support the demands of a new state society, the lack of food could have been devastating to a society built on the foundations of stratification, specializations, and monumental works of mass importance. In a civilization based on a state society, agriculture would have been heavily relied upon. There was a great need for food production, and in a state society there were always a select few to be involved in the sole production of food. This allowed for state level civilizations that rely on mass agricultural production “in which the few [were] able to feed the many… [and in which] their production of a food surplus that [is] distributed [among the populace allows] for other members of society to engage in other [specializations]” (Feder, 345).
Overall, there is an evident cause and effect tied to the creation, achievements and survival to state level societies. Without the many specializations and agricultural production increase, there would have been most certainly no necessarily plausible way for the many monumental works to have been created. Societies based upon state levels, such as Egypt, could simply not have produced such amazing feats of architecture and symbolic power shown within their great monuments. The effect of a state level society is simple and yet complex, it takes many to accomplish great things.
1. According to archaeologist Joseph Tainter “complex societies are problem solving organizations… [and] when complex societies can’t or simply refuse to come up with solutions to internal or external challenges” (Feder, 456), therein lies the potential beginning of a societal...