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Matrilocality, Corporate Strategy, and the Organization of Production in the Chacoan World

Peter N. Peregrine
American Antiquity
Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 36-46
DOI: 10.2307/2694316
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2694316
Page Count: 11
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Matrilocality, Corporate Strategy, and the Organization of Production in the Chacoan World
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Abstract

Kinship is central to an understanding of sociopolitical organization and the organization of production in Chaco Canyon. Between A.D. 700 and 900, lifeways in the Chacoan world underwent a transformation that reflects the evolution of matrilocal residence. Matrilocal groups became the foundation of a polity based on a corporate political strategy. Matrilocality provided the peoples of the Chaco region a social structure in which women were able to form stable agricultural communities while men were freed to take part in long-distance resource procurement and trade. Leaders mobilized goods from across the polity for corporate-affirming activities, such as construction of great houses. This corporate strategy is evident in an examination of turquoise production. The production of turquoise ornaments was diffuse and uncontrolled, but the consumption of turquoise, at least in Chaco Canyon, was highly centralized. This is what we would expect to see in a polity operating within a corporate strategy.

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