Durable inequality in aztec society

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1 Scopus citations


Charles Tilly proposed a model of durable social inequality that is potentially applicable to a wide range of societies. I demonstrate this potential by examining his causal mechanisms of inequality—exploitation, opportunity hoarding, emulation, and adaptation—as they apply to Aztec society immediately prior to the Spanish conquest of 1521. Tilly’s model helps resolve key issues in the analysis of Aztec inequality and class structure. This application exemplifies the utility of Tilly’s model in explaining social inequality in Aztec society and in unraveling causal relationships characteristic of ancient complex societies generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-186
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Anthropological Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • Aztecs
  • Charles Tilly
  • Exploitation
  • Inequality
  • Mesoamerica
  • Stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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