Interdependence among egalitarian societies

Katherine Ann Spielmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Egalitarian societies are rarely entirely self-sufficient for subsistence. The conditions fostering interdependence, however, have yet to be studied systematically. Utilizing ecological models, this research analyses the process by which interdependence involving food resource sharing and exchange develops among egalitarian societies. Two distinct types of interdependence are defined: buffering, which alleviates periodic food shortages, and mutualism, in which complementary foods (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) are exchanged on a regular basis. The utility of these models is then evaluated using ethnographic data. The article concludes with a discussion of the evolutionary trajectories of interdependent egalitarian systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-312
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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