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[Manifestations de l'Ifao] :
The Emergence of Egyptian State: Kinship and Social Interstices
Marcelo Campagno (University of Buenos Aires)
In the mid-fourth millennium BC, crucial changes occurred in the Nile Valley, leading to the formation of a state society, in which a small group imposes its supremacy based on the legitimate monopoly of coercion. This process takes place in a scenario formerly characterized by communities probably organized through the social predominance of kinship ties. Given that the logic of kinship prevents the possibility of strong social differentiation within the society, the advent of the state requires a context that transcends kinship networks.
In this sense, it is interesting to notice that the logic of kinship produces a kind of discrete social groups, in mutual contrast with other groups organized around similar criteria. The coexistence of various kinship networks also implies the existence of interstitial spaces –that is, extra-kinship spaces− between these networks, and these spaces can be propitious realms for the emergence of practices that evade kinship principles. Three kinds of interstitial spaces will be considered: the importance of warfare in Upper Egypt, the role of early urban contexts and the status of Predynastic leaders in the Nile Valley.