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Leaders, Farmers, and Crafters: The Relationship between Leading Households and Households across the Chan Community

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Article of journalRobin, Cynthia; Kosakowsky, Laura; Keller, Angela; Meierhoff, James. (Northwestern University, Department of Anthropology, Evanston, Estados Unidos; University of Arizona, School of Anthropology, Tucson, Estados Unidos; AECOM, Ontario, Estados Unidos; University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Anthropology, Estados Unidos). Leaders, Farmers, and Crafters: The Relationship between Leading Households and Households across the Chan CommunityIn  Households Make History in Ancient Mesoamerica Ancient Mesoamerica, 2014 vol. 25 no. 2 p. 371-387. Keywords:
Central America
Pre-hispanic period


Households, communities, and society exist in a mutually constituting relationship, shaping and being shaped by one another. Daily life within households can have political dimensions and affect societal organization. Research at the Maya farming community of Chan in Belize demonstrates how households shaped their lives, history, and politics for 2,000 years (800 b.c.–a.d. 1200). We examine the households of Chan's leaders and the social, economic, political, and religious relationships between leading households and other households across the community to show how novel forms of political practice arose through household interaction. Community leaders and households across the community developed community-focused ritual practices and group-oriented social, economic, ideological, and political strategies that were critical in the development of their community, were distinctive from normative individual-focused political practices of the Classic Maya kings, and may have influenced the later development of more diverse political strategies in the Maya area in the Postclassic period.

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