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After neo-evolutionism, how does one talk about the pre-modern state? Over the past two decades archaeological research has shifted decisively from check-list identifications of the state as an evolutionary type to studies of how power and authority were constituted in specific polities. Developing Gramsci's concept of hegemony, this book provides an accessible discussion of general principles that serve to help us understand and organise these new directions in archaeological research. Throughout this book, conceptual issues are illustrated by means of case studies drawn from Madagascar, Mesopotamia, the Inca, the Maya and Greece.