ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From Kin to Class

From Kin to Class R S Sharma From Lineage to State by Romila Thapar; Oxford University Press, Bombay,
THE work starts with an excellent summary and critique of the current anthropological theories regarding the origin of the State. In the process Romila Thapar explains the lineage theory in which elders enjoy authority and better access to resources at the cost of the juniors because of their kin-based seniority. She also clarifies the concept of the householding economy, which means a large, self-sufficient household comprising several small houses, all belonging to the same kin group. The head of the household enjoys power and authority over its members, and also employs labourers not belonging to the kin. It is Thapar's thesis that the Vedic communities, which practised reciprocity and redistribution, were organised on the basis of lineage and householding economy and the development of these institutions led to the formation of the State. The State, on the basis of Lawrence Krader, is understood as a political authority operating with its functionaries within a territory, deriving its income on an impersonal basis, and integrating social segments with different ritual roles and economic functions (p 11).

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