Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 October 2021
Elite maneuvers from above, to suppress opposition or seize command of the polity, are often overt – for the very purpose of control through shock and awe. But disorder is a word applied to the bubbling up and whispering of those below as, through surreptitious meetings and nascent public protests, grievance turns to action. The appearance of disorder can indicate a variety of rights or capabilities that have been eroded or lost, and the attempt to restore them. Social disorder is not easy to live through; but for those who foment it, it can sometimes signify changes to come. While this phenomenon is in many ways more interesting than overt strategies of control, it is often harder to “see” in the archaeological record. Those with interest are engaged in inventing ways to study this – structurally, materially, and iconographically. Below, we examine some concepts that may help frame future research.