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For many archaeologists this quote from Godelier encapsulates one of the main goals of our discipline. The formation of states and cities (one of the elements normally accompanying this form of societal organisation) cannot therefore be limited to the study of individual cases. Whatever the specific differences, these cases may, when interpreted under the light of well-founded hypothetical models, constitute a fundamental part in understanding the intercultural processes in the creation of new hierarchies. However, there is not widespread agreement on how this may take place. For some of our colleagues, the notion of ‘state’ (and perhaps the notion of ‘city’ as well?) is just a ‘Western’ construction, which does not have any significance in many other parts of the world. According to this constructivist point of view, the state simply did not exist in these areas.
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