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Reviewing the Territory, Trust, Growth, and Collapse in Classic Period Mayan Kingdoms

Autor:   •  October 27, 2018  •  Essay  •  692 Words (3 Pages)  •  101 Views

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Reviewing the territory, trust, growth, and collapse in Classic Period Mayan kingdoms

Charles Golden and Andrew K. Scherer, "Territory, Trust, Growth, and Collapse in Classic         Period Maya Kingdoms," Current Anthropology 54, no. 4 (August 2013): 397-435.

This article, written by Charles Golden and Andrew K. Scherer, discusses how the same political processes that allowed for the expansion of Mayan cities are the same ones that led to their downfalls. A key component in this transition was population increase throughout the kingdom. The article discusses several problems that this brought up including an increase in distrust between the elites and people of under the monarchy’s rule. The Mayan’s did an excellent job at maintaining trust between its residents, as the population grew this became harder to maintain. As the distrust grew, the Mayan governmental forces were not able to establish new sustainable polities to deal with the situation. Not only do the authors discuss how this took part within the Mayan societies but also how it serves as a model for up and coming nations that will face these similar challenges of maintaining a coherent society.

An understanding of the true meaning of “trust” and a “strong central government” is established at the beginning of the article. Trust is described as existing when “one party to the relation believes the other party has incentive to act in his or her interest or to take his or her interests to heart.” (Golden). The main side effect of trust within a community is when the peoples are “engaged with and morally committed to society and the state beyond such expectations.” (Scherer) When a government is effective in projecting a state of good health, it helps to demonstrate and legitimize their power and willingness to help its residents and community.

 In many cases this is measured by how the elites act towards the everyday people, if they act in their interest it initiates trust, if they act against their interests it initiates distrust and frustration. The Mayan elites and governmental forces did a good job at maintaining an image of good health in the fourth and sixth century AD. As population grew, and control of new land became an uprising concern for the government the needs of everyday people started to become ignored and their trust in the elites started to diminish. This happened during the seventh century AD.

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