Date of Award

1-1-2009

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Gail E. Wagner

Abstract

Mississippian society had a hierarchical structure of capital distribution and leadership. The construction of ceremonial space in the Mississippian built environment was used in the production and maintenance of inequality, and was constructed at multiple scales that reflected Mississippian ideology. The repetitive structure constructed across the landscape reinforced the Mississippian religious idea of inequality of space. Elites benefited from the inequality of space by maintaining control over the symbolically important spaces that allowed elites to control access not only to sacred spaces but also to knowledge. Access to sacred space and knowledge were two means of producing symbolic capital. By limiting access to symbolic capital to an elite minority, elites maintained the symbolic power needed to rule the community by consent. In this thesis I examine two Mississippian towns to demonstrate how the construction of ceremonial space was used in the production and maintenance of inequality.

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