Archaeology has long sublimated an account of the political into a series of proxy concepts such as cities, civilizations, chiefdoms, and states. Recently, however, the archaeology of political association has been revitalized by efforts to forward a systematic account of the political, attentive to the creation and maintenance of sovereignty in practical negotiations between variously formalized authorities and a publically specified community of subjects. This new, and largely inchoate, archaeology of sovereignty has pushed the field to attend to the practical production of political regimes and the material mediations that articulate authorities and subjects. This review is intended to highlight the latent principles that draw this dispersed literature into a shared archaeological concern with sovereignty by sketching the intellectual crises that created the space for its emergence and the key concepts that orient current research. Taken together, the works discussed here point to a new concern with the dynamics of authorization and subjection across a wide range of political practices.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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