Archaeologists and other social scientists have long argued that exercising power is a relational process. One way of modeling these relations is to see them as organized within social networks through which the resources needed to exert power in all its forms flow differentially. Two approaches to describing these interactions and understanding their political implications are particularly salient in the literature. One perspective draws from graph theory to describe how people's positions in established network structures affect their political aspirations and achievements. The other sees social nets as outcomes of strategies employed by actors seeking to define and achieve political goals within structural constraints. The advantages and limitations of these viewpoints are briefly reviewed, along with their implications for understanding past political processes.


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