Civilisation before the State

27 January 2014

David Wengrow speaking at the Engelsberg Seminar 2013

David Wengrow was invited to participate in the prestigious Engelsberg Seminar in Sweden last year from which a TV interview has recently been made available.

The Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation's Engelsberg Seminar is a forum for promoting independent discussion of practical and spiritual matters of importance to Swedish society and culture, and promotes Sweden's ongoing contribution to international, interdisciplinary humanist debate.

The theme of the 2013 seminar was Civilisation and David gave a presentation on 'Civilisation before the State', giving an archaeological perspective on the topic of civilisation to an audience of prominent social scientists, historians, journalists, and politicians.

In the associated TV interview David explores issues such as: How egalitarian were early hunter-gatherers really? Does living in cities necessarily imply submission to some kind of top-down government? How can we identify forms of resistance to centralised government in the remote past? And why has the concept of 'civilisation' been so closely linked to the concept of 'the state'?