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The Political MachineAssembling Sovereignty in the Bronze Age Caucasus$
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Adam T. Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163239

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163239.001.0001

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The Political Machine in the Late Bronze Age

The Political Machine in the Late Bronze Age

(p.154) Chapter 5 The Political Machine in the Late Bronze Age
The Political Machine

Adam T. Smith

Princeton University Press

In the Late Bronze Age, the polities in the South Caucasus developed a new assemblage directed toward transforming charismatic authority into formal sovereignty. This chapter examines the assembling of this political machine, which drew the civilization and war machines into an extensive apparatus of rule, one that resolved the paradox at the heart of the joint operation of both. This novel political machine did not supersede the war and civilization machines. Rather, the political machine cloaked their contradictions, allowing the relation of the one to the many to persist as a “mystery” of sovereignty. The political machine not only provided the instruments of judicial ordering and bureaucratic regulation but it also transformed the polity itself into an object of devotion, securing not simply the surrender of subjects but their active commitment to the reproduction of sovereignty.

Keywords:   political sovereignty, Late Bronze Age, South Caucasus, political machine

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