Skip to main content
Contribution to Book
Networks, Cores, and Peripheries: New Frontiers in Interaction Studies
The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology (2012)
  • Edward schortman
  • Patricia Urban, Kenyon College
The terms "core," periphery," and "frontier" conjure up spatial distinctions correlated with divisions among societies based on size, economic organization, and power. Leaders of core states are generally presumed to dominate developments within the smaller, poorer, less powerful societies arrayed around them. Territorial distinctions thus have important behavioral consequences. How those outcomes are understood depends heavily on the theoretical framework in which cores, frontiers, and peripheries are modeled. This article reviews the most prominent of these conceptual structures and the mechanisms of intersocietal interaction that they highlight (diffusion, trade, exploitation, and hybridity). It calls for a new appraoch to the study of cores, peripheries, and frontiers that does not presupposed the existence of these entities and the nature of interregional interactions generally.
  • core,
  • periphery,
  • frontier,
  • territory,
  • intersocietal interaction,
  • diffusion,
  • trade,
  • exploitation,
  • hybridity
Publication Date
September, 2012
Deborah L. Nichols
Citation Information
Edward schortman and Patricia Urban. "Networks, Cores, and Peripheries: New Frontiers in Interaction Studies" The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology (2012)
Available at: