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The water, the sand and the folk: understanding the role of water in the social life of the oasis-cities of Shan Shan Kingdom

Kasper Hanus

Abstract

The dissertation presents the complex relations between the political system and water management of the ancient Shan Shan Kingdom (which flourished in contemporary the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China). The research revolves around verification and refinement of the model of relations of power, which is inspired by “hydraulic societies” theory, proposed by Karl Wittfogel. The model has been based on the premise that the administrative apparatus maintained the political power by providing water security to the general population. Verification of the model is centred on archaeological and historical sources, with a special focus on very high-resolution satellite imagery. The research indicated that the society of the Shan Shan Kingdom had a political organization with was centred around providing social stability. This might be caused by the common understanding, shared by the elites and the commoners, that any period of social strife could lead to catastrophic failure of the water management system. Such negligence of the hydraulic infrastructure would be catastrophic for the society as the whole because without access to water (for both households and agriculture), sustaining populous oases would be impossible.
Record ID
UAM85b0c0f3e8e14edf90a9d1b659f706cd
Diploma type
Doctor of Philosophy
Author
Title in Polish
Opowieść o wodzie, piasku i ludziach: rola wody w życiu społecznym miast-oaz Królestwa Szan Szan
Title in English
The water, the sand and the folk: understanding the role of water in the social life of the oasis-cities of Shan Shan Kingdom
Language
eng (en) English
Certifying Unit
Wydział Archeologii [nowa struktura organizacyjna] (SNH/WyA)
Scientific discipline (2.0)
1.1 archaeology
Year of creation
2021
Start date
2018
Defense Date
04-01-2021
Title date
04-01-2021
Supervisor
Pages
261
URL
https://hdl.handle.net/10593/25957 Opening in a new tab
Keywords in English
relations of power; water management; water security; Inner Asia; Tarim Basin
Abstract in English
The dissertation presents the complex relations between the political system and water management of the ancient Shan Shan Kingdom (which flourished in contemporary the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China). The research revolves around verification and refinement of the model of relations of power, which is inspired by “hydraulic societies” theory, proposed by Karl Wittfogel. The model has been based on the premise that the administrative apparatus maintained the political power by providing water security to the general population. Verification of the model is centred on archaeological and historical sources, with a special focus on very high-resolution satellite imagery. The research indicated that the society of the Shan Shan Kingdom had a political organization with was centred around providing social stability. This might be caused by the common understanding, shared by the elites and the commoners, that any period of social strife could lead to catastrophic failure of the water management system. Such negligence of the hydraulic infrastructure would be catastrophic for the society as the whole because without access to water (for both households and agriculture), sustaining populous oases would be impossible.

Uniform Resource Identifier
https://researchportal.amu.edu.pl/info/phd/UAM85b0c0f3e8e14edf90a9d1b659f706cd/
URN
urn:amu-prod:UAM85b0c0f3e8e14edf90a9d1b659f706cd

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