Paleolithic Politics: The Human Community in Early Art (The Beginning and the Beyond of Politics)

December 9, 2020
Paleolithic Politics: The Human Community in Early Art (The Beginning and the Beyond of Politics)

Using his background in political theory and philosophicalanthropology, Barry Cooper is the first political scientist topropose new interpretations of some of the most famous extantPaleolithic art and artifacts in Paleolithic Politics.This book is inspired by Eric Voegelin, one of the major politicalscientists of the last century, who developed an interest in thevery early symbolism associated with the caves and rock shelters ofthe Upper Paleolithic, but never finished his analysis. Cooper, whohas written extensively on Voegelin’s theories, takes up theenterprise of applying Voegelin’s approach to an analysis ofportable and cave art. He specifically applies Voegelin’sphilosophy of consciousness, his concept of the compactness anddifferentiation of consciousness, his argument regarding theexperience and symbolizations of reality, and his notion of theprimary experience of the cosmos to images previously regarded aspedestrian. Cooper demonstrates the political significance of theearliest expressions of human existence and is among the first toargue that political life began not with the Greeks, but 25,000years before them. Archaeologists, prehistorians, and politicalscientists will all benefit from this original and provocativework.