Nineteenth-century evolutionary historical schemas formulated in Gemeinschaft-Gesellschaft, or status to contract terms, which underpin theories of modernization and development in the contemporary social sciences, are now called into serious question. Recent archaeological discoveries show ancient society to have been preeminently contractual; and anthropological studies of family, clan, and tribe reveal them to be more than primordial relics in modernizing systems. A careful reading of the ancient writers—particularly Aristotle, who was read as lending support to the Gemeinschaft-Gesellschaft distinction—yields a very different picture, as Marx in fact appreciated. Family, clan, tribe, patron-client, friendship, and other affinal sets were constitutive of the ancient society of the polis, and have shown extraordinary durability in the modern political society of the Mediterranean basin. In the small-scale, urban, entrepreneurial, and commercial society of the Mediterranean polis, ancient and modern, which was characterized by a high degree of face-to-face interaction, people learned participation in the plethora of little-incorporated societies—familial, religious, cultic, and recreational.