Social Science

The Collapse of Complex Societies

Author: Joseph Tainter

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521386739

Category: Social Science

Page: 250

View: 8751

Dr Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than 2000 years of explanations. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory.


How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive

Author: Jared Diamond

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141976969

Category: History

Page: 608

View: 8038

From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive is a visionary study of the mysterious downfall of past civilizations. Now in a revised edition with a new afterword, Jared Diamond's Collapse uncovers the secret behind why some societies flourish, while others founder - and what this means for our future. What happened to the people who made the forlorn long-abandoned statues of Easter Island? What happened to the architects of the crumbling Maya pyramids? Will we go the same way, our skyscrapers one day standing derelict and overgrown like the temples at Angkor Wat? Bringing together new evidence from a startling range of sources and piecing together the myriad influences, from climate to culture, that make societies self-destruct, Jared Diamond's Collapse also shows how - unlike our ancestors - we can benefit from our knowledge of the past and learn to be survivors. 'A grand sweep from a master storyteller of the human race' Daily Mail 'Riveting, superb, terrifying' Observer 'Gripping ... the book fulfils its huge ambition, and Diamond is the only man who could have written it' Economist 'This book shines like all Diamond's work' Sunday Times Jared Diamond (b. 1937) is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. Until recently he was Professor of Physiology at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies, which also is the winner of Britain's 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.
Technology & Engineering

Drilling Down

The Gulf Oil Debacle and Our Energy Dilemma

Author: Joseph A. Tainter,Tadeusz W. Patzek

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9781441976772

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 242

View: 4685

For more than a century, oil has been the engine of growth for a society that delivers an unprecedented standard of living to many. We now take for granted that economic growth is good, necessary, and even inevitable, but also feel a sense of unease about the simultaneous growth of complexity in the processes and institutions that generate and manage that growth. As societies grow more complex through the bounty of cheap energy, they also confront problems that seem to increase in number and severity. In this era of fossil fuels, cheap energy and increasing complexity have been in a mutually-reinforcing spiral. The more energy we have and the more problems our societies confront, the more we grow complex and require still more energy. How did our demand for energy, our technological prowess, the resulting need for complex problem solving, and the end of easy oil conspire to make the Deepwater Horizon oil spill increasingly likely, if not inevitable? This book explains the real causal factors leading up to the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, a disaster from which it will take decades to recover.

Beyond Collapse

Archaeological Perspectives on Resilience, Revitalization, and Transformation in Complex Societies

Author: Ronald K. Faulseit

Publisher: SIU Press

ISBN: 0809333996

Category: History

Page: 532

View: 5366

New approaches to collapsed complex societies. The Maya. The Romans. The great dynasties of ancient China. It is generally believed that these once mighty empires eventually crumbled and disappeared. A recent trend in archaeology, however, focusing on what happened during and after the decline of once powerful regimes has found social resilience and transformation instead of collapse. In Beyond Collapse: Archaeological Perspectives on Resilience, Revitalization, and Transformation in Complex Societies, editor Ronald K. Faulseit gathers scholars with diverse theoretical perspectives to interpret how ancient civilizations responded to various stresses, including environmental change, warfare, and the fragmentation of political institutions. Contributors discuss not only what makes societies collapse but also why some societies are resilient and others are not, as well as how societies reorganize after collapse. Putting in context issues we face today, such as climate change, social diversity, and the failure of modern states, Beyond Collapse is an essential volume for readers interested in humanenvironment interaction and in the collapse--and subsequent reorganization--of human societies.

Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall

Why States Rise and Fall

Author: Peter Turchin

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400889316

Category: History

Page: 264

View: 3937

Many historical processes are dynamic. Populations grow and decline. Empires expand and collapse. Religions spread and wither. Natural scientists have made great strides in understanding dynamical processes in the physical and biological worlds using a synthetic approach that combines mathematical modeling with statistical analyses. Taking up the problem of territorial dynamics--why some polities at certain times expand and at other times contract--this book shows that a similar research program can advance our understanding of dynamical processes in history. Peter Turchin develops hypotheses from a wide range of social, political, economic, and demographic factors: geopolitics, factors affecting collective solidarity, dynamics of ethnic assimilation/religious conversion, and the interaction between population dynamics and sociopolitical stability. He then translates these into a spectrum of mathematical models, investigates the dynamics predicted by the models, and contrasts model predictions with empirical patterns. Turchin's highly instructive empirical tests demonstrate that certain models predict empirical patterns with a very high degree of accuracy. For instance, one model accounts for the recurrent waves of state breakdown in medieval and early modern Europe. And historical data confirm that ethno-nationalist solidarity produces an aggressively expansive state under certain conditions (such as in locations where imperial frontiers coincide with religious divides). The strength of Turchin's results suggests that the synthetic approach he advocates can significantly improve our understanding of historical dynamics.
Social Science

Why Did Ancient Civilizations Fail?

Author: Scott A J Johnson

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1315512874

Category: Social Science

Page: 308

View: 5771

Ideas abound as to why certain complex societies collapsed in the past, including environmental change, subsistence failure, fluctuating social structure and lack of adaptability. Why Did Ancient Civilizations Fail? evaluates the current theories in this important topic and discusses why they offer only partial explanations of the failure of past civilizations. This engaging book offers a new theory of collapse, that of social hubris. Through an examination of Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Roman, Maya, Inca, and Aztec societies, Johnson persuasively argues that hubris blinded many ancient peoples to evidence that would have allowed them to adapt, and he further considers how this has implications for contemporary societies. Comprehensive and well-written, this volume serves as an ideal text for undergraduate courses on ancient complex societies, as well as appealing to the scholar interested in societal collapse.

Understanding Collapse

Author: Guy D. Middleton

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 110715149X

Category: History

Page: 300

View: 7749

In this lively survey, Guy D. Middleton critically examines our ideas about collapse - how we explain it and how we have constructed potentially misleading myths around collapses - showing how and why collapse of societies was a much more complex phenomenon than is often admitted.
Social Science

After Collapse

The Regeneration of Complex Societies

Author: Glenn M. Schwartz,John J. Nichols

Publisher: University of Arizona Press

ISBN: 9780816529360

Category: Social Science

Page: 295

View: 7890

From the Euphrates Valley to the southern Peruvian Andes, early complex societies have risen and fallen, but in some cases they have also been reborn. Prior archaeological investigation of these societies has focused primarily on emergence and collapse. This is the first book-length work to examine the question of how and why early complex urban societies have reappeared after periods of decentralization and collapse. Ranging widely across the Near East, the Aegean, East Asia, Mesoamerica, and the Andes, these cross-cultural studies expand our understanding of social evolution by examining how societies were transformed during the period of radical change now termed Òcollapse.Ó They seek to discover how societal complexity reemerged, how second-generation states formed, and how these re-emergent states resembled or differed from the complex societies that preceded them. The contributors draw on material culture as well as textual and ethnohistoric data to consider such factors as preexistent institutions, structures, and ideologies that are influential in regeneration; economic and political resilience; the role of social mobility, marginal groups, and peripheries; and ethnic change. In addition to presenting a number of theoretical viewpoints, the contributors also propose reasons why regeneration sometimes does not occur after collapse. A concluding contribution by Norman Yoffee provides a critical exegesis of ÒcollapseÓ and highlights important patterns found in the case histories related to peripheral regions and secondary elites, and to the ideology of statecraft. After Collapse blazes new research trails in both archaeology and the study of social change, demonstrating that the archaeological record often offers more clues to the Òdark agesÓ that precede regeneration than do text-based studies. It opens up a new window on the past by shifting the focus away from the rise and fall of ancient civilizations to their often more telling fall and rise. CONTRIBUTORS Bennet Bronson, Arlen F. Chase, Diane Z. Chase, Christina A. Conlee, Lisa Cooper, Timothy S. Hare, Alan L. Kolata, Marilyn A. Masson, Gordon F. McEwan, Ellen Morris, Ian Morris, Carlos Peraza Lope, Kenny Sims, Miriam T. Stark, Jill A. Weber, Norman Yoffee
Social Science

Questioning Collapse

Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire

Author: Patricia A. McAnany,Norman Yoffee

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107717329

Category: Social Science

Page: 390

View: 2231

Questioning Collapse challenges those scholars and popular writers who advance the thesis that societies - past and present - collapse because of behavior that destroyed their environments or because of overpopulation. In a series of highly accessible and closely argued essays, a team of internationally recognized scholars bring history and context to bear in their radically different analyses of iconic events, such as the deforestation of Easter Island, the cessation of the Norse colony in Greenland, the faltering of nineteenth-century China, the migration of ancestral peoples away from Chaco Canyon in the American southwest, the crisis and resilience of Lowland Maya kingship, and other societies that purportedly 'collapsed'. Collectively, these essays demonstrate that resilience in the face of societal crises, rather than collapse, is the leitmotif of the human story from the earliest civilizations to the present. Scrutinizing the notion that Euro-American colonial triumphs were an accident of geography, Questioning Collapse also critically examines the complex historical relationship between race and political labels of societal 'success' and 'failure'.
Literary Criticism

Myths of the Archaic State

Evolution of the Earliest Cities, States, and Civilizations

Author: Norman Yoffee

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521521567

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 277

View: 510

Classical archaeology promotes the view that a state's evolution reflects general, universal forces. Norman Yoffee challenges the model in this book by presenting more complex and multi-linear models for the evolution of civilizations. Yoffee questions the definition of the prehistoric state, particularly that which heralds "the chiefdom" as the forerunner of the ancient state and explores case studies on the role of women in ancient societies.


Author: Michael W. Doyle

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 9780801493348

Category: History

Page: 407

View: 8910

Biography & Autobiography

I Dreamed the Animals

Kaniuekutat: The Life of an Innu Hunter

Author: Kaneuketat,Georg Henriksen

Publisher: Berghahn Books

ISBN: 1845454898

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 336

View: 2570

This is Kaniuekutats book. In it he is telling his story, primarily addressed to his descendants, about his own life, but even more so about Innu culture in the northern parts of Labrador. The pages of this book are filled with the voice of Kaniuekutat giving his version of what it is like to be an Innu hunter, and a personal account of the problems and distress that have followed from sedentarization and village life. Kaniuekutat invites us to see Innu society and culture from the inside, the way he lives it and reflects upon it. He was greatly concerned about the possibility that the young Innu may loose their traditional culture and the skills necessary to make a living as hunters in nutshimit, in the country, and wanted to convey a message: the Innu must take care of their language, their culture and their traditions.

Ancient Complex Societies

Author: Jennifer C. Ross,Sharon R. Steadman

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISBN: 1315305623

Category: HISTORY

Page: 440

View: 5361

Ancient Complex Societies examines the archaeological evidence for the rise and functioning of politically and socially “complex” cultures in antiquity. Particular focus is given to civilizations exhibiting positions of leadership, social and administrative hierarchies, emerging and already developed complex religious systems, and economic differentiation. Case studies are drawn from around the globe, including Asia, the Mediterranean region, and the American continents. Using case studies from Africa, Polynesia, and North America, discussion is dedicated to identifying what “complex” means and when it should be applied to ancient systems. Each chapter attempts to not only explore the sociopolitical and economic elements of ancient civilizations, but to also present an overview of what life was like for the later population within each system, sometimes drilling down to individual people living their daily lives. Throughout the chapters, the authors address problems with the idea of complexity, the incomparability of cultures, and the inconsistency of archaeological and historical evidence in reconstructing ancient cultures.


The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change

Author: William Robert Catton

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 9780252009884

Category: Science

Page: 298

View: 8268

Business & Economics

The Five Stages of Collapse

Survivors' Toolkit

Author: Dmitry Orlov

Publisher: New Society Publishers

ISBN: 155092527X

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 288

View: 9678

A user's guide to economic, political, social and cultural collapse.
Social Science

Complex Communities

The Archaeology of Early Iron Age West-Central Jordan

Author: Benjamin W. Porter

Publisher: University of Arizona Press

ISBN: 0816530327

Category: Social Science

Page: 203

View: 6108

Introduction: the persistence of community -- Communal complexity on the margins -- Measuring social complexity in the early iron age -- Producing community -- Managing community -- Conclusion: the complex community.
Social Science

Rome and the Classic Maya

Comparing the Slow Collapse of Civilizations

Author: Rebecca Storey,Glenn R Storey

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1315309394

Category: Social Science

Page: 292

View: 9986

This volume compares two of the most famous cases of civilizational collapse, that of the Roman Empire and the Classic Maya world. First examining the concept of collapse, and how it has been utilized in the historical, archaeological and anthropological study of past complex societies, Storey and Storey draw on extensive archaeological evidence to consider the ultimate failure of the institutions, infrastructure and material culture of both of these complex cultures. Detailing the relevant economic, political, social and environmental factors behind these notable falls, Rome and the Classic Maya contends that a phenomenon of “slow collapse” has repeatedly occurred in the course of human history: complex civilizations are shown to eventually come to an end and give way to new cultures. Through their analysis of these two ancient case studies, the authors also present intriguing parallels to the modern world and offer potential lessons for the future.
Social Science

Seducing Ourselves

Understanding Public Denial in a Declining Complex Society

Author: Donna L. Armstrong, Ph.d.,Donna L Armstrong Ph D

Publisher: CreateSpace

ISBN: 9781495933134

Category: Social Science

Page: 250

View: 8720

Our large human brains evolved some 1.8 million years ago to facilitate social cohesion in small groups, supporting higher-order thinking as well as emotional cooperation as a survival strategy. But when written symbolic language, which developed as a result of agriculture and complexity, made possible the abstract group identity known as “the public,” we were seduced by collective support of the public identity to engage in environmentally maladaptive group “fictive play.” In Seducing Ourselves, you will encounter a wide range of intriguing concepts and ideas concerning complex societies, connecting together a vast multitude of topics—from evolutionary neurobiology and social psychology to the billions of US tax dollars that are going to the energy-intensive agricultural industry to produce the comfort foods behind the obesity epidemic. An epidemiologist by profession, Donna L. Armstrong's theories are distinctive within the fascinating literature of complex social collapse in making the important distinction between collective behavior and individual choice, and in the use of the United States as a case study to illustrate the stages of complex development and decline. A provocative yet hopeful “slow read,” Seducing Ourselves is an enormously important work for the sustainability and “transforming communities” movements.

Supply-side Sustainability

Author: T. F. H. Allen,Joseph A. Tainter,T. W. Hoekstra

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231105873

Category: Science

Page: 459

View: 3949

This is the first book to integrate ecological and social science in an interdisciplinary treatment of sustainability. The book explains sustainability and collapse in human societies ranging from hunter-gatherers to empires and today's industrial world.

Reinventing Collapse

The Soviet Experience and American Prospects

Author: Dmitry Orlov

Publisher: New Society Publishers

ISBN: 1550924753


Page: 208

View: 7497

A guide to the decline of the American empire for individuals, families and communities