By Allen W. Johnson
By means of combining an unique thesis and a consultant physique of ethnographic info, this bold paintings seeks to explain and clarify the expansion in complexity of human societies.Its emphasis is at the motives, mechanisms, and styles of cultural evolution, which the authors clarify by way of a coherent concept of political economydefined because the mobilization and trade of products and providers among households. The authors express that the interconnected tactics of technological switch and inhabitants progress are the motor of social switch, leading to 3 comparable processesintensification, integration, and stratificationthat remodel human societies through the years. The validity in their concept rests on facts drawn from 19 case experiences that variety commonly through the years and space.For this new version, the authors have completely rewritten the theoretical argument for better readability, up to date the case fabrics to include new study, and further a brand new bankruptcy that applies their theoretical standpoint to the issues of swap because the business revolution and the globalization of exchange and political influence.Reviews of the 1st EditionIn a e-book jam-packed with perceptive observations and persuasive arguments . . . Johnson and Earle express in masterly aspect how societies articulate to their environments and . . . how they evolve.”EthnohistoryA significant contribution. . . . The ebook is a fabulous synthesis of ethnographic and ancient data.”American magazine of SociologyA great amount of study and concept has produced brilliant and illuminating particular analyses of the mechanisms of evolutionary switch. one other plus is that the writing is apparent and the argument is smartly conceived.”American Anthropologist
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Additional resources for The Evolution of Human Societies: From Foraging Group to Agrarian State, Second Edition
The Problem of Warfare. The case studies in this book will illustrate a basic truth: that humans everywhere and at all times have the potential to resort to violence to achieve their goals (Keeley 1996: 26-32). If we take warfare to be "armed conflict and associated activities and relations between independent political units in all types of societies" (Haas 1996: 1357), then certainly, as Herbert Spencer argued, the need to defend one's own group from powerful outside threats is in itself enough to encourage political integration within, in order to resist annihilation and to pose effective counterthreats.
By contrast, the exponential growth pattern, or J-curve, described by the Doomsday Equation is what would be expected in "paradise" (Foerster et al. 1960: 1291)-that is, where resources are so abundant that the four horsemen scarcely make an appearance. The Doomsday Equation confirmed what many had believed, that human population grew slowly in the remote past but has been gathering steam ever since and in the modern age is rising apparently without limit (Fig. 1b). What Foerster et al. argued, in essence, was that humans-through "food technology and the industrial sciences" (Schmeck 1960: 1o)-have changed the rules of nature.
But they do not answer the question of whether technological innovation makes possible an overall increase in production, or whether population increase forces technological improvements to catch up. In this book we will focus attention away from the chicken-and-egg debate over whether population growth or technological advance drives social evolution. Here we identify the process of feedback between population and technology as the engine of the evolutionary process. For humans, both population growth and technological creativity are ever-present possibilities.
The Evolution of Human Societies: From Foraging Group to Agrarian State, Second Edition by Allen W. Johnson
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