The Collapse of Complex Societies / Edition 1

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Overview

Political disintegration is a persistent feature of world history. The Collapse of Complex Societies, though written by an archaeologist, will therefore strike a chord throughout the social sciences. Any explanation of societal collapse carries lessons not just for the study of ancient societies, but for the members of all such societies in both the present and future. 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 that accounts for collapse among diverse kinds of societies, evaluating his model and clarifying the processes of disintegration by detailed studies of the Roman, Mayan and Chacoan collapses.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"While the theoretical part of the book is quite remarkable and based on exceptional erudition, I also found the accumulation of the supporting data to be interesting reading . . . The merit of the book is that it is interesting. It modifies some of our views about early states and their collapse mainly by using data. It also shows how archaeology in alliance with social sciences opens the way for a comparative analysis of change in political and other cultural institutions." European Cultural Heritage

"Tainter's is an attractive and compelling thesis of a genre which is nearly extinct among domestic historians." History Today

"This is a lucid and stimulating book. Tainter does provide a framework for organizing and evaluating the evidence of collapse. One of the strengths of his framework is the broadness of its terms of reference...Tainter's model accomodates all levels of complexity and all kinds of evidence, from fiscal policy to the acquisition of raw materials. It deserves to be widely read." Antiquity

"Tainter has provided copious grist for the intellectual mill in this remarkable piece of scholarship. The breadth of its coverage is given order by a model that qualifies, I believe, as one of the covering laws archaeologists have sought. In addition, Old World and New World scholars alike can profit from a reading of this book." P. Nick Kardulias, American Journal of Archaeology

"The Collapse of Complex Societies contains much useful historical and archeological information on empires that have abruptly disappeared." James B. Rule, SUNY, Stony Brook, in Population and Environment

"The book is thought-provoking, engaging, and often witty, and well illustrates the relevancy of classical antiquity to contemporary concerns." Classical World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521386739
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1990
  • Series: New Studies in Archaeology Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 260
  • Sales rank: 487,863
  • Product dimensions: 6.88 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction to collapse; 2. The nature of complex societies; 3. The study of collapse; 4. Understanding collapse: the marginal productivity of sociopolitical change; 5. Evaluation: complexity and marginal returns in collapsing societies; 6. Summary and implications; References; Index.
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  • Posted February 11, 2013

    Publishers had bad print

    I bought this book for my boyfriend before we went on a vacation. He was not happy because the print was right next to the binder and it was very hard to read. He had to basically push down on the book since the print was at the seam. When he took it to Barnes and Noble store, they told him if he tried hard enough he could read it. After speaking with another manager (that was a manager that told him that), they said they would order him a new one. Well he just went to the store and they ordered him the wrong book and said that he'd have to pay to get a new one if he wanted a new book of the same type. This is mostly with B&N and not the book, but besides the publishing issue, he didn't like the way the author had used references all throughout the paragraphs instead of saving it for the bottom of the page.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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