Historical Transformations: The Anthropology of Global Systems

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Historical Transformations represents the work of two distinguished anthropologists over three decades on the history and importance of global thinking in the social sciences. The authors consider numerous examples for which local phenomena can only be understood within the contexts of global systems. Their multidisciplinary work touches on many aspects of social and individual life as well as long-term historical processes.

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Editorial Reviews

August 2009 CHOICE
In these essays, the authors critique materialist, evolutionary, elitist, and development theoretical approaches in archaeology and anthropology. It is most relevant for professional readers interested in the history of systems theory and Marxist discussions of capital and social reproduction.
Stephen Reyna
Historical Transformations includes appraisals of Marxist, cultural materialist, and neo-evolutionary approaches to understanding modern and postmodern realms. It offers especially trenchant criticisms of most globalization theories, suggesting that they are largely biased ruminations of global elites. Yet out of the ruins of such questionable theory, Ekholm Friedman and Friedman formulate their own global systems theory. Drawing on only a few concepts—of which logic, social reproduction, and transformational analysis are most prominent—they craft an understanding of the world in which Bronze Age empires, Oceanic Big Man politics, Congolese kinship and witchcraft culture, and the postmodern West are explained by transformational analysis. In the end, the authors suggest that the postmodern world in which we live is one at the 'end of empire' when history has taken on a 'Kafkaesque quality.'
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759111103
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 330
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kajsa Ekholm Friedman is professor in the Department of Social Anthropology at Lund University, Sweden.

Jonathan Friedman is directeur d'études at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, in Paris, and professor of social anthropology at Lund University.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Social Reproduction, Social Transformation, and Global Process
Chapter 1 Marxist Theory and Systems of Total Reproduction
Chapter 2 Crises in Theory and Transformations of the World Economy
Part II: Global Process and Long Term Change
Chapter 3 The Study of Risks in Social Systems: An Anthropological Perspective
Chapter 4 Notes towards an Epigenetic Model of the Evolution of "Civilization"
Chapter 5 Structural Perspectives on the Bronze Age: Economic, Political and Social Integration
Chapter 6 "Capital" Imperialism and Exploitation in Ancient World Systems
Chapter 7 Transnationalization, Socio-political Disorder, and Ethnification as Expressions of Declining Global Hegemony
Part III: Structure and History: Transformational Models
Chapter 8 External Exchange and the Transformation of Central African Social Systems
Chapter 9 "Sad Stories of the Death of Kings:" The Involution of Divine Kingship
Chapter 10 Notes on Structure and History in Oceania
Chapter 11 Morphogenesis and Global Process in Polynesia

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