Comparison of biological and social macro-evolution is a very important issue, but it has been studied insufficiently. Yet, analysis suggests new promising possibilities to deepen our understanding of the course, trends, mechanisms and peculiarities of the biological and social phases of Big History. This article analyzes similarities and differences between two phases of Big History at various levels and in various aspects. It compares biological and social organisms, mechanisms of evolutionary selection, transitions to qualitatively new states, processes of key information transmission, and fixation of acquired characteristics. It also considers a number of pre-adaptations that contributed to the transformation of Big History's biological phase into its social phase and analyzes some lines of such a transformation.
What many anthropologists regard as the major step in political development occurred when, for the first time in history, previously autonomous villages gave up their individual sovereignties and were brought together into a multi-village political unit--the chiefdom. Though long neglected as a major stage in history, recent years have seen the chiefdom come in for increased attention. As its importance has been more fully recognized, it has become the object of serious scholarly analysis and interpretation. In this volume specialists in political evolution draw on data from ethnography, archaeology, and history and apply fresh insights to enhance the study of the chiefdom. The papers present penetrating analyses of many aspects of the chiefdom, from how this form of political organization first arose to the role it played in giving rise to the next major stage in the development of human society - the state.
It is often noted in the academic literature that chiefdoms frequently prove to be troublesome for scholars because of the disagreement as to whether to categorize this or that polity as a complex chiefdom or as an early state. This is no wonder, because complex chiefdoms, early states, as well as different other types of sociopolitical systems (large confederations, large self-governed civil and temple communities etc.) turn out to be at the same evolutionary level. In the present article it is argued that such complex societies can be considered as early state analogues. The most part of the article is devoted to the analysis of the most developed chiefdoms – the Hawaiian ones. It is argued that before the arrival of Cook there was no state in Hawaii. It should be classified as an early state analogue, i.e. a society of the same level of development as early states but lacking some state characteristics. It proceeds from the fact that the entire Hawaiian political and social organization was based on the strict rules and ideology of kinship, and the ruling groups represented endogamous castes and quasi-castes. The transition to statehood occurred only in the reign of Kamehameha I in the early 19th century. A scrupulous comparison between the Hawaiian chiefdoms and Hawaiian state is presented in the article.
Big History is a new field that has been gaining ground rapidly around the world. It deals with the universe's grand narrative of 13.8 billion years and attempts to provide a connection between our past, present and future. Appearing in three volumes, this is the first international anthology of Big History. The first volume, Our Place in the Universe: An Introduction to Big History, provides an overview and notes trends in Big History today. The second volume, Education and Understanding: Big History around the World, considers humanity's search for meaning and expression.
Big History is a new field that has been gaining ground rapidly around the world. It deals with the universe's grand narrative of 13.8 billion years and attempts to provide a connection between our past, present and future. Appearing in three volumes, this is the first international anthology of Big History. The first volume, Our Place in the Universe: An Introduction to Big History, provides an overview and notes trends in Big History today. The second volume, Education and Understanding: Big History around the World, considers humanity's search for meaning and expression. The third volume, The Ways that Big History Works: Cosmos, Life, Society and our Future, reflects on how Big History helps us understand the nature of our existence and consider the pathways to our future. This volume will challenge and excite your vision of your own life as well as focus on the new discoveries happening around us. Together with the authors, who come from all the inhabited continents of our planet, you will embark on a fascinating trip into the depths of time and space, and--we hope--will join us in coming to an understanding of our origins and our future.
Malthusian cycles are political-demographic cycles that were typical for complex pre-modern societies. Due to a number of mechanisms, within the pre-modern social systems (and some would argue even in the 21st century) population growth tended to produce a set of imbalances and strains, eventually resulting in political-demographic collapses and substantial population decline. After stabilization, the population growth usually re-started – marking the beginning of a new Malthusian political demographic cycle. This entry provides an overview of elements of the Malthusian cycle dynamics, a consideration of its political aspects, a summary of theories and mathematical models that have been advanced to explain the Malthusian cycles, and a discussion of the escape from the Malthusian trap and its political consequences.