• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

How have societies changed over the past 5,000 years? Welcome to the brief, manageable macro-sociology text that takes your students on a journey to answer this question.

This book, the only brief and affordable macro-sociology text available for undergraduates, describes how societies have changed over the past five thousand years. The discussion focuses on the idea that industrial societies, despite their great success, have created a new set of recurring and unsolved problems which will serve as a major impetus for further social change. This book explores development through historical narrative and examines the globalization/development paradox through in-depth case studies.

Evolution and Early Human Societies
Evolution and early human societies

In order to study social change, it is necessary to begin with some notions about the causes and general nature of such change. This requires some comparisons between physical, genetic evolution and changes in human ideas, knowledge, and institutions. That, in turn, demands a brief perspective on events that occurred long before written history existed. Only after this will it be possible (in the second chapter) to begin with a short history of social change in the past 6,000 years.

Physical and Cultural Evolution: Differences and Similarities

For at least 5 million years, there have been intelligent hominids on earth who walked upright and were evolving into the species modern Homo sapiens, that is to say, us. (Homo sapiens is Latin for “wise man”—though how wise we ...

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