The Collapse of Complex Societies

The Collapse of Complex Societies

4.17 (1,146 ratings by Goodreads)
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4.17 (1,146 ratings by Goodreads)

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Any explanation of political collapse carries lessons not just for the study of ancient societies, but for the members of all complex 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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Product details

  • Paperback | 262 pages
  • 174 x 247 x 15mm | 536g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1 Halftones, unspecified; 30 Line drawings, unspecified; 1 Halftones, unspecified; 30 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 052138673X
  • 9780521386739
  • 57,845

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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Review quote

'Tainter's model accommodates all levels of complexity and all kinds of evidence. It deserves to be widely read.' Antiquity 'Tainter's is an attractive and compelling thesis, of a genre which is nearly extinct among domestic historians.' History Today
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Rating details

1,146 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 43% (489)
4 37% (425)
3 16% (181)
2 3% (35)
1 1% (16)
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