Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Collapse

How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, 1st Edition

By Rodolfo Maggio

Macat Library

108 pages

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Paperback: 9781912128686
pub: 2017-07-04
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Description

American scholar Jared Diamond deploys his powers of interpretation to great effect in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, which seeks to understand the meaning behind the available evidence describing societies that have survived and those that have withered and died.

Why, for example, did the Norsemen of Scandinavia who colonized Greenland in the early tenth century not survive, while the inhabitants of Highland New Guinea did? With the evidence to hand, Diamond notes that a society’s collapse tends to be preceded by a severe reduction in population and considerable decreases in political, economic and social complexity. Delving even deeper, Diamond isolates five major factors determine the success or failure of human societies in all periods of history: environmental degradation, which occurs when an ecosystem deteriorates as its resources are exhausted; climate change (natural or man-made); hostile neighbors; weakened trading partners; and access or otherwise to the resources that enable the society to adapt its challenges.

The breadth of Diamond’s research provides the springboard from which to reach these definitions, but it inevitably also introduces complications; how can evidence produced by specialists in so many different disciplines be compared? Diamond’s ability to understand the meaning of the evidence at hand – and his readiness to seek and supply clarifications of meaning where necessary – underpin his achievement, and comprise a textbook example of how interpretative skills can provide a framework for strong critical thinking.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the text Who was Jared Diamond? What does Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive say? Why does Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited

About the Author

Dr Rodolfo Maggio holds a masters degree in anthropology from the London School of Economics and a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Manchester. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC000000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / General
SOC002000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General