Johan Goudsblom: Long-Term Processes in the History of Humanity. [Abstract]
“Humanity” is no longer an ideal but a reality. Its history does not date back a few hundreds of generations, as was still believed in the 18th century; it encompasses many tens of thousands of generations. A synthesis of historical, sociological, anthropological, archaeological, and biological approaches is now possible. An attempt in this direction is made here in the form of a few simple overall “process models.” The three major ecological transformations brought about by humans serve as benchmarks: the domestication of fire, the rise of agriculture, and the “industrial revolution.” Each new stage in control over nature signalled a simultaneous increase in dependency on that which was being controlled. Against this background, secular trends of growth, concentration, specialisation, organisation, and stratification of human populations have been dominant over the last ten millennia.
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