The evolution of the Afroeurasian world-system which in the ‘long 16th century’ was transformed into the global World System comprised both economic and political components, some of which are discussed in the present article. Earlier research has identified four major zones of instability which can be designated as the Central Asian (including Afghanistan and Pakistan), the Middle East, North Africa, and the Sahel region. We suggest considering these four zones as a single Afrasian macrozone of instability. We show that this zone correlates rather closely with the zone of traditional prevalence of the parallel cousin marriage, as well as with the zone of very low female labor force participation rate, and the territory of the Umayyad Califate. The article demonstrates that this correlation is not coincidental and also discusses the factors and mechanisms that have produced it.
It has always been peculiar to evolutionists to compare social and biological evolution, the latter as visualized by Charles Darwin.1 But it also seems possible and correct to draw an analogy with another great discovery in the field of evolutionary biology, with the homologous series of Nikolay Vavilov (1921; 1927; 1967). However, there is no complete identity between cultural parallelism and biological homologous series. Vavilov studied the morphological homology, whereas our focus within the realm of social evolution is the functional one. No doubt, the morphological homomorphism also happens in the process of social evolution (e.g. in the Hawaii Islands where a type of the sociocultural organization surprisingly similar with the ones of other highly developed parts of Polynesia had independently formed by the end of the 18th century [Sahlins 1972/1958; Goldman 1970; Earle 1978]). But this topic is beyond the present paper’s problématique.
The comparison between biological and social macroevolution is a very important (though insufficiently studied) subject whose analysis renders new significant possibilities to comprehend the processes, trends, mechanisms, and peculiarities of each of the two types of macroevolution. Of course, there are a few rather important (and very understandable) differences between them; however, it appears possible to identify a number of fundamental similarities. One may single out at least three fundamental sets of factors determining those similarities. First of all, those similarities stem from the fact that in both cases we are dealing with very complex non-equilibrium (but rather stable) systems whose principles of functioning and evolution are described by the General Systems' Theory, as well as by a number of cybernetic principles and laws.
Secondly, in both cases we do not deal with isolated systems; in both cases we deal with a complex interaction between systems of organic systems and external environment, whereas the reaction of systems to external challenges can be described in terms of certain general principles (that, however, express themselves rather differently within the biological reality, on the one hand, and within the social reality, on the other).
Thirdly, it is necessary to mention a direct ‘genetic’ link between the two types of macroevolution and their mutual influence.
It is important to emphasize that the very similarity of the principles and regularities of the two types of macroevolution does not imply their identity. Rather significant similarities are frequently accompanied by enormous differences. For example, genomes of the chimpanzees and the humans are very similar – with differences constituting just a few per cent; however, there are enormous differences with respect to intellectual and social differences of the chimpanzees and the humans hidden behind the apparently ‘insignificant’ difference between the two genomes.
Thus, in certain respects it appears reasonable to consider the biological and social macroevolution as a single macroevolutionary process. This implies the necessity to comprehend the general laws and regularities that describe this process, though their manifestations may display significant variations depending on properties of a concrete evolving entity (biological, or social one). An important notion that may contribute to the improvement of the operationalization level as regards the comparison between the two types of macroevolution is the one that we suggested some time ago – the social aromorphosis (that was developed as a counterpart to the notion of biological aromorphosis well established within Russian evolutionary biology). We regard social aromorphosis as a rare qualitative macrochange that increases in a very significant way complexity, adaptability, and mutual influence of the social systems, that opens new possibilities for social macrodevelopment. In our paper we discuss a number of regularities that describe biological and social macroevolution and that employ the notions of social and biological aromorphosis such as ones of the module evolution (or the evolutionary ‘block assemblage’), ‘payment for arogenic progress’ etc.
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.
The general process of the growth of sociocultural complexity was multidimensional and multilinear. That is why the evolutionary phase of medium-complex societies (where the chiefdoms are most often observed) was represented by numerous types of societies.
The article is devoted to the analysis of chiefdom analogues, or various evolutionary alternatives to the chiefdom: poleis, autonomous towns and complex village communities, cast-clan systems, non-hierarchically organized territorial groups and federations of villages, certain types of tribal systems, and so on. All chiefdom analogues' forms can be subdivided into a few types: monosettlement analogues (with the majority of the population concentrated in a single central settlement); horizontally integrated polysettlement analogues; and corporate analogues. The notion of chiefdom analogues which we put forward will advance the theoretical analysis of the cultural-political variations among medium-complex societies where chiefdoms are bound to occupy one of the main positions.
The article is devoted to the problem which is debated actively today, namely whether Greek poleis and the Roman Republic were early states or they represented a specific type of stateless societies. Some scholars suppose that even in the times of their flourishing these societies were stateless ones. I am of the opinion that this conclusion is wrong: and I believe thatAthens and the Roman Republic were early states. Therefore the present article is in many respects a direct discussion with the supporters of the idea of the stateless character of the ancient societies.
The problem as to whether Athens and the Roman Republic were early states is important in itself. However, the attempts to settle it inevitably result in a consideration of a wider problem of great importance: what polities in general can be considered as early states. In particular, is it also possible to regard as such the democratically organized societies?
Thus, in this contribution a specific aspect of the problem of multilinearity in sociopolitical evolution is examined. On the one hand, simultaneously with early states there coexisted complex non-state societies comparable to the states in size, population, other parameters and functions. Elsewhere I termed such polities the analogues of the early state(e.g., Grinin 2003c, 2004c; Bondarenko, Grinin, and Korotayev 2002). On the other hand, the diversity of sociopolitical evolution is expressed also in a tremendous variety of the early states proper among which the bureaucratic states represent just one of many types. The democratic early states without bureaucracy were early states of another type.
In this article I analyze Athens and the Roman Republic as examples of this very type.
The concept of the early state introduced by Henri J. M. Claessen and Peter Skalník appears to have been the last among the great epoch-making political-anthropological theories of the 60s and 70s of the last century (e.g., Sahlins [1960, 1963, 1968], Service [1962, 1975], Fried [1967, 1975]), which did more than just giving a new consideration of socio-political evolution, its stages and models. One may even say that these theories succeeded in filling the evolutionary gap between the pre-state forms and the state, which had formed by that moment in the academic consciousness due to the fact that the accumulated ethnographic and archaeological data could hardly fit the prior schemes.
This Issue is composed of two panels, namely Section I (Special) and Section II. The major part of the issue belongs to Special Section ‘The Early State in Anthropological Theory’ withPeter Skalník, one of the founders of the early state concept,as its Guest Editor.
The processes of the growing societal complexity, emergence of new forms of social and political inequality, formation of pre-state or complex stateless polities belong to the most intriguing subjects of Anthropology and Social Philosophy.
Social Evolution & History has consistently published the research articles devoted to these issues. The chiefdom concept plays a special role within the theories that try to account for the transition from simple social systems to systems of greater complexity. Following its emergence in the 1950s this notion became an important heuristic means to advance Anthropology and Archaeology. It was also subjected to vigorous debates within which the participants denied the methodological significance of chiefdoms and the very notion of the chiefdom. These debates are becoming even more vigorous in connection with the rapid accumulation of information on ancient societies (see the dispute over chiefdoms between Timothy Pauketat and Robert Carneiro in 9.1). There is also much discrepancy in the definition of ‘chiefdom’ as some scholars consider it a standard phase of cultural evolution, a natural transition between the ‘Big Man’ society and the states of the ancient world.
Currently, the main source for the reconstruction of the most ancient history of humankind is archeology, which almost by definition makes it possible to restore only just a few elements of the most ancient human culture (naturally, almost exclusively – material culture). A mere introduction of comparative linguistic data makes it possible to significantly refine our reconstruction of a respective culture. If a certain linguistic Urheimat may be localized in space and in time within the area and lifespan of a certain archaeological culture, this suggests that we may have an idea of the language spoken by respective population, as the application of comparative linguistic methods allows us to reconstruct the vocabulary of the carriers of the respective protolanguage, that makes it possible to identify a set of terms denoting the realities of family organization, political attitudes, beliefs, etc. A very important part of the reconstructed vocabulary is constituted by the kinship terminology. As is well known (and as is demonstrated in this article again), the kinship terminology displays rather strong correlations with respective types of kinship organization, which could allow to reconstruct important features of clan and family structure of the respective populations. This reconstruction can be further verified by using archaeological and genetic data. It is demonstrated that the papers presented at the International Workshop ‘Murdock and Goody Re-visited: (Pre)history and evolution of Eurasian and African family systems’ that was organized in April 2015 by the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology suggest that we are close to having all the necessary ingredients to undertake such a program of a deep historical reconstruction.
The hypothesis that population pressure causes increased warfare has been recently criticized on the empirical grounds. Both studies focusing on specific historical societies and analyses of cross-cultural data fail to find positive correlation between population density and incidence of warfare. In this paper we argue that such negative results do not falsify the population-warfare hypothesis. Population and warfare are dynamical variables, and if their interaction causes sustained oscillations, then we do not in general expect to find strong correlation between the two variables measured at the same time (that is, unlagged). We explore mathematically what the dynamical patterns of interaction between population and warfare (focusing on internal warfare) might be in both stateless and state societies. Next, we test the model predictions in several empirical case studies: early modern England, Han and Tang China, and the Roman Empire. Our empirical results support the population-warfare theory: we find that there is a tendency for population numbers and internal warfare intensity to oscillate with the same period but shifted in phase (with warfare peaks following population peaks). Furthermore, the rates of change of the two variables behave precisely as predicted by the theory: population rate of change is negatively affected by warfare intensity, while warfare rate of change is positively affected by population density.
There is no doubt that periodization is a rather effective method of data ordering and analysis, but it deals with exceptionally complex types of processual and temporal phenomena and thus it simplifies historical reality. Many scholars emphasize the great importance of periodization for the study of history. In fact, any periodization suffers from one-sidedness and certain deviations from reality. However, the number and significance of such deviations can be radically diminished as the effectiveness of periodization is directly connected with its author's understanding of the rules and peculiarities of this methodological procedure. In this paper we would like to suggest a model of periodization of history based on our theory of historical process. We shall also demonstrate some possibilities of mathematical modeling for the problems concerning the macroperiodization of the world historical process. This analysis identifies a number of cycles within this process and suggests its generally hyperexponential shape, which makes it possible to propose a number of forecasts concerning the forthcoming decades.