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After Collapse: The Regeneration of Complex Societies Paperback – July 29, 2010

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After Collapse: The Regeneration of Complex Societies + The Collapse of Complex Societies (New Studies in Archaeology) + The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The impact of this book will be long-lasting, as each of the studies are quite impressive new analyses of recent archaeological studies.”—Jonathan Kenoyer, University of Wisconsin, Madison

From the Inside Flap

After Collapse blazes new research trails in both archaeology and the study of social change, demonstrating that archaeology can offer more clues to the "dark ages" that precede regeneration than text-based studies. It opens up a new window on the past by shifting the focus away from the rise and fall of ancient civilizations to their often more telling fall and rise.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press; Reprint edition (August 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816529361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816529360
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,665,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By P. Nagy on November 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After Collapse: The Regeneration of Complex Societies edited by Glenn M. Schwartz, John J. Nichols (University of Arizona Press) From the Euphrates Valley to the southern Peruvian Andes, early complex societies have risen and fallen, but in some cases they have also been reborn. Prior archaeological investigation of these societies has focused primarily on emergence and collapse. After Collapse: The Regeneration of Complex Societies is the first book-length work to examine the question of how and why early complex urban societies have reappeared after periods of decentralization and collapse.

Ranging widely across the Near East, the Aegean, East Asia, Mesoamerica, and the Andes, these cross-cultural studies expand our understanding of social evolution by examining how societies were transformed during the period of radical change now termed "collapse." They seek to discover how societal complexity reemerged, how second-generation states formed, and how these re-emergent states resembled or differed from the complex societies that preceded them.

The contributors draw on material culture as well as textual and ethnohistoric data to consider such factors as preexistent institutions, structures, and ideologies that are influential in regeneration; economic and political resilience; the role of social mobility, marginal groups, and peripheries; and ethnic change. In addition to presenting a number of theoretical viewpoints, the contributors also propose reasons why regeneration sometimes does not occur after collapse. A concluding contribution by Norman Yoffee provides a critical exegesis of "collapse" and highlights important patterns found in the case histories related to peripheral regions and secondary elites, and to the ideology of statecraft.
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17 of 39 people found the following review helpful By H. S. Vishniac on February 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The title of "After Collapse" suggests a companion volume to Jared Diamonds "Collapse", a well constructed and fascinating book with both an overview and particular examples of the fatal problems of societies. Alas, After the Collapse is an edited collection of individual essays with no more construction or broad views than a collection of poster displays at a scientific meeting. A few are interesting, but I regret having bought the book.
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14 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book, an edited work, seeks to address a gap in scholarship, to wit, where others have covered why and how complex societies have collapsed, there is vitually nothing on how some, not all, regenerate. The editors do point out that most collapses are not total, and something is left (see my review of The Collapse of Complex Societies (New Studies in Archaeology) for a more nuanced review of this matter). It fails to go the full distance possible.

The combined authors posit a cycle of growth, collapse, and regeneration between ruralism and local autonomy, and urbanization with centralization of control.

In an excellent but not quite complete summary of the causes of collapse, the editors outline the following:

1. Fragmentation into smaller political entities
2. Partial or complete desertion of urban centers
3. Loss or depletion of centalizing functions
4. Breakdown of regional economic systems
5. Failure of civilization's ideology

They do not mention the latest and best explanation, that the more complex a society becomes, the more expensive it is to make incremental improvements in management, and the unaffordability of the always increasing cost for each always decreasingly effective improvement ultimately leads to implosion (see Collapse as linked above).

They do however mention in passing that large-scale inegalitarian systems tend to collapse over time--they are unsustainable. This tallies nicely with Jonathan Schell's
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