Quantitative historical analysis uncovers a single dimension of complexity that structures global variation in human social organization.
Currie, Thomas E
Ter Haar, Barend
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
National Academy of Sciences
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Turchin, P., Currie, T. E., Whitehouse, H., François, P., Feeney, K., Mullins, D., Hoyer, D., et al. (2018). Quantitative historical analysis uncovers a single dimension of complexity that structures global variation in human social organization.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115 (2), E144-E151. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708800115
Do human societies from around the world exhibit similarities in the way that they are structured and show commonalities in the ways that they have evolved? To address these long-standing questions, we constructed a database of historical and archaeological information from 30 regions around the world over the last 10,000 years. Our analyses revealed that characteristics, such as social scale, economy, features of governance, and information systems, show strong evolutionary relationships with each other and that complexity of a society across different world regions can be meaningfully measured using a single principal component of variation. Our findings highlight the power of the sciences and humanities working together to rigorously test hypotheses about general rules that may have shaped human history.
Humans, Geography, Algorithms, Models, Theoretical, Time Factors, Archaeology, Cultural Diversity, Cultural Evolution, Social Change, History, Ancient, Biological Evolution
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708800115
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/274119
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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