About the author: Andrey Korotayev is Head and Professor of the “Anthropology of the East” Program, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow. He also chairs the Advisory Committee in Cross-Cultural Research for “Social Dynamics and Evolution” Program at the University of California, Irvine. He received his PhD from Manchester University, and Doctor of Sciences degree from the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is the author of Ancient Yemen (Oxford University Press, 1995), Pre-Islamic Yemen (Harrassowitz Verlag, 1996) and Social Evolution (Nauka, 2003).2004 0-7734-6310-0
This book provides a cross-cultural analysis of traditional social organization of the Old World Oikumene civilizations, which suggest that the world religions were its major determinant. The role of Christianity and Islam as determinants of social evolution is analyzed in more detail. Formal analysis performed in this book shows that though such factors as political centralization and class stratification were also important determinants, the difference in traditional social organization between Christian and Islamic cultures were mostly shaped by the respective world religions. This study also analyzes such topics as influence of Islam on social patterns in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, or Hinayana Buddhism influence on the evolution of kinship organization. This cross-cultural analysis makes it possible to provide an entirely new assessment of the old controversy between Materialism and Idealism, to move beyond both of these approaches.