Macro-History. A Theoretical Approach to Comparative World History

Author: Snyder, Lee
Macro-history is an attempt to create a model of the cultural-historical process that will explain historical change for all societies-civilizations. The proposed model operates in the spirit of the social sciences, not as a philosophy, focused on patterns of change and not some goal or end of history. It was developed as an alternative to the various myths of progress current in the West from Liberalism to Marxism, and should be tested both empirically and theoretically.

Table of Contents

Table of contents:

Part One: Building a Workable Model, Basic Principles

1.History, Queen of the Sciences

2. Constructing a Model: First Step, Choosing the Right Basic Unit: The Culture-System; The Historical Cycle; Periodization of Eastern Culture; The Five Dimensions – Geographical, Economic, Social-Political, Intellectual, Expressive

3. The Sequence of Cycles: Step Two, The Linear Dimension of History: Six Analytical Levels; The Macro-Macro Level Spelled Out; The Macro-Cultural Level; Culture-Systems of the First Era, Second Era, Third Era

4.Beyond Weber and Mumford, A Systems Model for Understanding the History of Cities: The Weberian Model; Physical City vs. Social Community; Open and Closed Systems; Uncontrolled Systems; Controlled System; Three Historical Ideal Types of Cities; Possibility of Cycles

5.The Internal Structure of the Historical Cycle, A Systems Theory Approach: The Black Box, The White Box; Competition among the Sub-Systems; Back to the Historical Cycle

Part Two: The Three Subsystems: The Internal Structure of the Historical Cycle

6.The Political Subsystem, The Structure of Power: Defining the Basic Function or Purpose; The Means – Enforcing Rules; Another Aspect – Institutions and Stratification; The Centralization Types – Structure of the Region; The Density Types – Structure of Power; The Intensity Types – Structure of Political Action

7.The Economic Sub-System, The Distribution of Wealth: Production, Distribution Systems;Control Mechanisms; Investment Strategies

8.The Cultural Sub-System, Maintaining and Revising the Map: Basic Functions, Preliminary Considerations; 5 Levels of Information Processing; The Organizing Structure, Mapping – The Symbolic Structure of Culture; The Seven master Myths; Legitimizing and Elite Formation; The Informational Level – 3 Strategies; The Micro-Social Level – Constructing Disciplines; The Macro-Social Level – Legal Systems; The Artificial Environment; Shaping the Larger Culture-System; Structure of the Cultural Dialogue – 3 Cosmologies; An Illustration – The Western Tradition

9.Space and Time: The Geographical and Historical Environments: Geographical Environment; Landscape, The Cultural View of Nature; The Historical Environment; Intercultural Trade; Diffusion and Cultural Identity; War and Peace – The Political Sub-System and the Historical Environment; Intercivilizational Wars; Frontier Wars; Civil Wars

Part Three: Culture and the Individual

10.Art and Identity, Interactions with the Artificial Environment: Principles Defining the Artificial Environment; Artificial Environment and the Three Sub-Systems; Cultural Sub-System and the World of Art; Art and the Three Strategies; Typologies of the Arts; Arts and the Historical Cycle.

11.Internal Environment: Plato Was Right, Education and the Individual: Success and the Three Sub-Systems; Plato and Proper Education; Three Age Levels Reconsidered; Education and the Three Strategies; Three Methods of Teaching; Debate about Happiness and Self-fulfillment; History of Western Educational Thought

12.The Creative Self, The Individual as an Independent Complex System: the Black Box – the Self in Relationship to its Environments; The White Box – Internal Structure of the Self

13.The Fourth Level, Historical Innovation and the Inner Quest: The First Level of Innovation; The Religious Quest; Returning to the Culture-System

14.Conclusions: Why Study History?: Summary of Our Model; Macro-History as a Research Project; What about the Future?

Bibliography, Index