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Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by [Scott, James C.]
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Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

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Length: 335 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Against the Grain is not just a “counternarrative, an outsider's skeptical reaction to received wisdom about the evolution of agricultural systems and the first states in Mesopotamia. Scott asks, ‘why on earth did people come to live in villages, toil to produce surpluses, become subject to new diseases, and social turmoil?' And ‘why did the first territorial states come apart with such apparent frequency?' Vainglorious kings with their generals and armies, sycophantic scribes, and royal architects and engineers are not Scott's heroes. His concerns are with urban laborers, peasants, and barbarians and the cleavage planes of resistance to rulers. Those studying Mesopotamia—and other early states—take heed.—Norman Yoffee, editor of Early Cities in Comparative Perspective
 
“This is a brilliant, accessible, and highly original account of the origins of sedentism, farming, states, and the relations between agrarian and nomadic communities. It should attract a wider audience than any of Scott's earlier books.—J. R. McNeill, Georgetown University
 

Product Description

An account of all the new and surprising evidence now available for the beginnings of the earliest civilizations that contradict the standard narrative

Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today’s states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family—all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction.

Scott explores why we avoided sedentism and plow agriculture, the advantages of mobile subsistence, the unforeseeable disease epidemics arising from crowding plants, animals, and grain, and why all early states are based on millets and cereal grains and unfree labor. He also discusses the “barbarians” who long evaded state control, as a way of understanding continuing tension between states and nonsubject peoples.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3209 KB
  • Print Length: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (22 August 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0747RTP2W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #164,995 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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