on Individual, Social and Civilizational Change
Johan Galtung and Sohail Inayatullah
While sensitive to empiricist and postmodern debates on the
problematic nature of history, Galtung and Inayatullah avoid being
trapped by these positions and instead take us deep into the
theories and visions of some of humanity's `macrohistorians' -
twenty of its most fascinating and penetrating thinkers.
Through an analysis of the theories of macrohistory of such
luminaries as Ssu-Ma Ch'ien, St. Augustine, Ibn Khaldun, Giambatista
Vico, Adam Smith, G.W.F. Hegel, Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, Herbert
Spencer, Vilfredo Pareto, Max Weber, Rudolf Steiner, Oswald Spengler,
Teilhard de Chardin, Pitirim Sorokin, Arnold Toynbee, Antonio
Gramsci, Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar, and Riane Eisler, authors/editors
Johan Galtung and Sohail Inayatullah articulate a new theory of
macrohistory, of grand social change.
They argue that a complete macrohistory is one that has
linear, cyclical and transcendental dimensions. A complete
macrohistory theorizes and describes why and how collectivities move
through space and time. Galtung and Inayatullah argue that the real
use of macrohistory is to not only find meaning in the past so as to
create new possibilities of meaning for the future, but to reduce
suffering - macrohistory is essentially about understanding and
changing the human condition.
Presentations of macrohistorians focus on their personal
biography, theory of knowledge, shape of history, stages of history,
basic metaphors, causes and mechanisms of change, and visions of the
Along with sociological comparisons, synergies between
macrohistorians, the relationship between biography and macrohistory
as well as insights macrohistorians can offer to world history and
the future are offered. Pictorial
respresentations of the twenty macrohistories are provided by
architect Daniela Minerbi.
The analysis is unique as, along with Western perspectives,
macrohistorians from Islamic, Indic, and Sinic civilizations are
presented as are feminist and Gaian approaches.
This book will be of interest to historians, sociologists,
political scientists, cultural theorists and futurists - to all
those concerned with the grand schemes of historical social change
from Western and Non-Western perspectives.
... The best think of its sort I've ever seen and destined to become
the classic reference in history and futures studies.
David Loye, Board of
Editors, World Futures.
and Inayatullah assemble impressive analysis on the ideas and lives
of 20 macrohistorians, with pictorial representation on how these
worldviews of historical change differ ... an awesome analysis,
worthy of its immodest topic.
Michael Marien, editor
Galtung, Sohail Inayatullah, and the other authors of Macrohistory
and Macrohistorians demonstrate yet again that each generation may
give new perspectives to ideas that we thought we understood. From
Ssu-ma Ch'ien and Augustine to Marx, Sorokin, and Sarkar, these
authors give us brilliant, 21st-century insights into theories of
social and civilizational change. Throughout, the authors maintain
views that are both sensitive to the coming future and informed by
an understanding of the worldwide unities of humankind. This is a
book that belongs in the library of every scholar.
Wendell Bell, Emeritus
Professor of Sociology, Yale
eclectic, Macrohistory and Macrohistorians is an indispensable
addition to the historical, sociological, peace and futures
literature. It invites dialogue on our ways of knowing about social
change, historical dynamics and violent and non-violent futures.
Drawing on the writings of macro or big-picture histories, it offers
fascinating insights about various civilizational traditions and
theorizing about social change processes. It highlights the
limitations of Western-centric claims to correctly know the patterns
of history whilst raising the challenge of moving beyond hard
Dr. Francis P. Hutchinson,
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Social Inquiry, University of Western
Sydney, Australia. Author of Educating Beyond Violent Futures.
beautifully written book that succeeds in bringing together in a
systematic manner the major theories of historical evolution ... a
Senior Economist, OECD, Paris
was awed by Inayatullah and Galtung's extraordinary job in capturing
a panoramic sweep of history. This work is truly an amazing tour de
force. I was especially struck by the elegant simplicity of the
graphic depictions by Daniela Rocco Minerbi.
have learned to appreciate and now will include in the circle of
greats, those Eastern thinkers whose works I regretfully neglected.
Many, many thanks for those wonderful depictions - and mercifully
short narrative characterizations - of great thinkers' monumental
works. Once I started reading the book, I found that I could hardly
put it down.
Graham T.T. Molitor
President, Public Policy
Forecasting, Co-editor, Macmillan Encyclopedia of the Future,
Vice-president, World Future Society
and Macrohistorians is a rich exploration of patterns in history
through the works of twenty macrohistorians from a variety of
cultures and eras. The book is particularly valuable for the way it
synthesises the contributions of each and includes interpretative
chapters that explore their significance. This is a coherent and
rare guide to big picture thinking and hence essential groundwork to
underpin the long view ahead. A magnificent achievement.
Richard A. Slaughter,
Director, Futures Study Centre, Melbourne. Author of the Foresight
Principle an editor of New Thinking for a New Millennium and The
Knowledge Base of Futures Studies - Vol. 1-3
Inayatullah and Johan Galtung have done us a great service that they
have produced a book, which summarizes knowledge of some of the most
important ideas of the world's greatest thinkers in one volume. If
the book is ignored it will be unfortunate for us.
Professor Tariq Rahman,
Department of Linguistics, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad,
very impressive synthesis, a monumental integration … I expect to
use and refer to it many times.
Duane Elgin, Author of
Awakening Consciousness and Voluntary Simplicity
is a book of spectacular scope, crossing historical eras, cultures
and nations. It is a work
scholarship. It has broadened my understanding of macrohistory,
history, and especially of knowledge and theory-building.
Bob Dick, Action Research
Scholar, Griffith University and Southern Cross University,
a teacher and student of world history, I find Macrohistory and
Macrohistorians a useful and stimulating discussion of many of its
classic paradigms from antiquity to the present day. Highly
State University New York
who are willing to consider the contributions of other disciplines
to their own, or who might have an acquaintance with social theory
in general and particular interest in macrohistory, should find this
book a good one.
B.C. Knowlton, Hillsdale
Academy, review in History
Perspectives on Individual,
Social and Civilizational Change
by Johan Galtung and Sohail
(with contributions by
Daniel Campbell, Riane Eisler, Marsha Hansen, Chris Jones, Daniela
Minerbi, Claus Otto Scharmer, Brian Shetler and Chang Xie)
Price: $65, Isbn:
Connecticut, London, Praeger, 1997
Available from Greenwood
Publishing Group - 88 Post Road West, P.O. Box 5007. Westport, CT,
06881-5007. Tel: 1 (203) 226-3571. Fax: 1 (203) 222-1502.
Available in Australia from
DA Information Services, 648 Whitehorse Road, Mitcham, Victoria,
3132. Tel: 61-3-9872-4555, Fax: 61-3-9210-7778 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Available post free in Europe from email@example.com and in
Southeast Asia, Fax: 65-338-0073 and firstname.lastname@example.org.