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Macrohistory And Macrohistorians:

Perspectives 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 future. 

            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. 

Remarkable ... 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. 

Galtung 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 Futures Survey 

Johan 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 

Richly 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 deterministic thinking.  

Dr. Francis P. Hutchinson, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Social Inquiry, University of Western Sydney, Australia. Author of Educating Beyond Violent Futures. 

A beautifully written book that succeeds in bringing together in a systematic manner the major theories of historical evolution ... a path-breaking work.  

Thorsteinn Thorgeirsson, Senior Economist, OECD, Paris 

I 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.  

I 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 

Macrohistory 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 

Sohail 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, Pakistan 

A 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 

This is a book of spectacular scope, crossing historical eras, cultures and nations. It is a  work of  considerable 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, Australia 

As 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 recommended

Professor Warren Wagar,

State University New York Binghamton 

Historians 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 (Winter 1999) 


Perspectives on Individual, Social and Civilizational Change 

by Johan Galtung and Sohail Inayatullah

(with contributions by Daniel Campbell, Riane Eisler, Marsha Hansen, Chris Jones, Daniela Minerbi, Claus Otto Scharmer, Brian Shetler and Chang Xie) 

Price: $65, Isbn: 0-275-95755-1,  Westport, 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 Available post free in Europe from and in Southeast Asia, Fax: 65-338-0073 and

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