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Macrohistory and Macrohistorians: Perspectives on Individual, Social and Civilizational Change
By Johan Galtung and Sohail Inayatullah
Praeger, London, 1997
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.
Length: 274 pages