SNAPSHOT: “The Sources of Social Power Vol. 1”, M. Mann

From Publisher

Distinguishing four sources of power in human societies – ideological, economic, military, and political – The Sources of Social Power traces their interrelations throughout human history. In this first volume, Michael Mann examines inter-relations between these elements from neolithic times, through ancient Near Eastern civilizations, the classical Mediterranean age, and medieval Europe, up to just before the Industrial Revolution in England. It offers explanations of the emergence of the state and social stratification; of city-states, militaristic empires, and the persistent interaction between them; of the world salvation religions; and of the particular dynamism of medieval and early modern Europe. It ends by generalizing about the nature of overall social development, the varying forms of social cohesion, and the role of classes and class struggle in history. First published in 1986, this new edition of volume 1 includes a new preface by the author examining the impact and legacy of the work.

Volume 1 A history of power from the beginning to AD 1760, Michael Mann, 2012 (Agrarian Societies)

Distinguishing four sources of power in human societies – ideological, economic, military and political – The Sources of Social Power traces their interrelations throughout human history. In this first volume, Michael Mann examines interrelations between these elements from neolithic times, through ancient Near Eastern civilizations, the classical Mediterranean age and medieval Europe, up to just before the Industrial Revolution in England. It offers explanations of the emergence of the state and social stratification; of city-states, militaristic empires and the persistent interaction between them; of the world salvation religions; and of the particular dynamism of medieval and early modern Europe. It ends by generalizing about the nature of overall social development, the varying forms of social cohesion and the role of classes and class struggle in history. First published in 1986, this new edition of Volume 1 includes a new preface by the author examining the impact and legacy of the work.

Vol 2 Industrial Societies The Rise of Classes and Nation-States, 1760–1914

Distinguishing four sources of power in human societies – ideological, economic, military and political – The Sources of Social Power traces their interrelations throughout human history. This second volume deals with power relations between the Industrial Revolution and the First World War, focusing on France, Great Britain, Hapsburg Austria, Prussia/Germany and the United States. Based on considerable empirical research, it provides original theories of the rise of nations and nationalism, of class conflict, of the modern state and of modern militarism. While not afraid to generalize, it also stresses social and historical complexity. Michael Mann sees human society as ‘a patterned mess’ and attempts to provide a sociological theory appropriate to this, his final chapter giving an original explanation of the causes of the First World War. First published in 1993, this new edition of Volume 2 includes a new preface by the author examining the impact and legacy of the work.

Vol 3 Global Empires and Revolution 1890-1945

Distinguishing four sources of power – ideological, economic, military and political – this series traces their interrelations throughout human history. This third volume of Michael Mann’s analytical history of social power begins with nineteenth-century global empires and continues with a global history of the twentieth century up to 1945. Mann focuses on the interrelated development of capitalism, nation-states and empires. Volume 3 discusses the ‘Great Divergence’ between the fortunes of the West and the rest of the world; the self-destruction of European and Japanese power in two world wars; the Great Depression; the rise of American and Soviet power; the rivalry between capitalism, socialism and fascism; and the triumph of a reformed and democratic capitalism.

Vol 4 Globalizations 1945-2011

Distinguishing four sources of power – ideological, economic, military and political – this series traces their interrelations throughout human history. This fourth volume covers the period from 1945 to the present, focusing on the three major pillars of post-war global order: capitalism, the nation-state system and the sole remaining empire of the world, the United States. In the course of this period, capitalism, nation-states and empires interacted with one another and were transformed. Mann’s key argument is that globalization is not just a single process, because there are globalizations of all four sources of social power, each of which has a different rhythm of development. Topics include the rise and beginnings of decline of the American Empire, the fall or transformation of communism (respectively, the Soviet Union and China), the shift from neo-Keynesianism to neoliberalism, and the three great crises emerging in this period – nuclear weapons, the great recession and climate change.

Table of Contents

Preface to the new edition page vii
Preface xxv
1 Societies as organized power networks 1
2 The end of general social evolution: how prehistoric peoples evaded power 34
3 The emergence of stratification, states, and multi-power-actor civilization in Mesopotamia 73
4 A comparative analysis of the emergence of stratification, states, and multi-power-actor civilizations 105
5 The first empires of domination: the dialectics of compulsory cooperation 130
6 “Indo-Europeans” and iron: expanding, diversified power networks 179
7 Phoenicians and Greeks: decentralized multi-power-actor civilizations 190
8 Revitalized empires of domination: Assyria and Persia 231
9 The Roman territorial empire 250
10 Ideology transcendent: the Christian ecumene 301
11 A comparative excursus into the world religions: Confucianism, Islam, and (especially) Hindu caste 341
12 The European dynamic: I. The intensive phase, A.D. 800–1155 373
13 The European dynamic: II. The rise of coordinating states, 1155–1477 416
14 The European dynamic: III. International capitalism and organic national states, 1477–1760 450
15 European conclusions: explaining European dynamism – capitalism, Christendom, and states 500
16 Patterns of world-historical development in agrarian societies

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One thought on “SNAPSHOT: “The Sources of Social Power Vol. 1”, M. Mann

  1. I’d be very interested in your reading of Sarah Ruden’s Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time.

    The book is about a decade old, now, and it was written for a popular audience, but it explores many of the same themes as does the scholarship you’re exploring — i.e. how understanding the social and political context of the first century gives us a quite different Paul than, say, the 16th century Reformers imagined.

    I’d love to see how it measures up.

    Like

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