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Lineages of Modernity: A History of Humanity from the Stone Age to Homo Americanus

Hardcover

$45.00

Lineages of Modernity: A History of Humanity from the Stone Age to Homo Americanus

Emmanuel Todd

ISBN: 978-1-509-53447-0 July 2019 Polity 370 Pages

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Description

In most developed countries there is a palpable sense of confusion about the contemporary state of the world. Much that was taken for granted a decade or two ago is being questioned, and there is a widespread urge to try and understand how we reached our present situation, and where we are heading.

In this major new book, the leading sociologist, historical anthropologist and demographer Emmanuel Todd sheds fresh light on our current predicament by reconstructing the historical dynamics of human societies from the Stone Age to the present. Eschewing the tendency to attribute special causal significance to the economy, Todd develops an anthropological account of history, focusing on the long-term dynamics of family systems and their links to religion and ideology – what he sees as the slow-moving, unconscious level of society, in contrast to the conscious level of the economy and politics. He also analyses the dramatic changes brought about by the spread of education. This enables him to explain the different historical trajectories of the advanced nations and the growing divergence between them, a divergence that can be observed in such phenomena as the rise of the Anglosphere in the modern period, the paradox of a Homo americanus who is both innovative and archaic, the startling electoral success of Donald Trump, the lack of realism in the will to power shown by Germany and China, the emergence of stable authoritarian democracy in Russia, the new introversion of Japan and the recent turbulent developments in Europe, including Brexit.

This magisterial account of human history brings into sharp focus the massive transformations taking place in the world today and shows that these transformations have less to do with the supposedly homogenizing effects of globalization and the various reactions to it than with an ethnic diversity that is deeply rooted in the long history of human evolution.

  • Preface to the English edition
  • Introduction. The differentiation of family structures and the inverse model of history
  • Chapter One. The differentiation of family systems: Eurasia
  • Chapter Two. The differentiation of family systems: Indian America and Africa
  • Chapter Three. Homo sapiens
  • Chapter Four. Judaism and early Christianity: family and literacy
  • Chapter Five. Germany, Protestantism and universal literacy
  • Chapter Seven. Educational take-off and economic development
  • Chapter Eight. Secularization and the crisis of transition
  • Chapter Nine. The English matrix of globalization
  • Chapter Ten. Homo americanus
  • Chapter Eleven. Democracy is always primitive
  • Chapter Twelve. Democracy undermined by higher education
  • Chapter Thirteen. A crisis in Black and White
  • Chapter Fourteen: Donald Trump as will and representation
  • Chapter Fifteen. The memory of places
  • Chapter Sixteen. Stem family societies: Germany and Japan Chapter Seventeen. The metamorphosis of Europe
  • Chapter Eighteen. Communitarian societies: Russia and China
  • Envoi
  • Post-script: the future of liberal democracy
  • Notes
  • Index

To the study of the United States, the Soviet Union and France, Emmanuel Todd has brought a unique combination of empirical rigour and humanist insight. Now, in Lineages of Modernity, this great thinker has found his greatest subject.’
Michael Lind, author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States

‘Emmanuel Todd provides intellectual nourishment of the first order. His family-based, anthropological-historical account uncovers another part of the hidden wiring of human development and provides a welcome antidote to the relentless economism of so much contemporary analysis. And for those of us unfamiliar with the Todd perspective, he writes with clarity and erudition, marshalling a huge amount of evidence to provide a fresh but undogmatic perspective on the modern world, usually with half an eye on the ancient one.’
David Goodhart, member of the Policy Exchange think-tank and author of The Road to Somewhere: The New Tribes Shaping British Politics

‘Emmanuel Todd is an internationally known scholar whose work on the development and influence of family systems around the world has challenged many preconceptions. This is a bold, iconoclastic, wide-ranging study, marshalling a great deal of material from history, anthropology, demography and other disciplines. It is written from an unusual angle and rightly challenges the primacy of economic forces, emphasizing instead the role of family systems, ideology, education and culture in the shaping of human history. There is much to learn from this work.’
Alan Macfarlane, Life Fellow, King’s College, Cambridge

‘Vast and mind-expanding’
The Independent