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The Sources of Social Power

Volume 1. A History of Power from the Beginning to AD 1760

2nd Edition


  • Date Published: November 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107635975

£ 27.99

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • The first edition won the American Sociological Association's Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Reviews of the first edition: 'The ambition of the conception is, against all conventional expectations, matched by the clarity and grandeur of the execution.' The Times Literary Supplement

    'This work offers a treasure trove of facts and interpretations that will be useful to readers in many disciplines …' Choice

    'This is a book in the grand Weberian tradition. Mann's conceptual skills and historical grasp are virtuosic and the scope of his enterprise is truly impressive.' Politics and Society

    '… an impressively learned, wise, and judicious study. It is a major work – perhaps a great work – and will be a landmark, for sure.' William H. McNeill, University of Chicago

    '… a unique brand of historical sociology that is refreshingly iconoclastic, remarkably complex, and breathtakingly ambitious … a must-read for comparative and historical sociologists.' Contemporary Sociology

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: November 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107635975
    • length: 578 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 36 mm
    • weight: 0.77kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface to the second edition
    1. Societies as organized power networks
    2. The end of general social evolution: how prehistoric peoples evaded power
    3. The emergence of stratification, states and multi-power-actor civilisation in Mesopotamia
    4. A comparative analysis of the emergence of stratification, states and multi-power-actor civilisations
    5. The first empires of domination: the dialectics of compulsory cooperation
    6. 'Indo-Europeans' and iron: expanding, diversified power networks
    7. Phoenicians and Greeks: decentralized multi-power-actor civilisations
    8. Revitalized empires of domination: Assyria and Persia
    9. The Roman territorial empire
    10. Ideology transcendent: the Christian ecumene
    11. A comparative excursus into the world religions: Confucianism, Islam, and (especially) Hindu caste
    12. The European dynamic: I. the intensive phase, AD 800–1155
    13. The European dynamics: II. the rise of coordinating states, 1155–1477
    14. The European dynamic: III. international capitalism and organic national states, 1477–1760
    15. European conclusions: explaining European dynamism – capitalism, Christendom, and states
    16. Patterns of world-historical development in agrarian societies

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Comparative and Historical Methods
    • Law and Politics in the Global Economy: The IPE of Regulation
    • States and Nations in the Middle East in Global Perspective
  • Author

    Michael Mann, University of California, Los Angeles
    Michael Mann is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Power in the 21st Century: Conversations with John Hall (2011), Incoherent Empire (2003) and Fascists (Cambridge University Press, 2004). His book The Dark Side of Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2004) was awarded the Barrington Moore Award of the American Sociological Association for the best book in comparative and historical sociology in 2006.

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