Evolving Complexity And Environmental Risk In The Prehistoric Southwest: EVOLVING COMPLEXITY…

Paperback | January 1, 1996

byJoseph A. TainterEditorBonnie Bagley Tainter, EDITOR *

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Cultural behavior exhibits many of the features of complex adaptive systems, but is in some ways distinctive. Cultural complexity is enigmatic, improbable, and difficult to maintain. It constrains behavior, limits understanding of processes, and imposes economic burdens. The advantages of complexity are modified by human cognition and limited by economic and environmental costs. This book explores in detail how and why prehistoric Southwestern societies changed in complexity, and thus offers important new perspectives on the evolution of culture.The papers discuss the factors that made prehistoric Southwesterners vulnerable to an arid environment, and their strategies to lessen risk and stress. The topics of the book link Southwestern data to fields such as economics, climatology, and evolutionary theory. In addition to a readership of archaeologists and anthropologists, this volume will be of interest to specialists in these related fields and to those concerned with complex adaptive systems and the work of the Santa Fe Institute.

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Cultural behavior exhibits many of the features of complex adaptive systems, but is in some ways distinctive. Cultural complexity is enigmatic, improbable, and difficult to maintain. It constrains behavior, limits understanding of processes, and imposes economic burdens. The advantages of complexity are modified by human cognition and ...

Joseph A. Tainter is project leader of Cultural Heritage Research, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has taught anthropology at the University of New Mexico, and is the author or editor of many articles and monographs. His book The Collapse of Complex Societies develops a long-standing rese...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:284 pages, 9.13 × 6.38 × 0.67 inPublished:January 1, 1996Publisher:Westview Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0201870401

ISBN - 13:9780201870404

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