glyph 630: Emmanuel Todd, anthropolgist, anthropology, family types . book . history of humanity from stone age to homo americanus ... James C. Bennett, review in Quadrant magazine (online) ... globalisation 2.0 to 3.0


Emmanuel Todd's Evolution of Lineages of Modernity: A History of Humanity

reviewed by James C. Bennett, for Quadrant, March 2021

French anthropologist Emmanuel Todd applies a theory of family types to understanding the history of humanity. James C. Bennett reviews the book in March 2021 for Quadrant magazine (online).

The book was published in June 2019 in the USA by Wiley. They write:

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.

James C. Bennett's review was published in Quadrant magaine (online) in March 2021:

Bennett begins:

Over recent decades a plethora of books aimed at the general reader has sought to explain the success of the West and the reasons for the gap between Western achievements and the rest of the world. These attempts are welcome, and fill a need, but many of them suffer from the handicap of, in effect, reinventing the wheel—with many of them still undecided as to whether wheels ought to be square or round. We see economists or biologists taking it upon themselves to do an anthropologist's job, often apparently unaware that an extensive social science literature on the origins of modernity and the industrial revolution is already in existence. When anthropology is cited, it is often done in a haphazard way.

Given this situation, the publication of Emmanuel Todd's Lineages of Modernity: A History of Humanity from the Stone Age to Homo Americanus is a welcome and overdue milestone. Todd (pictured above), a demographer and historical anthropologist at Institut National d'études Démographiques in Paris, is a public figure in the French tradition of the engaged intellectual. In the 1970s he correctly predicted the demise of the Soviet Union, one of the first serious commentators to do so.

Bennett's review as a pdf:
April 17, 2021

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