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The Author’s Main Argument
In his article, Flannery (1972) presented the discussion of how ancient societies developed in the context of analyzing two opposite views associated with ecologists’ and humanists’ approaches. The author’s main argument is that humanists’ views regarding the ecological approach are not appropriate, and these researchers should also refer to ecologists’ ideas, as well as ecologists should accept the importance of culture because the ecosystem approach covers both natural and cultural phenomena in societies’ development. Thus, in his article, the author promotes the idea that a multivariate model of developing the state in the context of ecological views is most appropriate.
The Development of the Main Argument
It is important to note that Flannery (1972) started the development of his key idea by emphasizing the debates around the topic of complex societies’ progress. Thus, he provided the background for his argument while stating that researchers usually view the ecological approach as inappropriate and inadequate for analyzing the variety of complex societies. As a result, this method of developing the discussion allowed the author to present his argument as a response to the existing debates.
Flannery (1972) also defined the key concept of civilization that he actively applied in his study. This approach helped the author to build a conceptual framework for his analysis. As a result, it is possible to state that the introductory part of the article was effectively used by the author to present his key idea and then concentrate on its development and support with the help of evidence.
Following the key stages of developing his thought, Flannery (1972) continued his discussion by describing types of societies from the simplest ones to complex states. Thus, the author focused on describing egalitarian societies concerning the specifics of bands and tribes in the context of the ecological approach. Then, the researcher provided a detailed discussion of chiefdoms and the problem of hereditary inequality concerning various cultural theories.
The next step was the discussion of complex forms of societies, including stratified societies or states. At this stage, it was important to accentuate prime movers that are traditionally viewed by researchers as triggers for the development of states. However, Flannery (1972) criticized these movers while supporting his key argument and stating that the actual process of developing a higher society is complicated, and it involves both ecological and cultural aspects. As a result, he introduced the idea of multivariant causality.
After analyzing the evolution of societies from the simplest forms to more complex variants, Flannery (1972) referred to the idea of multivariant causality as the model for developing the state that can include both ecological and cultural components. The author developed the idea while discussing such important processes as segregation and centralization among other ones because they can potentially influence the progress of states.
Furthermore, Flannery (1972) developed his idea of the evolution of societies while providing evidence to state that the simplest forms of societies develop into higher forms not only because of ecological processes but also because of cultural ones that are based on sharing information. Thus, it is possible to note that the theorist paid much attention to accentuating the multivariate character of his model as his specific vision of the evolutionary theory. This step helped the author to improve his theoretical discussion and add more details.
Also, in the final parts of his work, Flannery (1972) focused on discussing two important socio-environmental processes in the context of the evolutionary theory, which can influence the development of societies, which are promotion and linearisation. The key principles of these processes were also presented in figures and tables to accentuate their role in the evolution of numerous different societies.
Finally, when summarising the results of his study and providing the key assumptions of his theory, Flannery (1972) formulated a list of rules that are important to understand how civilizations can develop in the context of the evolutionary theory and the author’s unique multivariate model. From this point, referring to his main argument, the author accentuated the role of ecological or environmental processes and cultural factors in the development of societies. The article presented the development of ideas from basic ones to the complex model.
The Opinion Regarding the Argument
Analyzing Flannery’s (1972) argument and concluding regarding its persuasiveness, it is possible to state that the author’s model and its discussion are effective and supported by other researchers in the field. From this point, it is necessary to refer to Diamond’s (2017) ideas that seem to be based on Flannery’s (1972) views. Thus, the author of the discussed article is convincing because his key ideas are reflected in other works on the problem of states’ evolution.
In his work, Diamond (2017) promotes the idea that environmental differences between societies are key factors to influence their development in terms of culture and the progress of technology. Certain ecological factors contributed to the progress of some states in terms of their culture. As a result, it is almost impossible to regard environmental factors without referring to cultural aspects.
Thus, some societies are predisposed to the cultural progress in comparison to other societies. Still, it is impossible to refer only to environmental situations or cultural achievements to analyze the outcomes of evolution. The ideas of Flannery (1972) regarding the importance of multivariant causality seem to influence Diamond’s (2017) influential conclusions about the development of some societies in contrast to others.
While concluding on the presentation of Flannery’s argument in his article, it is critical to note that the researcher succeeded in logically developing his ideas. He used an effective approach to providing his view as a response to the debates, and he also offered a step-by-step development of his argument into a strong theoretical model that is supported by figures and evidence. Additionally, even though the discussed multivariate model was introduced by the author in the 1970s, it is still reflected in other theorists’ works.
This fact allows for speaking about the appropriateness of this evolutionary model because it includes several important factors that seem to contradict each other (ecological and cultural ones), and that is why they need to be addressed as a complex. The author of the article chose to discuss the causation in the question of developing societies from a unique perspective that was not previously applied by other researchers in the field. It became possible to achieve success and present a detailed theoretical model that can reflect different perspectives in the most efficient manner. Despite some controversial aspects, the flow of thoughts presented in the article is rather logical and convincing.
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Diamond, J. (2017). Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies (20th ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Flannery, K. V. (1972). The cultural evolution of civilizations. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 3(1), 399-426.