Unit-3 Society Through the Ages - Global Perspective

In this unit we intend to give you the broadest possible survey of human history.

What are the main stages of human history and the principal activities in those stages?

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Learning Pundits Content Team

Written on Apr 15, 2019 6:57:46 PM

The history of humankind may be said to have passed through three stages: (i) hunting-gathering, (ii) agrarian, and (iii) industrial.

Each of these is characterized by a distinct type of society. But it is important to recognize that a great deal of diversity also prevails within each of these societies.

Ex : agrarian society may be defined as one in which food production constitutes the major activity. In this sense the agrarian society is distinguishable from, the hunting and gathering society (in which agriculture did not exist) and the industrial society in which food production ceased to be the most important occupation.

The industrial society has been with us for barely three centuries and has developed important variants:

(a) capitalist industrial society (in which the production process is controlled by the market);

(b) the socialist industrial society (also called the command economy, in which the production process is planned and controlled by the political institutions)

Three types of activities have remained central to all the three stages with varying levels of emphasis - production, coercion and cognition. The degree of importance that they enjoy in each stage varies.

1.In the first stage (hunting and gathering) activity two and three (coercion and cognition) have no meaning and simply do not exist. The major burden of human activity in this stage is exhausted by food procurement.

2.Coercion as an activity is dependent upon a division of labour. Since there is no (or not much) division of labour at this stage, there is no coercion.

3.Cognition as an activity is dependent upon the existence of written words or the existence of a class of people (clergy, Ulema, Brahmin) committed to the generation and dissemination of ideas.

The transition from stage one to stage two is generally understood as the Neolithic evolution and that from stage two to stage three is known as the Industrial Revolution.

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