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The human swarm : how our societies arise, thrive, and fall / Mark W. Moffett.

Moffett, Mark W., (author.).

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at LARL/NWRL Consortium.
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Lake Agassiz Regional Library. (Show preferred library)

Current holds

0 current holds with 1 total copy.

Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Moorhead Public Library 301 MOF (Text) 33500013050026 Main Available -

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780465055685
  • ISBN: 0465055680
  • ISBN: 9781541617292
  • ISBN: 1541617290
  • Physical Description: viii, 468 pages ; 25 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2019.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 367-448) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Affiliation and recognition. What a society isn't (and what it is) ; What vertebrates get out of being in a society ; On the move ; Individual recognition -- Anonymous societies. Ants and humans, apples and oranges ; The ultimate nationalists ; Anonymous humans -- Hunter-gatherers until recent times. Band societies ; The nomadic life ; Settling down -- The deep history of human anonymous societies. Pant hoots and passwords ; Sensing others ; Stereotypes and stories ; The great chain ; Grand unions ; Putting kin in their place -- Peace and conflict. Is conflict necessary? ; Playing well with others -- The life and death of societies. The lifecycle of societies ; The dynamic "us" ; Inventing foreigners and the death of societies -- Tribes to nations. Turning a village into a conquering society ; Building and breaking a nation -- From captive to global citizen? The rise of ethnicities ; Divided we stand ; The inevitability of societies -- Conclusion: identities shift and societies shatter -- Acknowledgments -- Notes -- References -- Index.
Summary, etc.:
The epic story and ultimate big history of how human society evolved from intimate chimp communities into the sprawling civilizations of a world-dominating species. If a chimpanzee ventures into the territory of a different group, it will almost certainly be killed. But a New Yorker can fly to Los Angeles--or Borneo--with very little fear. Psychologists have done little to explain this: for years, they have held that our biology puts a hard upper limit--about 150 people--on the size of our social groups. But human societies are in fact vastly larger. How do we manage--by and large--to get along with each other? In this paradigm-shattering book, biologist Mark W. Moffett draws on findings in psychology, sociology and anthropology to explain the social adaptations that bind societies. He explores how the tension between identity and anonymity defines how societies develop, function, and fail. Surpassing Guns, Germs, and Steel and Sapiens, The Human Swarm reveals how mankind created sprawling civilizations of unrivaled complexity--and what it will take to sustain them.

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2019 May #1
    Having tackled ant societies in Adventures among Ants (2010), Moffett broadens his focus to the societies of fauna generally, whether wasp, hamster, bonobo, or human. Ostensibly, he intends to show the striking similarities in between animals' social relations and humans'. Wider still, he aims to encourage a new "unified field of study of societies" across disciplines. In nine thematic sections, Moffett surveys countless aspects of social behavior in dozens of species. He asks how and why animals work together or against one another, how they define kith and kin, and how they form hierarchies. Several particularly engrossing passages revisit ants, with their intricate divisions of labor and supercolonies of astounding complexity. Insect, animal, and human society is a big topic, if it even is one topic, and the book suffers from its unreasonable breadth. Chapters jump and meander; terms remain frustratingly undefined. The book's clumsy treatment of human history reveals the shortcomings of its all-animal framework. It falls short of its grand ambitions, but its many illuminating anecdotes make it worthwhile for readers interested in the natural world. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Author Notes

Mark W. Moffett is a biologist and research associate at the Smithsonian, and a visiting scholar in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He has also authored four books. Called a "daring eco-adventurer" by Margaret Atwood, his writing has appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing and he has been a regular guest on The Colbert Report, Conan, NPR's Fresh Air, and CBS Sunday Morning.

Subject: Sociology.
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Evolution.
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural & Social.
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General.

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