Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society

ISBN-10: 0521339626
ISBN-13: 9780521339629
Edition: 1986
Authors: Jack Goody
List price: $45.99 Buy it from $6.24
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Description: This book assesses the impact of writing on human societies, both in the Ancient Near East and in contemporary Africa, and highlights some general features of social systems that have been influenced by this major change in the mode of  More...

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Book details

List price: $45.99
Copyright year: 1986
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/18/1986
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 232
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.550
Language: English

This book assesses the impact of writing on human societies, both in the Ancient Near East and in contemporary Africa, and highlights some general features of social systems that have been influenced by this major change in the mode of communication. Such features are central to any attempt at the theoretical definition of human society and such constituent phenomena as religious and legal systems, and in this study Professor Goody explores the role of a specific mechanism, the introduction of writing and the development of a written tradition, in the explanation of some important social differences and similarities. Goody argues that a shift of emphasis from productive to certain communicative processes is essential to account adequately for major changes in human societies. Whilst there have been previous descussions of the effect of literacy upon social organisation, no study has hitherto presented the general synthesis developed here.

Studies in Literacy, Family, Culture and the State: an introduction
Preface
The word of God
The concept of 'a'/'the' religion
Boundaries
Change
Obsolescence
Incorporation or conversion
Universalism and particularism
Cognitive contradictions in the general and the specific
Specialization: priests and intellectuals
Endowment and alienation
The twin bureaucracies
Organizational and structural autonomony
The Great and Little Traditions: spirit cults and world religions
Writing and religion in Ancient Egypt
Writing and religion in other early civilizations
Ritual and writing
The word of mammon
The origin of writing and the ancient economy
Writing and the temple economy
Writing and the palace economy
Writing and the mercantile economy
Writing and individual transactions
Writing and the economy in Africa
The state, the bureau and the file
Bureaucracies
The administration of early states with writing
Internal administration
External administration
The administration of states without writing
External administration
Internal administration
Writing in the colonial and national administrations
Writing and the political process
The letter of the law
The definition of law
Courts, constables and codes
Sources of law and changes of rule
Legal reasoning
Court organization
Legal forms
The expansion of writing and law in medieval England
The letter and the spirit of the law
Ruptures and continuities
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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