The Resource The world until yesterday : what can we learn from traditional societies?, Jared Diamond

The world until yesterday : what can we learn from traditional societies?, Jared Diamond

The world until yesterday : what can we learn from traditional societies?
The world until yesterday
Title remainder
what can we learn from traditional societies?
Statement of responsibility
Jared Diamond
Overview: Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, human society had none of these things. While the gulf that divides us from our primitive ancestors may seem unbridgeably wide, we can glimpse much of our former lifestyle in those largely traditional societies still or recently in existence. Societies like those of the New Guinea Highlanders remind us that it was only yesterday-in evolutionary time-when everything changed and that we moderns still possess bodies and social practices often better adapted to traditional than to modern conditions. The World Until Yesterday provides a mesmerizing firsthand picture of the human past as it had been for millions of years-a past that has mostly vanished-and considers what the differences between that past and our present mean for our lives today. This is Jared Diamond's most personal book to date, as he draws extensively from his decades of field work in the Pacific islands, as well as evidence from Inuit, Amazonian Indians, Kalahari San people, and others. Diamond doesn't romanticize traditional societies-after all, we are shocked by some of their practices-but he finds that their solutions to universal human problems such as child rearing, elder care, dispute resolution, risk, and physical fitness have much to teach us. A characteristically provocative, enlightening, and entertaining book, The World Until Yesterday will be essential and delightful reading
Cataloging source
Dewey number
  • illustrations
  • maps
index present
LC call number
LC item number
D53 2012
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
The world until yesterday : what can we learn from traditional societies?, Jared Diamond
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. 471-481) and index
  • zbnus
  • mel
  • List of tables and figures -- Prologue: At the airport: -- Airport scene -- Why study traditional societies? -- States -- Types of traditional societies -- Approaches, causes, and sources -- Small book about a big subject -- Plan of the book -- Part 1: Setting The Stage By Dividing Space: -- Chapter 1: Friends, enemies, strangers, and traders: -- Boundary -- Mutually exclusive territories -- Non-exclusive land use -- Friends, enemies, and strangers -- First contacts -- Trade and traders -- Market economies -- Traditional forms of trade -- Traditional trade items -- Who trades what? -- Tiny nations -- Part 2: Peace And War: -- Chapter 2: Compensation for the death of a child: -- Accident -- Ceremony -- What if? -- What the state did -- New Guinea compensation -- Life-long relationships -- Other non-state societies -- State authority -- State civil justice -- Defects in state civil justice -- State criminal justice -- Restorative justice -- Advantages and their price -- Chapter 3: Shorter chapter, about a tiny war: -- Dani war -- War's time-line -- War's death toll -- Chapter 4: Longer chapter, about many wars: -- Definitions of war -- Sources of information -- Forms of traditional warfare -- Mortality rates -- Similarities and differences -- Ending warfare -- Effects of European contact -- Warlike animals, peaceful peoples -- Motives for traditional war -- Ultimate reasons - Whom do people fight? -- Forgetting Pearl Harbor -- Part 3: Young And Old: -- Chapter 5: Bringing up children: -- Comparisons of child-rearing -- Childbirth -- Infanticide -- Weaning and birth interval -- On-demand nursing -- Infant-adult contact -- Fathers and allo-parents -- Responses to crying infants -- Physical punishment -- Child autonomy -- Multi-age playgroups -- Child play and education -- Their kids and our kids -- Chapter 6: Treatment of old people: cherish, abandon, or kill?: -- Elderly -- Expectations about eldercare -- Why abandon or kill? -- Usefulness of old people -- Society's values -- Society's rules -- Better or worse today? -- What to do with older people? --
  • Part 4: Danger And Response: -- Chapter 7: Constructive paranoia: -- Attitudes towards danger -- Night visit -- Boat accident -- Just a stick in the ground -- Taking risks -- Risks and talkativeness -- Chapter 8: Lions and other dangers: -- Dangers of traditional life -- Accidents -- Vigilance -- Human violence -- Diseases -- Responses to diseases -- Starvation -- Unpredictable food shortages -- Scatter your land -- Seasonality and food storage -- Diet broadening -- Aggregation and dispersal -- Responses to danger -- Part 5: Religion, Language, And Health: -- Chapter 9: What electric eels tell us about the evolution of religion: -- Questions about religion -- Definitions of religion -- Functions and electric eels -- Search for causal explanations -- Supernatural beliefs -- Religion's function of explanation -- Defusing anxiety-- Providing comfort -- Organization and obedience -- Codes of behavior towards strangers -- Justifying war -- Badges of commitment -- Measures of religious success -- Changes in religion's functions -- Chapter 10: Speaking in many tongues: -- Multilingualism -- World's language total -- How languages evolve -- Geography of language diversity -- Traditional multilingualism -- Benefits of bilingualism -- Alzheimer's disease -- Vanishing languages -- How languages disappear -- Are minority languages harmful? -- Why preserve languages? -- How can we protect languages? -- Chapter 11: Salt, sugar, fat, and sloth: -- Non-communicable diseases -- Our salt intake -- Salt and blood pressure -- Causes of hypertension -- Dietary sources of salt -- Diabetes -- Types of diabetes -- Genes, environment, and diabetes -- Pima Indians and Nauru Islanders -- Diabetes in India -- Benefits of genes for diabetes -- Why is diabetes low in Europeans? -- Future of non-communicable diseases -- Epilogue: At another airport: -- From the jungle to the 405 -- Advantages of the modern world -- Advantages of the traditional world -- What can we learn? -- Acknowledgments -- Further readings -- Index -- Illustration credits
Control code
25 cm
xi, 499 p., [32] p. of plates
Other physical details
ill. (some col.), maps
System control number
  • (OCoLC)793726658
  • pd28531760

Library Locations

    • Deakin University Library - Melbourne Burwood CampusBorrow it
      221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria, 3125, AU
      -37.846510 145.115099
    • Deakin University Library - Geelong Waurn Ponds CampusBorrow it
      75 Pigdons Road, Waurn Ponds, Victoria, 3216, AU
      -38.195656 144.304955
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