Societal collapse (also known as civilizational collapse) is the fall of a complex human society characterized by the loss of cultural identity and of socioeconomic complexity, the downfall of government, and the rise of violence. Possible causes of a societal collapse include natural catastrophe, war, pestilence, famine, and depopulation. A collapsed society may revert to a more primitive state, be absorbed into a stronger society, or completely disappear.
Virtually all civilizations have suffered this fate regardless of size or complexity. But some revived and transformed, such as China and Egypt, while others never recovered, such as the Mayan Empire and the civilization on Easter Island. Societal collapse is generally a quick process, but rarely abrupt. Yet some have not collapsed but have only gradually faded away, as in the case of the British Empire since 1918.
Anthropologists, (quantitative) historians, and sociologists have proposed a variety of explanations for the collapse of civilizations involving causative factors such as environmental change, depletion of resources, unsustainable complexity, decay of social cohesion, rising inequality, secular decline of cognitive abilities, loss of creativity, and misfortune. However, complete extinction of a culture is rare; in most cases, the new societies that arise from the ashes of the old one are evidently its offspring, despite a dramatic reduction in sophistication. Moreover, the influence of a collapsed society, say that of the Roman Empire, may linger on long after its death.
Societal collapse is studied by specialists of history, anthropology, sociology, and political science. More recently, they are joined by experts in cliodynamics and study of complex systems.
- "Societal Collapse" | 2021-01-03 | 73 Upvotes 85 Comments
The Inglehart–Welzel cultural map of the world is a map, or more precisely, a scatter plot created by political scientists Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel based on the World Values Survey. It depicts closely linked cultural values that vary between societies in two predominant dimensions: traditional versus secular-rational values on the vertical y-axis and survival versus self-expression values on the horizontal x-axis. Moving upward on this map reflects the shift from traditional values to secular-rational ones and moving rightward reflects the shift from survival values to self-expression values.
According to the authors: "These two dimensions explain more than 70 percent of the cross-national variance in a factor analysis of ten indicators—and each of these dimensions is strongly correlated with scores of other important orientations."
The authors stress that socio-economic status is not the sole factor determining a country's location, as their religious and cultural historical heritage is also an important factor.
- "Inglehart–Welzel cultural map of the world" | 2020-04-18 | 82 Upvotes 40 Comments
The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU) was an experimental cultural theorist collective formed in late 1995 at Warwick University, England and gradually separated from academia until it dissolved in 2003. It garnered reputation for its idiosyncratic and surreal "theory-fiction" which incorporated cyberpunk and Gothic horror, and its work has since had an online cult following related to the rise in popularity of accelerationism. Warwick University maintains that the CCRU was never a sanctioned academic project, with some faculty going so far as to assert that the CCRU "has never existed". The CCRU are strongly associated with their former leading members, Sadie Plant, Mark Fisher and Nick Land.
- "Cybernetic Culture Research Unit" | 2023-05-13 | 82 Upvotes 39 Comments
Euro English or European English, less commonly known as EU English and EU Speak, is a pidgin dialect of English based on the technical jargon of the European Union and the native languages of its non-native English speaking population. It is mostly used among EU staff, expatriates from EU countries, young international travellers (such as exchange students in the EU’s Erasmus programme), European diplomats, and sometimes by other Europeans that use English as a second or foreign language (especially Continental Europeans).
- "Euro English" | 2020-10-04 | 39 Upvotes 27 Comments
Mono no aware (物の哀れ), literally "the pathos of things", and also translated as "an empathy toward things", or "a sensitivity to ephemera", is a Japanese idiom for the awareness of impermanence (無常, mujō), or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life.
- "Mono No Aware" | 2022-05-05 | 27 Upvotes 4 Comments
The Barbie Liberation Organization or BLO, sponsored by RTMark, were a group of artists and activists involved in culture jamming. They gained notoriety in 1993 after switching voice boxes in talking G.I. Joes and Barbie dolls. The BLO performed "surgery" on a reported 300–500 dolls from retail and returned them to shelves, an action they refer to as shopgiving. Thus, Teen Talk Barbie dolls would say phrases such as "Vengeance is mine", while G.I. Joe dolls would say phrases such as "The beach is the place for summer!"
- "Barbie Liberation Organization" | 2022-12-17 | 17 Upvotes 1 Comments
The Cultural Revolution, formally the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a sociopolitical movement in China from 1966 until 1976. Launched by Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Communist Party of China (CPC), its stated goal was to preserve Chinese Communism by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society, and to re-impose Mao Zedong Thought (known outside China as Maoism) as the dominant ideology in the CPC. The Revolution marked Mao's return to the central position of power in China after a period of less radical leadership to recover from the failures of the Great Leap Forward, which led to approximately 30 million deaths in the Great Chinese Famine only five years prior.
Launching the movement in May 1966 with the help of the Cultural Revolution Group, Mao soon called on young people to "bombard the headquarters", and proclaimed that "to rebel is justified". In order to eliminate his rivals within the CPC and in schools, factories, and government institutions, Mao charged that bourgeois elements had infiltrated the government and society with the aim of restoring capitalism. He insisted that revisionists be removed through violent class struggle, to which China's youth, as well as urban workers, responded by forming Red Guards and "rebel groups" around the country. They would begin to hold struggle sessions regularly, and grab power from local governments and CPC branches, eventually establishing the revolutionary committees in 1967. The groups often split into rival factions, however, becoming involved in 'violent struggles' (simplified Chinese: 武斗; traditional Chinese: 武鬥; pinyin: wǔdòu), to which the People's Liberation Army had to be sent to restore order.
Having compiled a selection of Mao's sayings into the Little Red Book, which became a sacred text for Mao's personality cult, Lin Biao, Vice Chairman of the CPC, was written into the constitution as Mao's successor. In 1969, Mao suggested the end of the Cultural Revolution. However, the Revolution's active phase would last until at least 1971, when Lin Biao, accused of a botched coup against Mao, fled and died in a plane crash. In 1972, the Gang of Four rose to power and the Cultural Revolution continued. After Mao's death and the arrest of the Gang of Four in 1976, the Cultural Revolution finally came to an end.
The Cultural Revolution damaged China's economy and traditional culture, with an estimated death toll ranging from hundreds of thousands to 20 million. Beginning with the Red August of Beijing, massacres took place across China, including the Guangxi Massacre, in which massive cannibalism also occurred; the Inner Mongolia incident; the Guangdong Massacre; the Yunnan Massacres; and the Hunan Massacres. Red Guards destroyed historical relics and artifacts, as well as ransacking cultural and religious sites. The 1975 Banqiao Dam failure, one of the world's greatest technological catastrophes, also occurred during the Cultural Revolution. Meanwhile, tens of millions of people were persecuted: senior officials, most notably Chinese president Liu Shaoqi, along with Deng Xiaoping, Peng Dehuai, and He Long, were purged or exiled; millions were accused of being members of the Five Black Categories, suffering public humiliation, imprisonment, torture, hard labor, seizure of property, and sometimes execution or harassment into suicide; intellectuals were considered the "Stinking Old Ninth" and were widely persecuted—notable scholars and scientists such as Lao She, Fu Lei, Yao Tongbin, and Zhao Jiuzhang were killed or committed suicide. Schools and universities were closed with the college entrance exams cancelled. Over 10 million urban intellectual youths were sent to the countryside in the Down to the Countryside Movement.
In 1978, Deng Xiaoping became the new paramount leader of China and started the "Boluan Fanzheng" program which gradually dismantled the Maoist policies associated with the Cultural Revolution, and brought the country back to order. Deng then began a new phase of China by initiating the historic Reforms and Opening-Up program. In 1981, the Communist Party of China declared that the Cultural Revolution was "responsible for the most severe setback and the heaviest losses suffered by the Party, the country, and the people since the founding of the People's Republic."
- "Cultural Revolution" | 2020-08-08 | 15 Upvotes 1 Comments