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The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society : Studies in Literacy, the Family, Culture and the State - Jack Goody

The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society

Studies in Literacy, the Family, Culture and the State

Paperback Published: 16th February 1987
ISBN: 9780521339629
Number Of Pages: 232

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This book assesses the impact of writing on human societies, both in the Ancient Near East and in twentieth-century 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.

'This is a stimulating, thought-provoking book, full of insights which make one think about a whole range of material in a different way. Risky? Yes. Flawed? Probably. Necessary? Undoubtedly.' The Times Higher Education Supplement 'The four major chapters are densely packed with details and comparisons. They attest to Goody's rich learning, and they have much to tell readers.' American Anthropologist

Studies in Literacy, Family, Culture and the State: an introductionp. vii
Prefacep. xi
The word of Godp. 1
The concept of 'a'/'the' religionp. 4
Boundariesp. 4
Changep. 6
Obsolescencep. 8
Incorporation or conversionp. 10
Universalism and particularismp. 10
Cognitive contradictions in the general and the specificp. 13
Specialization: priests and intellectualsp. 16
Endowment and alienationp. 18
The twin bureaucraciesp. 19
Organizational and structural autonomonyp. 20
The Great and Little Traditions: spirit cults and world religionsp. 22
Writing and religion in Ancient Egyptp. 26
Writing and religion in other early civilizationsp. 35
Ritual and writingp. 42
The word of mammonp. 45
The origin of writing and the ancient economyp. 48
Writing and the temple economyp. 55
Writing and the palace economyp. 62
Writing and the mercantile economyp. 71
Writing and individual transactionsp. 77
Writing and the economy in Africap. 82
The state, the bureau and the filep. 87
Bureaucraciesp. 89
The administration of early states with writingp. 92
Internal administrationp. 93
External administrationp. 97
The administration of states without writingp. 99
External administrationp. 100
Internal administrationp. 103
Writing in the colonial and national administrationsp. 113
Writing and the political processp. 119
The letter of the lawp. 127
The definition of lawp. 129
Courts, constables and codesp. 132
Sources of law and changes of rulep. 135
Legal reasoningp. 140
Court organizationp. 142
Legal formsp. 144
The expansion of writing and law in medieval Englandp. 159
The letter and the spirit of the lawp. 165
Ruptures and continuitiesp. 171
Notesp. 186
Bibliographyp. 194
Indexp. 206
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521339629
ISBN-10: 0521339626
Series: Studies in Literacy, the Family, Culture and the State
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 232
Published: 16th February 1987
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 13.8  x 1.3
Weight (kg): 0.25