I think the word civilization as used by me is OK since it is in the dictionary. This is all
wonderful but ...

John wrote:
Mark wrote

> Merely a different/variant meaning of the word "civilization". I
> was not aware that its meaning was "farm based human settlement".
> I just checked the dictionary and like the usage of the
> word "culture" to refer even to animal societies (even the word
> society likely referred at one time only to human groupings) I am
> ok using the word the way I did.

Mark, civilisation comes from the Latin "civilis" from "civis"
meaning a citizen of a city.  The "Code Civilis" was the legal code
proclaimed by Emperor Justinian and to civilise meant to bring people
to the city and live according to a code of law.  A "civil-iz-ation"
is the state formed (-ation) through the process of (-iz-) bringing
people as citizens in a city (civilis).  My dictionary thus
gives "making or becoming civilised, a state formed in this process,
stage, especially and advanced stage in human development, civilised

You may be interested in an analysis of civilisations that I have
just had published at Murdoch University ---

"Clearly the Babylonians, like us, were an example of that type of
culture called "civilisations". Arnold Toynbee in his
monumental "Study of History" convincingly "established civilisations
as the accepted units for the study of world history" (Pomper, 1998,
pp.3-4).  By comparison to those who portray the subject of History
as that of the "Nation State" the natural "unit" of study"  he shows
this gives a view of the world from an ethnocentric and nationalistic
point of view.  But what is a civilisation?    The Art Historian
Kenneth Clarke (1969) defining civilisation suggests that it was the
confidence in a persistent future brought about by a degree of
prosperity (p.4).  The historian William McNeill
defined "civilisation to denote a variety of groups with quite
different socio-cultural characteristics flourishing within
boundaries set by agreement about the legitimacy of rulers or terms
of trade." (Pomper, op.cit. p.11)  But these are inadequate
definitions as they could define almost any human culture.  Gordon
Childe suggested the following characteristics  of civilised life

1. the great increase in the size of the largest settlements
2. the institution of tribute or taxation and the central
accumulation of capital
3. monumental public works
4. naturalistic representational arts
5. the art of written communication
6. the development of exact and predictive sciences (geometry,
arithmetic and astronomy)
7. expansion of foreign trade with developed economic institutions
8. full time technical specialists
9. a privileged ruling class
10. the state, or a structure of society independent of kinship which
defines residence

One can argue about the presence or absence of particular
characteristics on this list of, but clearly the number of societies
that possess all of these characteristics is limited. Agriculture is
clearly central to providing the fundamental economic basis for
civilised societies , but it is social differentiation of a class of
people not involved in food production, industry or trade, that
provides for the basis of social structure and government in
civilised societies.  Morton Fried and Ellman Service (Bogucki,
op.cit.) have produced typologies that on the basis of this social
inequality range from generally egalitarian hunter-gatherer bands,
through tribal societies in which ranks play increasing importance to
the stratified chieftains and thence to state organised
civilisations.  All societies recognise differences between their
members, but in most hunter gatherer societies, these differences are
generally earned, not institutionalised from birth.  The central
question of the genesis of a civilisation is how do individual
differences and inequalities, found in all human societies became
permanently institutionalised for all members of a class or caste as
in civilisations.  Furthermore, why does the majority of the
population in civilisations cooperate in structures of power that
were clearly against their own best interests?  These are questions
to which I will return below.

Historically state-organised civilised societies are generally much
bigger than others, but they are limited to the last 3%, only 5,000
years of the 150,000  years of modern human existence.  Spatially,
until early modern times, these societies were also curtailed to
those environments where conditions were not too hot or cold, too wet
or dry to permit the production of a storable agrarian food surplus. 
Toynbee suggests that there have been only about 21 civilisations of
over 650 different known human societies (p.35).

Robert Redfield (1968), by considering the moral implications of the
civilisation, has enabled a deeper discussion of the issues.  He
proposed that one could distinguish people of the "folk" tradition of
primary food producers, where relationships are governed by face to
face interactions amongst kinship groups, compared to people of the
more leisured "great tradition" in which behaviour is increasingly
codified and standardised between autonomous individuals, separably
answerable for their actions.  One's "Weltanshuuang" or "world view"
appears central to establishing these differences.  "What is the
difference between human and not-human?", what constitutes "Us" as
distinct from "Them", and "how did the world begin?" are all
questions relating to the different cosmological perspectives that
separate cultures of the "great tradition" of a civilisation, from
those of the "folk tradition" of the peasant and other cultures that
may be eventually incorporated within it."

Mark, 30,000 years ago, the Eastern Gravetian cultures of Central
Asia (probably speaking a Sino-Caucasian-Dene language) were
specialist big-game hunter gatherers.  They were not (yet) civilised,
and did not become so for at least 25,000 years.  Turkic, as a
Nostratic language, did not arrive in the area until the mesolithic
period - with the introduction of the bow and arrow and the
domestication of the dog.

Hope this helps



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Mark Hubey