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Human Sociogeophysics — Phase II (Continued): Criticality in the Diffusion of Ethnicity Produces Civil Society

A. Iberall and D. Wilkinson
GeoJournal
Vol. 11, No. 2 (September 1985), pp. 153-158
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41143526
Page Count: 6
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Human Sociogeophysics — Phase II (Continued): Criticality in the Diffusion of Ethnicity Produces Civil Society
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Abstract

After a Phase I expansion at a constant population density, the earth's surface — the habitable niche of man — becomes filled. The subsequent global Malthusian constant (birth rate minus death rate) however remains unchanged. A criticality in density is thereupon reached, and a phase transition ensues. The most marked feature of Phase II is an onset of condensations, of settlements in place. The kinematics of Phase II involve (a) continued low growth rate of total population; (b) the continued diffusion of ethnicity with remixing; (c) fluctuating condensations involving local urban densifications; (d) local convective process fluxes (flows) carried on via trade and war rather than simple diffusive flow processes carried on via extensive local migrations; and (e) civilizational flow processes of convection governed by man-made rules for the diffusive transports of matter, energy, action and population. The diffusion of ethnicity continues at an expanded space-time scale. The spatial scale is enlarged to the order of 300 km, with a corollary time scale of 1/2 to 1 millennium. This estimate is based on two physical notions: (a) a stability criterion for the transition, which provides an estimate for the number (density) of neighboring condensed population centers that need be involved in the trade-war convections (on the order of 16) and the range domain for these centers (on the order of 200— 300 km); and (b) continuance of the diffusion of ethnicity as marked by a diffusivity relation (d₀ ²/t1= d²²/t2) where d¹ = 50— 80km (prior hunter-gatherer spatial scale), t¹=30 years (prior hunter-gatherer time scale), d2 = 300 km (subsequent settlement spatial scale), so that t2 (subsequent settlement temporal scale) approximates 500 to 1000 years. While the total human ensemble represents a unitary "human" culture (in Braudel's term, a "world-economy"), it also contains a plurality of cultures in the anthropologist's sense, which now continuously diffuse and rediffuse, mix and remix. This continuing diffusion of ethnicity at the longer and larger scales produces longer and larger-scale fluctuations — fluid-like, transitory, large moving -which begin to constitute the politics and economics of civilizations. Trade and war become civilization's macroscopic flows, surplus production and states and empires its macroscopic patterns and forms.

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