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A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History (1997)

de Manuel DeLanda

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More than a simple expository history, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History sketches the outlines of a renewed materialist philosophy of history in the tradition of Fernand Braudel, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari, while also engaging the critical new understanding of material processes derived from the sciences of dynamics. Following in the wake of his groundbreaking War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, Manuel De Landa presents a radical synthesis of historical development over the last one thousand years. More than a simple expository history, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History sketches the outlines of a renewed materialist philosophy of history in the tradition of Fernand Braudel, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari, while also engaging the critical new understanding of material processes derived from the sciences of dynamics. Working against prevailing attitudes that see history as an arena of texts, discourses, ideologies, and metaphors, De Landa traces the concrete movements and interplays of matter and energy through human populations in the last millennium. De Landa attacks three domains that have given shape to human societies: economics, biology, and linguistics. In every case, what one sees is the self-directed processes of matter and energy interacting with the whim and will of human history itself to form a panoramic vision of the West free of rigid teleology and naive notions of progress, and even more important, free of any deterministic source of its urban, institutional, and technological forms. Rather, the source of all concrete forms in the West's history are shown to derive from internal morphogenetic capabilities that lie within the flow of matter-energy itself.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 6 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
A really, really difficult read for me. My rating could be higher if I had been able to have the mental stamina for this, but I read it during the COVID-19 pandemic and was just a bit too much for me. He contrasts human history to the physical history of the planet, and the main gist is that things aren't preordained or linear; history is a "tree with many branches," and lots of variables go into which branches will strengthen and which will wither. If you're going to read this, be prepared to put in the time. The font changes throughout are rather odd and in many places just too small, which made comprehension even more difficult for me. As for reading for pleasure, this didn't do the trick for me, I could use a Cliffs Notes version to pierce through the fog. ( )
  waitingtoderail | May 26, 2020 |
This was not a piece of cake. De Landa looks at the history of the last millennium in a highly philosophical, structuralistic kind of way, with the use of a very elaborate terminological toolkit. I appreciated his plea to look at history in a nonlinear way, without a manifest destiny, as the result of intensively interactive processes on multiple levels. And I particularly appreciated his stress on cities as laboratories where historical processes are accelerated (Braudel). But the very theoretical approach and the constant use of structuralist terminology (in line with Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari) was not my cup of tea; on top of that it was my impression that De Landa’s view just is a sophisticated version of materialism. ( )
  bookomaniac | Sep 28, 2017 |
This is an awful book. The author puts up a smokescreen of ambiguous language and fails to make even a single coherent point. I strongly dislike books that willfully avoid clear argumentation.
  thcson | Apr 25, 2010 |
Utterly fascinating. Events of the last millennium—including the rise of cities and capitalist "antimarkets," the circulation of organisms and plagues, and the development of languages and Foucaultian institutions—all viewed through the lens of complexity science. Wide-ranging; consistently intriguing. ( )
  jbushnell | Nov 14, 2006 |
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More than a simple expository history, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History sketches the outlines of a renewed materialist philosophy of history in the tradition of Fernand Braudel, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari, while also engaging the critical new understanding of material processes derived from the sciences of dynamics. Following in the wake of his groundbreaking War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, Manuel De Landa presents a radical synthesis of historical development over the last one thousand years. More than a simple expository history, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History sketches the outlines of a renewed materialist philosophy of history in the tradition of Fernand Braudel, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari, while also engaging the critical new understanding of material processes derived from the sciences of dynamics. Working against prevailing attitudes that see history as an arena of texts, discourses, ideologies, and metaphors, De Landa traces the concrete movements and interplays of matter and energy through human populations in the last millennium. De Landa attacks three domains that have given shape to human societies: economics, biology, and linguistics. In every case, what one sees is the self-directed processes of matter and energy interacting with the whim and will of human history itself to form a panoramic vision of the West free of rigid teleology and naive notions of progress, and even more important, free of any deterministic source of its urban, institutional, and technological forms. Rather, the source of all concrete forms in the West's history are shown to derive from internal morphogenetic capabilities that lie within the flow of matter-energy itself.

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