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Open AccessArticle

Nature–Culture Relations: Early Globalization, Climate Changes, and System Crisis

Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Leipzig 04105 Germany
Department of Sociology, Roanoke College, 221 College Lane, Salem, VA 24153, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Md Saidul Islam
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 78;
Received: 19 October 2015 / Revised: 7 January 2016 / Accepted: 11 January 2016 / Published: 14 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability through the Lens of Environmental Sociology)
Globalization has been on everyone’s lips in light of the contemporary conditions. It has been viewed mostly as a stage reached as a result of long-term societal changes over the course of world history. For us, globalization has been an ongoing process for at least the last 5000 years. Little attention has been paid to the socioeconomic and natural processes that led to the current transformation. With the exception of historical sociologists, there is less interest in examining the long-term past as it is often assumed that the past has nothing to teach us, and it is the future that we have to turn our intellectual gaze. This paper will argue the opposite. We believe a long-term tracing of the socioeconomic and political processes of the making of the modern world will allow us to have a more incisive understanding of the current trajectory of world development and transformations. To plead our case, we outline the emergence of the first Eurasian World Economy linking seven regions (Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, South Asia, Ceylon, Southeast Asia, and China) of the world, with the exception of the Americas, starting as early as 200 BC, and the sequence of structural crises and transformations (trading networks and commodities) that has circumscribed the structures and trends of the current global system. Such consideration in our view is limited if we do not also include the relations between social systems and Nature, and the rhythms of the climate. For the latter, an awareness of the natural rhythms of the climate as well as human induced changes or climate forcing have triggered system-wide level collapses during certain early historical periods. View Full-Text
Keywords: social system crisis; social change; globalization social system crisis; social change; globalization
MDPI and ACS Style

Chew, S.C.; Sarabia, D. Nature–Culture Relations: Early Globalization, Climate Changes, and System Crisis. Sustainability 2016, 8, 78.

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