This book explores human history through the prism of civilizations, defined as socio-cultural configurations of civilized societies (i.e. societies which are urbanized and literate). The track is laid down by complex processes in which the different mind-sets, visions of the beyond, grades or types of know-how as well as concepts of law and order are the main variables. Tracing these processes within their spatio-temporal lay-outs constitutes the core of the book. The introductory chapters discuss the conceptual framework and the concluding part of the book reviews the historical turning-points of the human condition. The contemporary Euro-American civilization is seen not only as the promoter of a comprehensive globalization but also - due to the multi-faceted impact of fast growing technology - as the seed-bed of anthropological mutation. Yet contrasting demographic developments in various parts of the world may turn the apparent trend in another direction.

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