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Cliodynamics

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About

Cliodynamics is a transdisciplinary area of research integrating historical macrosociology, cultural and social evolution, economic history/cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access journal that publishes original articles advancing the state of theoretical knowledge in this transdisciplinary area. In the broadest sense, this theoretical knowledge includes general principles that explain the functioning, dynamics, and evolution of historical societies and specific models, usually formulated as mathematical equations or computer algorithms. Cliodynamics also has empirical content that deals with discovering general historical patterns, determining empirical adequacy of key assumptions made by models, and testing theoretical predictions with data from actual historical societies. A mature, or ‘developed theory’ thus integrates models with data; the main goal of Cliodynamics is to facilitate progress towards such theory in history and cultural evolution.

This journal is available for sharing and reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 International License which means that all content is freely available without charge to users and their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author.

Cliodynamics is a member of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Scopus

Articles

The Causes and Mechanisms of the Ukrainian Crisis of 2014: A Structural–Demographic Approach

This article tests the hypothesis that Ukraine experienced a state breakdown in 2014. The methodology employed to test this statement is based on achievements of structural-demographic theory, created by Jack Goldstone and developed by Peter Turchin. The reasons for a fiscal crisis, intra-elite conflict and mass mobilization (the three criteria for a state breakdown) are discussed. It is demonstrated that budget management in Ukraine was ineffective, and, coupled with an unbalanced political system, led to the fiscal crisis. The intra-elite conflict was caused by Yanukovych’s politics and by lack of resources as a consequence of elite overproduction, which led to fewer opportunities among the traditional elites. To demonstrate the mass discontent that was the main factor for the protests and rallies, evidence is presented that the population of Ukraine experienced immiseration in 2010–13. The final factor determining the future of the Ukrainian system was the delegitimization of power. This could happen only under the conditions of intra-elite conflict. All of these factors arose because of the high degree of capital concentration in the hands of the economic elite. The article concludes that we have every reason to say that a state breakdown occurred in Ukraine.

Reports

Anvil Age Economy: A Map of the Spread of Iron Metallurgy across Afro-Eurasia

A large dataset is used to map the historical spread of iron use across Afro-Eurasia using a number of different methodologies. Traditional dates for the beginning of what archaeologists call the “Iron Age” in each region are unacceptable because they are imprecise and the dates themselves are reached on the basis of different methodologies. The author maps the spread of iron with a primary focus on its acceleration in use across many object classes. Three additional maps are also provided: the first critical use of iron for cutting tool or weapon, the spread of iron helmets and the spread of high-quality steel swords. While many of the maps are at the experimental stage, the results give a unique insight into technological change across history and can be used to test predictive models of historical change. As the mapping of the rise and spread of a technology has rarely or never been done before on this scale, the maps, the methodologies used, and the problems encountered provide a fork in the scholarship for more accurate and detailed successors.

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Databases

The Equinox2020 Seshat Data Release

This report describes the current canonical time-series dataset named “Equinox2020,” a subset of Seshat: Global History Databank data for a well-curated list of polities and variables available on the Seshat Data Browser. The report provides an introduction to the methods and procedures of the Seshat project relating to the curation and release of the Equinox2020 dataset.

 

Book Reviews

Complexities of Collapse: A Review of "Understanding Collapse: Ancient History and Modern Myths" by Guy D. Middleton (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

A Review of "Understanding Collapse: Ancient History and Modern Myths" by Guy D. Middleton (Cambridge University Press, 2017)