The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society
This book assesses the impact of writing on human societies, both in the Ancient Near East and in twentieth-century Africa, and highlights some general features of social systems that have been influenced by this major change in the mode of communication. Such features are central to any attempt at the theoretical definition of human society and such constituent phenomena as religious and legal systems, and in this study Professor Goody explores the role of a specific mechanism, the introduction of writing and the development of a written tradition, in the explanation of some important social differences and similarities. Goody argues that a shift of emphasis from productive to certain communicative processes is essential to account adequately for major changes in human societies. Whilst there have been previous descussions of the effect of literacy upon social organisation, no study has hitherto presented the general synthesis developed here.
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acephalous societies activities administrative Ancient Egypt Ancient Near East Asante aspects autonomy Book book-keeping bureaucracy Busoga central century changes Christianity church Clanchy Code of Hammurabi communication complex concept context contract court cult discussion distinct documents dominated earlier early Ebla economy Egypt endowments especially Europe example exchange existence explicit Fallers Fifth Dynasty formal Ghana gods Gonja Goody hand Hinduism human important individual involved Islam Kanish kind king Kingdom land later legal system linked literacy literate LoDagaa marriage means medieval ment merchants Mesopotamia mode non-literate norms northern Ghana notion Oppenheim 1964 oral cultures oral societies organization palace particular partly period political priesthood priests production relations religious ritual role royal ruler rules scribes social specialists specific Sri Lanka Sumer tablets taxes temple tend tokens trade transactions West Africa Woolley written records written religions written tradition written word