All Crises are Unhappy in their Own Way: The role of societal instability in shaping the past

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The authors argue that the current body of research into societal crises—defined here as “periods of turmoil and destabilization in socio-cultural, political, economic, and other systems, often accompanied by varying amounts of violence and sometimes significant changes in social structure”—concentrates on a narrow selection of historical examples. Addressing this, the authors compile a database of 168 suggested societal crises spanning millennia, characterized by their significant consequences, to aid in investigating these crises and past approaches to explaining them, while offering suggestions on the forces behind their consequences.


Daniel Hoyer, Samantha Louise Holder, James S Bennett, Pieter François, Harvey Whitehouse, Alan Covey, Gary Feinman, Andrey Korotayev, Vadim Vustiuzhanin, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Kathryn Bard, Jill Levine, Jenny Reddish, Georg Orlandi, Rachel Ainsworth, and Peter Turchin

Publication Date

February 16, 2024




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Resource Type

Academic Journal Article

Systems Addressed

Social Order and Governance

Resource Theme

Societal Collapse
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