Structure, Dynamics, and the Final Collapse of Bronze Age Civilizations in the Second Millennium
The following analysis is effort to examine the reasons for the collapse of the Bronze Age civilizations of the eastern Mediterranean and the Near East in ca. 1200 B.C. These civilizations constituted the core of a larger global system that also included a less advanced periphery. My preliminary assumption is that collapse is best explained as an aspect of development, that is, as a consequence of the development process that preceded it, not as something new, an externality with respect to that process. This is especially important to keep in mind given the obvious role played by invasions from peripheral areas.
My interest in the Bronze Age is anchored in my concern for the world of today. In my understanding of world history, which I share with a group of colleagues, the global (or world) system is 5000 years old, not 500 years as suggested by Immanuel Wallerstein. This does not, of course, imply that nothing has changed but that there are fundamental systemic parameters that exhibit a strong continuity. If we accept the long-term continuity argument, we have an important advantage in the study of the nature of dynamics and of the causes of decline that tell us a great deal about the present as well as the past.
Historical Transformations: The Anthropology of Global Systems, by Kajsa Ekholm Friedman, Jonathan Friedman (Altimira Press, 2008)