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Axial Visions And Axial Civilizations: The Transformations Of World Histories Between Evolutionary Tendencies And Institutional Formations

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Chapter Summary

The emergence of Axial Civilizations constitutes one of the most revolutionary transformations in the course of human history. At the same time it constitutes a great challenge to sociological theory. A central component of evolutionary theory-or to be more precise one might speak of the "developmental" version of evolutionary theory-has been an emphasis on identifying the major forces of change in human history. Many of the evolutionary-developmental approaches were imbued with an implicit assumption that broad evolutionary tendencies explain the crystallization of concrete institutional and cultural formations. The crystallization of the multiple institutional formations, which developed in the frameworks of the Axial Civilizations, was shaped by several factors. The core of the crystallization of any concrete institutional formation is the specification of the distinctive boundaries of social interactions.

Keywords: Axial Civilizations; Axial Visions; institutional formations; sociological theory



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