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We call a society with a high degree of complexity a civilization.Aztec civilization, Norse civilization, ancient Chinese civilization are terms that denote a settled society with complex political and social structures, developed economies, and sophisticated social rules.Today we rely on a different form of organization called a nation-state, in which our identities are tied to a political and geographic location we call the 'nation'.
While the proposed dictionary will reflect the contemporary concerns of the editors, entries will certainly represent social anthropology, economics, political sciences, sociology, and statistical methodologies.
The Dictinary will necessary avoid a thorough overview of these disciplines - the criteria for inclusion will limit entries to those topics in each area that will be of interest to trans-disciplinary users.
Independently, these three societies may not appear related, but by organizing them chronologically we can begin to see how the rise or fall of one impacted the others.
One of the simplest ways to analyze how and why things are related is to look for patterns of change and continuity.
Another way to organize societies is to look at how they organize themselves.
More specifically, I'm talking about people's forms of social, geographic, and political organization.
The most obvious example is an empire, a civilization that invades and conquers other civilizations.
So, from the huge amount of information we could study about societies, we're starting to find ways to organize it, and that makes our jobs that much easier.
From there, we can start to look for major trends in terms of when things change. Historians call the first period the 'Progressive Era' and the second one the 'Roaring Twenties'.
This is called periodization, the basic idea that history can be organized into periods of similar trends. If we chronologically organized major events and ideas throughout the last century, we'd notice that right at the start of the 20th century a lot of people were really focused on social reform. By looking at the balance between change and continuity, we identified major periods of history to help us understand what was going on.