The Cool Water Effect: Why Human Civilization Turned towards Emancipation in Cold-Wet Regions

Projekt: Forschung


Since Jared Diamond, there is a burgeoning literature on the long-term drivers of Western civilization's emancipatory dynamic. Contributing to this scholarship, I intend to elaborate on an under-theorized observation evidenced in my own work: most long-term drivers cited in the literature are confounded with a particular geo-climatic configuration – the Cool Water (CW-) condition, that is, the combination of cold seasons with continuous rain. Taking this observation as the point of departure, I wish to examine three propositions in-depth. First, the CW-condition embodies the seed of emancipatory dynamics because it endows people with vital grass-roots autonomies, like autonomy in water access, food production and household formation. Second, the seed began to germinate as more complex social organizations – from private corporations to voluntary associations to state administration – formed: in the presence of grass-roots autonomies, social organization evolves through emancipatory struggles in which groups claim freedoms, which then become increasingly firmly encultured. Third, accelerating globalization is transplanting emancipatory struggles into world regions without the CW-condition, thus loosening geography's grip on social choice.My proposed project is global in coverage and long-term in its temporal orientation. Indeed, I plan to use data for all countries of the world. These data capture conditions along a sequence of historical layers, from the eve of the colonial, industrial and information ages until today. I intend to explore the linkages leading from preceding to subsequent layers of history.Overall, the goal of this project is two-fold: (1) THEORY - further developing the arguments informing my three main propositions; (2) EMPIRICS - consolidating and expanding the already existing, albeit preliminary evidence.
Art der FinanzierungGefördert von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (Reinhart Koselleck-Projekt)