Theories about the commencement of agriculture in prehistoric societies: a critical evaluation

Svizzero, Serge and Tisdell, Clem (2014) Theories about the commencement of agriculture in prehistoric societies: a critical evaluation. Rivista di Storia Economica, 30 3: 255-280. doi:10.1410/78237

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Author Svizzero, Serge
Tisdell, Clem
Title Theories about the commencement of agriculture in prehistoric societies: a critical evaluation
Journal name Rivista di Storia Economica
ISSN 0393-3415
ISBN 9788815250278
Publication date 2014-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1410/78237
Open Access Status
Volume 30
Issue 3
Start page 255
End page 280
Total pages 26
Place of publication Bologna, Italy
Publisher Societa Editrice Il Mulino
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The commencement of agriculture in the Holocene era is usually seen as heralding the beginning of a chain of events that eventually resulted in the Industrial Revolution and in modern economic development. The purpose of this paper is to outline and critically review theories about why and how agriculture first began. It also classifies these theories according to whether they are based on agriculture's development as a response to food deprivation, to a food surplus, or neither of these factors. Because agriculture began independently in several different geographical centres, it seems unlikely that the switch of early societies from hunting and gathering to agriculture was the result of the same cause in all of these locations. Moreover, the paper provides some new suggestions as to why hunters and gatherers were motivated to commence or increase their dependence on agriculture in some locations. Views about the role of natural resources and institutions in the development of agriculture are also discussed.
Keyword Agricultural commencement
Domestication
Institutions
Natural endowments
Neolithic transition
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Economics Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 23 Dec 2014, 15:19:48 EST by Emeritus Professor Clement Tisdell on behalf of School of Economics