通过目前的编辑量，诺曼·约菲（Norman Yoffee）为有关崩溃和历史变迁以及早期城市，州和文明的本质的理论和文献做出了另一重要贡献。在的贡献 脆弱性的演变 探索崩溃，但重要的是，他们还明确地将崩溃与崩溃的原因紧密联系在一起；因此，他们关注的是有关单元如何组装和组成，可能存在的断裂点以及如何“disintegration” ensued. The book is made up of 10 chapters, with the first a useful brief introduction and 概要 by Yoffee and the rest covering various areas and cultures: the Andes (Tom Dillehay and Steven Wernke), Bronze Age China (Li Min), the Classic 可能a lowlands (Patricia McAnany), Old Kingdom Egypt (Ellen Morris), Cahokia and Chaco Canyon (Timothy Pauketat), the Indus civilization (Cameron 彼得里), African states (Peter Robertshaw), Angkor (Miriam Stark), and Mesopotamia (Yoffee and Andrea Seri).
正如Yoffee所解释的那样，该卷的中心主题是“破坏了进化叙事的一些传统主题，即那些使国家自然化并因此使其对永久性的历史主张合法化的主题”（1）。虽然吴哥，莫亨乔-达罗（Mohenjo-Daro）或经典玛雅人的城市，或经历数十年或更久的州或帝国可能给人以稳定和持久的印象，但据认为，这掩盖了其社会的脆弱性—their “instability” and “incoherence”（1）。 Dillehay和Wernke提出了附加的概念“vulnerability,” which they see as “导致国家的意识形态，政治，经济或军事机构相对容易遭受身体伤害。 。 。和社会压力”（9）。对于他们来说，脆弱“指弱化，分解或崩溃的状态设备” and vulnerability is a precondition of fragility, though a 脆弱的 society does not necessarily become fragile or indeed collapse unless specific events conspire to make it so (10). In most of the volume, the authors seem to blend these two ideas into a general idea or lens of fragility, without the term losing its heuristic value.
Yoffee和Seri建议，稳定性可以被认为是“一种历史小说” (194), and ancient societies were riddled with cleavage planes that made them fragile, as most chapters make clear. When rulers attempted to build or enlarge 其states, they were forced to attempt to integrate existing groups and people with diverse views, ambitions, and motivations of 其own. Making use of preexisting groups and institutions makes organizational sense 上 上e level, by providing a mechanism for top-down rule, but it could also institutionalize preexisting divides, as Dillehay and Wernke argue for the Inka state and other Andean societies. Such societies, with weak horizontal coherence, were inherently fragile, while top-down rule had to be constantly negotiated down through the chain and could be resisted or be largely irrelevant at lower, more local levels. Min shows that in Bronze Age China, too, the power of lineages could conflict with that of kings (42).
同样，虽然肯定有将美索不达米亚凝聚在一起的文化特征，并且在公元前三千年出现了政治上统一的美索不达米亚的想法（或理想），但现实情况是，试图扩大霸权主义造成了加剧和加剧了各个城市国家和地区之间的分歧。还有非国家团体。像阿卡德人这样的王朝面临着被征服的城市和州近乎不断的叛乱，这本身就说明了阿卡德人的控制实际上是多么的薄弱。没有成功的整合取代了当地的身份。在简短的评论中，Yoffee和Seri说“尽管统治者当然是强大的，并且是残暴的暴君，他们建造了巨大的宫殿，布置了宏伟的庙宇，并领导强大的远征军，但具有讽刺意味的是，这种权力导致了系统的成功抵抗”（194）。斯塔克解释说，安哥拉国王面临类似的叛乱情况，以及国家的权力和范围“pulsed” visibly (172).
闵指出，对于连续青铜时代的中国国家，传统或“过去政权的记忆社区经常充当抵制新政治领导人目标的焦点”（42）。秦朝试图解决这个问题，结束了对早期中国各州的精英血统的依赖，但这也导致了反抗和瓦解。麦克阿纳尼（McAnany）提出一个恰当的观点，即那些建立更大，更复杂的社会的人们可能是这样做的，因为他们知道“天生比较脆弱，倾向于专制，最终会解散” (47), and that a conscious recognition of fragility by rulers in ancient societies could even become a guiding factor of policy. Rulers and 其coteries may have often been playing catch-up in trying to hold things together.
国家脆弱性观念的一个重要切入点是对国家脆弱性的认识。“experimental”城市和州的性质。麦卡纳尼（McAnany）将这个想法应用到对皇室痴迷的南部古典玛雅王国和北部玛雅城市的理解上，那里的明显权力似乎并没有明显地集中在皇室成员身上。她举了一个典型的晚期经典北方州Ek ’Balam在约公元770年至850年之间对南方风格的各个方面进行了实验，但有一些重要的局部差异。 k’ Balam’的实验是短暂的，南部系统的陷阱被丢弃了。即使在南部，蒂卡尔（Tikal）和卡拉克穆尔（Calakmul）之类的州显然也拥有非常不同的治理形式。 Dillehay和Wernke同样注意到了安第斯政体，他们“似乎是由于不断的反复试验而发展和毁灭的” (13).
Another key consideration that comes through in many of the chapters is the transference of power from 上e ruler or generation to the next and the continuity of states and empires through this process. Robertshaw suggests, partly 上 the basis of historical evidence for later kingdoms, that royal succession at Great Zimbabwe may often have been determined by warfare (150). In China as well, succession could be accompanied by violence and factionalism, and Shang succession through siblings created 不稳定 (36, 42). With the Inka, there was no fixed system of succession, hence successions became occasions for scheming and conflict within and between elite families (14). In the hegemonic Mesopotamian states, such as the Akkadian Empire, at least two rulers died in palace coups (189). Even in Old Kingdom Egypt, there were several dynastic breaks; Morris suggests that these were a kind of course correction—当遇到麻烦时，例如管理不善或滥用权力，动荡或杀戮，“一些其他的统治者。 。 。总是加紧对错并承担the绳” (83)
与脆弱性崩溃的主题相反，莫里斯认为埃及’地势和自然环境使其本质上比本书中讨论的其他社会更具弹性。尽管有“应力和断裂的点应该在很多世纪以前就使它屈服” and a number of “接近死亡的经历”（61，64）;然后，旧王国埃及可能会整洁地融入Dillehay和Wernke’s category of a “vulnerable”州。像其他州一样，它也可以被视为“experimental.”例如，第五王朝的统治者可能试图整合新的金字塔工人们和识字官员—必须发展以组织和开展金字塔建筑工作—in order to contain the resentment and unrest brought about by the 上e-sided extractive policies of the 4th Dynasty elite. Morris suggests that climatic 不稳定 may have struck the 脆弱的 state at the end of the third millennium BCE, pushing it into a more fragile state, where collapse and fragmentation ensued. But local potentates, already a potential fracture point, were nevertheless ready and able to carry a politically fragmented but culturally active Egyptian society through the First Intermediate Period until the state was reunified.
Stories that are more difficult to tell are those of Cahokia, Chaco, and the Indus civilization, where there is ambiguity about the political form of each. Pauketat notes the coincidence of the Cahokia and Chacoan phenomena with each other and with the Medieval Climate Anomaly, which enabled greater production of maize. This and a greater ideological emphasis 上 the immanence and materiality of water and moisture may have been key elements in the development of each society, in 其very different settings. Later climatic change at the end of the anomaly may have undercut in various ways what each had become; the societies’ fragility increased because of 其development within specific but impermanent conditions. He suggests not that there was a simple deterministic relationship between Cahokia, Chaco, and the climate, but that 其collapse was 上e of a “有限的可能结果集”鉴于总情况（104）。
彼得里’关于印度河的一章内容广泛而透彻，并清楚地标出了在解释印度河现象（尤其是其政治构成）方面的众多困难。基于对较小的地点经常是短暂的并且人们流动性很高的理解（116），他提出了一个总体框架，在该框架中，印度河文明具有高度，不断的适应性和实验性，这使其稳健而持久 —especially in its rural form. 彼得里 is careful not to overplay limited paleoclimatic evidence and stresses the varied environments occupied by the Indus civilization, but he suggests that a predictably unpredictable environment may have turned into 上e that was “出乎意料的” (124). Since the cities, whatever 其governance, must have relied 上 hinterlands, strategies for maintaining them through extraction of surpluses from rural areas may have become too challenging; farmers may have sought to adapt 其own methods of production. Leaving the cities may have become increasingly appealing.
This volume makes clear that fragility can be an important frame through which to study ancient states and societies, not 上ly in 其collapse but also for 其formation and maintenance, the policies and practices of rulers, and the actions and agency of other societal groupings within the larger whole. The old notion that societies often contain the seeds of 其own destruction seems appropriate, but the contributions to 脆弱性的演变 赋予这种格言更大的解释力。即使在像旧王国埃及这样的社会并不特别脆弱的情况下，脆弱性仍然是一个有用的想法，可以将我们的注意力集中在使社会变得更加强大的事物上—或至少更持久。
The book is a must-have for students of collapse and resilience but should attract a much wider readership, including those studying the origins of states, political and social evolution, and the specific cultures discussed. A nonspecialist can gain from the chapters a good overview of each of the cultures presented, an understanding of relevant issues in 其interpretation and characterization, and views of collapse that move beyond simplistic assessments of external causes toward demonstrating how collapse was the “disintegration”政治单位和社会内部关系的失败。本书以免费的PDF格式提供，更加令人欢迎，并迫切期待着承诺的后续工作。