Drawing from evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and sociology, this truly interdisciplinary study explores how the drive to find social connection has shaped the size, structure, and organization of human communities from the Stone Age to the post-industrial present. Focusing on three central factors-- the physical environment, social relations at the micro level, and social organization at the macro level-- Professor Massey argues that humans are genetically programmed to be physiologically, psychologically, and socially adapted to life in small groups and to organic natural environments. Despite this, most humans live in dense urban environments. "As biological organisms," Massey writes, "we are indeed strangers in a strange land." About the Contemporary Societies Series: This series marks the coming of age of a generation and a discipline. It has been half a century since the world's leading sociologists engaged in a collective effort to make their cutting-edge thinking and research so concise and so widely accessible. What has changed in the meantime? Just about everything! Theoretical hegemony has given way to plurality. Disengagement has given way to relevance, and a provincial focus on America has opened up to the currents of globalization. Running through all these transformations has been the cultural turn, the recognition that meaning dynamics-codes, narratives, metaphors, values, and beliefs-remain central features of even the most contemporary societies. In this series, the world's leading sociologists show how these developments have transformed their specialties. They do so by engaging a genre that has almost disappeared from the social sciences today-theessay. Well-written, clear-minded, and elegant, these brief compositions are major creative endeavors in their own right, even as they bring the ideas of the world's most advanced thinkers into the world of the lay reader.Massey, Douglas S. is the author of 'Strangers in a Strange Land Humans in an Urbanizing World', published 2005 under ISBN 9780393927276 and ISBN 039392727X.