Contemporary societies are constructed, constricted, and constrained by various series of examinations. Governments of both Western and non-Western countries tend to conduct detailed, multi-layered and continuous systems of tests or examinations. International tests, such as PISA and TIMSS, have also been introduced to compare the relative performances of learners within diverse educational institutions across different countries. Examinations therefore provide a methodological pivot for comparing a range of societies. They enable us to contrast the West and the East; the North and the South; tribal and mass society; ancient and postmodern civilization; and so on.
Comparing parallel societies from across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America, this book proposes fundamental transitions in sociological research from system to process and from communication to composition through intensive studies on examinations. It uses ethnographies, interviews, questionnaires, documents, statistics, and big-data analyses to make comparisons on broad scales of time and space. In so doing, it suggests hypotheses encompassing different kinds of societies in human history, including those in the Axial Age and the Modern Ages.