• The study of the collapse of past societies raises many questions for the
    theory and practice of archaeology. Interest in collapse extends as well into the
    natural sciences and environmental and sustainability policy. Despite a range of
    approaches to collapse, the predominant paradigm is environmental collapse, which
    I argue obscures recognition of the dynamic role of social processes that lie at the
    heart of human communities. These environmental discourses, together with confusion
    over terminology and the concepts of collapse, have created widespread
    aporia about collapse and resulted in the creation of mixed messages about complex
    historical and social processes.