- The Oxford Handbook of Evolution, Biology, and Society
- About the Editor
- About the Contributors
- Introduction: Evolution, Biology, and Society
- Divergence and Possible Consilience Between Evolutionary Biology and Sociology
- Sociology’s Contentious Courtship with Biology: A Ballad
- Edward Westermarck: The First Sociobiologist
- Discovering Human Nature Through Cross-Species Analysis
- The Neurology of Religion: An Explanation from Evolutionary Sociology
- Reward Allowances and Contrast Effects in Social Evolution: A Challenge to Zygmunt Bauman’s Liquid Modernity
- Sex Differences in the Human Brain
- The Savanna Theory of Happiness
- How Evolutionary Psychology Can Contribute to Group Process Research
- The Genetics of Human Behavior: A Hopeless Opus?
- DNA Is Not Destiny
- On the Genetic and Genomic Basis of Aggression, Violence, and Antisocial Behavior
- Genetics and Politics: A Review for the Social Scientist
- Genes and Status Achievement
- Peer Networks, Psychobiology of Stress Response, and Adolescent Development
- Stress and Stress Hormones
- Social Epigenetics of Human Behavior
- Physiology of Face-to-Face Competition
- Evolutionary Behavioral Science: Core Principles, Common Misconceptions, and a Troubling Tendency
- Evolutionary Family Sociology
- Evolution and Human Reproduction
- Evolution, Societal Sexism, and Universal Average Sex Differences in Cognition and Behavior
- Evolutionary Theory and Criminology
- The Biosocial Study of Ethnicity
- Human Sociosexual Dominance Theory
- From Paganism to World Transcendence: Religious Attachment Theory and the Evolution of the World Religions
- The Evolutionary Approach to History: Sociocultural Phylogenetics
- Why Sociology Should Incorporate Biology
Abstract and Keywords
There are three forms of modern Darwinian evolutionism in the social sciences and humanities: the gene-based biological, the social learning-based sociocultural, and gene–culture coevolution dealing with their interaction. This chapter focuses on cultural or sociocultural evolution. It begins with a discussion of the Darwinian-inspired evolutionary approach to history. It then outlines modern evolutionary phylogenetic methods borrowed from biology but now used extensively in the social sciences and humanities. The chapter provides examples of how language trees may be inferred; phylogenetic comparative methods that use language trees to answer questions about aspects of geographical, social, political, cultural, or economic organization; and phylogenetic investigations of material culture and traditions. It is concluded that culture does indeed “descend with modification.”
Marion Blute is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her theoretical interests are in selection processes of all sorts, and her empirical interests are in the sociology of science/scholarship and genders. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of Biological Theory, of the editorial board of Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science, and an associate of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. She is past Chair of the Evolution, Biology and Society section of the American Sociological Association and a past member of the nominations and of the Marjorie Grene and Werner Callebaut Prize Committees of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology. Her monograph, Darwinian Sociocultural Evolution: Solutions to Dilemmas in Cultural and Social Theory, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010.
Fiona M. Jordan is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Bristol, where she leads a research group on explaining cultural diversity. Her work uses comparative phylogenetic methods to answer questions about cultural evolution across human populations, with a particular focus on kinship, language, and the Austronesian-speaking societies of the Pacific. Her integrative research draws on a multidisciplinary background in anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology, and language sciences.
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