Evolutionary Communication : An Introduction book cover
1st Edition

Evolutionary Communication
An Introduction

ISBN 9780429456879
Published November 28, 2019 by Routledge
342 Pages

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Book Description

Evolutionary Communication presents the first comprehensive evolutionary approach to the study of human communication.

Presuming no specialized knowledge of evolutionary theory, this reader-friendly textbook explains why and how communication became the determining factor in human development. Drawing from the latest scientific research, Evolutionary Communication represents a truly groundbreaking contribution to Communication Studies as a field of study.

Opening up an inspiring new approach for teaching communication, the book can be used as a core volume or supplemental text for courses ranging from Introduction to Communication and Communication Theory to special topics and graduate seminars.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introducing Evolutionary Communication

Chapter 2: The Basics


Chapter 3: Survive and Reproduce

Chapter 4: Expression


Chapter 5: Spoken Language

Chapter 6: Written Language

Chapter 7: Technology

Chapter 8: Media


Chapter 9: Culture

Chapter 10: Information

Chapter 11: Ideology and Religion

Chapter 12: Morality, Identity, Community

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James Lull is Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies at San Jose State University, California. Author or editor of more than a dozen books with translations into many languages, Professor Lull is recognized internationally as one of the field’s most original thinkers and productive scholars.


"The insights from evolutionary theory are essential to an understanding of who we are, where we come from, and how we relate to each other. These insights have been very sparsely applied in the social sciences, especially in the study of human communication. And yet this basic feature of human existence—its essence, modalities, and impact—can only be seriously studied from an evolutionary perspective.

This book by James Lull provides for a vital omission and is a ‘must read’ for students and practitioners alike who want to understand how we became the planet’s most cooperative communicators."

Cees J. Hamelink, Emeritus Professor of International Communication, University of Amsterdam

"Engagingly written, explaining a wealth of instances where communication and life itself cross, Evolutionary Communication presents a radical new perspective for Communication Studies. Covering ground from how single-celled organisms interact to the wonders of the most recent communication technologies, this is a book of great insight and intellectual courage."

Eduardo Neiva, Professor of Communication Studies, The University of Alabama at Birmingham

"The semiotic approach to communication explains the evolution of living beings and represents the new wave of evolutionary theory."

Kalevi Kull, Professor of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Estonia, and President of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies

"The connective tissue of human progress is communication. James Lull teases out this truism in a fascinating and scientifically rich exploration of how communication evolved and the role it plays in the complexities of life today. It’s rare to find a book that combines scholarship and readability. This is one of them."

Robyn E. Blumner, President and CEO, Center for Inquiry and Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science

"In this innovative volume, James Lull links the biological and cultural development of human communication with rich contemporary examples and clear terminology that capture the relevance of evolution in the age of the Internet. Accessible to anyone seeking a guide through the key theories and accumulating empirical evidence, Evolutionary Communication provides a one-stop resource."

Klaus Bruhn Jensen, Professor of Media, Cognition, and Communication, University of Copenhagen

"…a comprehensive and accessible book that will provide a much needed resource for instructors who teach communication from an evolutionary perspective. The book weaves seamlessly through an incredible diversity of topics including cultural issues and new technology, all presented mindfully with an evolutionary focus."

Greg Bryant, Professor of Communication, University of California-Los Angeles  

"Evolutionary Communication is the first major textbook in the field of communication to apply evolutionary theory systematically to all aspects of human communication. As James Lull lucidly explains throughout the book, "Communication is the mechanism of evolution" in all its various configurations, manifestations, and applications. The scholarship that provides the intellectual foundations for this book is superb and the writing is elegant. Irrespective of whether you are new to the field of communication or a senior scholar, you will learn a great deal by reading this book; moreover, it will profoundly influence the way you think about human communication."

Peter Monge, Professor Emeritus at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California