Evolutionism in Cultural Anthropologytraces the interaction of evolutionary thought and anthropological theory from Herbert Spencer to the twenty-first century. It is a focused examination of how the idea of evolution has continued to provide anthropology with a master principle around which a vast body of data can be organized and synthesized. Erudite and readable, and quoting extensively from early theorists (such as Edward Tylor, Lewis Henry Morgan, John McLennan, Henry Maine, and James Frazer) so that the reader might judge them on the basis of their own words, Evolutionism in Cultural Anthropology is useful reading for courses in anthropological theory and the history of anthropology.
Preface -- The Early History of Evolutionism -- The Reconstruction of Cultural Evolution -- The Characteristics of Cultural Evolution -- The Determinants of Cultural Evolution -- Anti-Evolutionism in the Ascendancy -- Early Stages in the Reemergence of Evolutionism -- Issues in Late Midcentury Evolutionism -- Features of the Evolutionary Process -- What Drives the Evolution of Culture? -- Other Perspectives on Cultural Evolution -- Elements of Evolutionary Formulations -- Current Issues and Attitudes in the Study of Cultural Evolution