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Human Nature and the Evolution of Society





ISBN 9780813349367
Published February 4, 2014 by Routledge
466 Pages

 
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Book Description

If evolution has changed humans physically, has it also affected human behavior? Drawing on evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, and human behavioral ecology, Human Nature and the Evolution of Society explores the evolutionary dynamics underlying social life.

In this introduction to human behavior and the organization of social life, Stephen K. Sanderson discusses traditional subjects like mating behavior, kinship, parenthood, status-seeking, and violence, as well as important topics seldom included in books of this type, especially gender, economies, politics, foodways, race and ethnicity, and the arts. Examples and research on a wide range of human societies, both industrial and nonindustrial, are integrated throughout. With chapter summaries of key points, thoughtful discussion questions, and important terms defined within the text, the result is a broad-ranging and comprehensive consideration of human society, thoroughly grounded in an evolutionary perspective.

Table of Contents

Preface Notes on Dating 1. Theoretical Foundations Darwinian Social Science Redux Darwinian Foundations Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology Qualifers The Contents of Human Nature Conclusions Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 2. Beginnings African Genesis, African Exodus Big Brains The Language Instinct The Cultural Big Bang Conclusions Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 3. Getting a Living To Hunt and to Gather Ancient Affluence? First Agriculture Tillers of the Soil Herders of Beasts Merchants and Traders Capitalists Small and Large Capitalists By Nature? Conclusions Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 4. Foodways What's For Dinner? Sweets and Meats Strategic Foraging Sacred Cows and Abominable Pigs The Milky Way Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 5. Finding Mates Incest Avoidance and the Incest Taboo Sexual Selection Strategic Sex Mate Choice Dominant Males Litter the Landscape The Straight and the Gay Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 6. Family and Marriage Kith and Kin Father's Kin or Mother's? One Wife or Many? One Husband or Many? Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 7. Parenthood Maternal Instincts A Child's-Eye View Many Children or Few? Sons or Daughters? Infanticidal Deeds Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 8. Gender Gender Everywhere Learning about Gender Gender Economies Men, Women, and Work Conclusions Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 9. Status and Wealth Status Striving Status Striving Unleashed Status and Wealth in Modern Times Status Striving Run Amok Conclusions Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 10. Power and Politics Struggling for Power Societies Without Bosses Chiefs on the Horizon Kings, Emperors, and Oriental Despots Conclusions Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 11. Violence Murder, He Wrote Getting in Touch with Our Inner Chimp Killing Enemies: The Small Scale Killing Enemies: The Large Scale Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 12. Race and Ethnicity The Origins of Races Racism Then and Now Ethnic Primordialism Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 13. Religion Spirits, Gods, and Ritual Specialists Shamans and Healers Many Gods or One? Why are People Religious? Religion in Its Socioecological Context The New Atheism Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes 14. Arts What are the Arts? Visual Art Literature Music Conclusions Summary Questions for Discussion References and Notes Epilogue: Evolution and Existence Bibliography Technical Terms Index

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Author(s)

Biography

Stephen K Sanderson