This book marks an exciting convergence towards the idea that human culture and cognition are rooted in the character of human social interaction, which is unique in the animal kingdom. Roots of Human Sociality attempts for the first time to explore the underlying properties of social interaction viewed from across many disciplines, and examines their origins in infant development and in human evolution. Are interaction patterns in adulthood affected by cultural differences in childhood upbringing? Apes, unlike human infants of only 12 months, fail to understand pointing and the intention behind it. Nevertheless apes can imitate and analyze complex behavior - how do they do it? Deaf children brought up by speaking parents invent their own languages. How might adults deprived of a fully organized language communicate?This book makes the case that the study of these sorts of phenomenon holds the key to understanding the foundations of human social life. The conclusion: our unique brand of social interaction is at the root of what makes us human.
"The publication of this book is a sign of an important new development, which will recast anthropology. We have here a number of disciplines which, having previously shunned each other, are now genuinely working together in order to understand the specificity and the nature of human social life. - Maurice Bloch, London School of Economics This is a landmark volume, that refracts anthropological knowledge at entirely new angles that can change in fundamental ways how we think about what we do and what we know. - Jane Hill, The University of Arizona Social science at its best: comprehensive, compelling, and incisive. Together the chapters of 'Roots of Human Sociality' provide a superbly-crafted and exceptionally wide-ranging account of how thought and culture create, and in turn are sustained through human social interaction. - Lawrence A. Hirschfeld, New School for Social Research Readers of 'Roots of Human Sociality' are treated to a wide-ranging feat of ideas and empirical findings, and the quality of the individual chapters is very high ... the volume is an exciting - and, at over 500 pages, abundant - peek at an emerging area of research. Few volumes of paper become ""classic"", but I suspect that this one will. - Gesture"