The Trouble with Human Nature brings together biological and cross-cultural evidence to critically examine common preconceptions and challenge popular assumptions about human nature. It sets out to counter genetic and evolutionary myths about human variation and behavior, drawing on both biological and cultural anthropology, as well as from other disciplines including psychology, economics, and sociology.
The chapters address the interrelated topics of health and disease, gender and other differences, and violence and conflict. The analysis calls into question the presumed natural foundation for social inequalities and sheds light on both the constraints and possibilities inherent in the human condition.
This book provides students of human diversity and evolution with an excellent resource to better approach questions relating to human nature. It will also be of interest to those taking courses in social, cultural, and biological anthropology, as well as public health, medical anthropology, sociology, gender studies, psychology, and kinship studies.
Table of Contents
1. Envisioning Evolution: Representations of Humanness and Causation 2. Origin Stories: The Co-Evolution of Human Anatomy and Sociality 3. Losses and Gains: Economic and Health Transitions Since the Neolithic Revolution 4. Thicker than Water: Blood, Milk, and Human Evolution 5. Risk and Responsibility: Power and Danger in Individualized Approaches to Preventive Health 6. Difference as Destiny: Race, Sex, and Culture 7. Choosers and Cheaters: The Sexual/Reproductive Conflict Hypothesis 8. Hoe and Plow, Pig and Cow: Work, Family, and Gender Stratification 9. Tale of Two-Spirits: Constructing Gender and Sexuality, Aptitudes and Inclinations 10. Savage Empathy: Sources of Competitiveness and Cooperativeness, Greed and Generosity 11. Why Stratify? Inequality and Interpersonal Violence 12. Peace and War: Patterns and Prevention of Violent Intergroup Conflict
Elizabeth D. Whitaker is an anthropologist specializing in human health, social history, and the history of scientific ideas. She teaches at the Università degli Studi di Bologna, Italy, and has taught anthropology in the United States for many years.