Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Cultural anthropology’s love-hate relationship with evolution: what will the future bring?


van Schaik, Carel P (2020). Cultural anthropology’s love-hate relationship with evolution: what will the future bring? Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 144:77-92.

Abstract

Cultural anthropology and evolutionary biology arose around the same time, and both adopted the same evolutionist framework. Their paths soon diverged, however, largely because anthropology rejected the notion of evolutionary progress—and thus the notion of the existence of primitive versus advanced races—before evolutionary biology did. Most anthropologists subsequently rejected all evolutionary interpretations of ethnographic patterns and thus all biological influences on human behavior. Most evolutionary biologists until recently ignored the massive role of culture in guiding human behavior. Promising recent work suggests that important new insights emerge when evolutionary and cultural influences on behavior and society are integrated. The success of these new approaches indicates that the presence of a similar mental substrate everywhere produces a non-trivial level of predictability and thus convergence in cultural evolution. Future work along these lines should therefore yield novel insights in how humans respond to changing subsistence or institutional arrangements.

Abstract

Cultural anthropology and evolutionary biology arose around the same time, and both adopted the same evolutionist framework. Their paths soon diverged, however, largely because anthropology rejected the notion of evolutionary progress—and thus the notion of the existence of primitive versus advanced races—before evolutionary biology did. Most anthropologists subsequently rejected all evolutionary interpretations of ethnographic patterns and thus all biological influences on human behavior. Most evolutionary biologists until recently ignored the massive role of culture in guiding human behavior. Promising recent work suggests that important new insights emerge when evolutionary and cultural influences on behavior and society are integrated. The success of these new approaches indicates that the presence of a similar mental substrate everywhere produces a non-trivial level of predictability and thus convergence in cultural evolution. Future work along these lines should therefore yield novel insights in how humans respond to changing subsistence or institutional arrangements.

Statistics

Downloads

18 downloads since deposited on 25 Nov 2020
18 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:25 Nov 2020 17:23
Last Modified:25 Nov 2020 20:26
Publisher:Reimer
ISSN:0044-2666
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.

Download

Closed Access: Download allowed only for UZH members