Author: Peter Jordan
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2014-11-06
Genre: Social Science
"This book examines three interlocking topics that are central to all archaeological and anthropological inquiry: the role of technology in human existence; the reproduction of social traditions; the factors that generate cultural diversity and change. The overall aim is to outline a new kind of approach for researching variability and transformation in human material culture, and the main argument is that these technological traditions exhibit heritable continuity: they consist of information stored in human brains and then passed onto others through social learning. Technological traditions can therefore be understood as manifestations of a complex transmission system, and applying this new perspective to human material culture builds on, but also largely transcends, much of the earlier work conducted by archaeologists and anthropologists into the significance, function and social meanings associated with tools, objects and vernacular architecture"--
Author: Alex Mesoudi
Release Date: 2015-04-30
Genre: Social Science
This volume is motivated by the desire to explain why Neanderthals were replaced by modern humans, in terms of cultural differences between the two (sub-) species. It provides up-to-date coverage on the theory of cultural evolution as is being used by anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists and psychologists to decipher hominin cultural change and diversity during the Palaeolithic. The contributing authors are directly involved in this effort and the material presented includes novel approaches and findings. Chapters explain how learning strategies in combination with social and demographic factors (e.g., population size and mobility patterns) predict cultural evolution in a world without the printing press, television or the Internet. Also addressed is the inverse problem of how learning strategies may be inferred from actual trajectories of cultural change, for example as seen in the North American Palaeolithic. Mathematics and statistics, a sometimes necessary part of theory, are explained in elementary terms where they appear, with details relegated to appendices. Full citations of the relevant literature will help the reader to further pursue any topic of interest.
This is the first book to examine social learning and innovation in hunter–gatherers from around the world. More is known about social learning in chimpanzees and nonhuman primates than is known about social learning in hunter–gatherers, a way of life that characterized most of human history. The book describes diverse patterns of learning and teaching behaviors in contemporary hunter–gatherers from the perspectives of cultural anthropology, ecological anthropology, biological anthropology, and developmental psychology. The book addresses several theoretical issues including the learning hypothesis which suggests that the fate of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals in the last glacial period might have been due to the differences in learning ability. It has been unequivocally claimed that social learning is intrinsically important for human beings; however, the characteristics of human learning remain under a dense fog despite innumerable studies with children from urban–industrial cultures. Controversy continues on problems such as: do hunter–gatherers teach? If so, what types of teaching occur, who does it, how often, under what contexts, and so on. The book explores the most basic and intrinsic aspects of social learning as well as the foundation of innovative activities in everyday activities of contemporary hunter–gatherer people across the earth. The book examines how hunter-gatherer core values, such as gender and age egalitarianism and extensive sharing of food and childcare are transmitted and acquired by children. Chapters are grouped into five sections: 1) theoretical perspectives of learning in hunter–gatherers, 2) modes and processes of social learning in hunter–gatherers, 3) innovation and cumulative culture, 4) play and other cultural contexts of social learning and innovation, 5) biological contexts of learning and innovation. Ideas and concepts based on the data gathered through an intensive fieldwork by the authors will give much insight into the mechanisms and meanings of learning and education in modern humans.
Author: Nicholas S. Thompson
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2013-06-29
The relations between behavior, evolution, and culture have been a subject of vigorous debate since the publication of Darwin's The Descent of Man (1871). The latest volume of Perspectives in Ethology brings anthropologists, ethologists, psychologists, and evolutionary theorists together to reexamine this important relation. With two exceptions (the essays by Brown and Eldredge), all of the present essays were originally presented at the Fifth Biannual Symposium on the Science of Behavior held in Guadalajara, Mexico, in February 1998. The volume opens with the problem of the origins of culture, tackled from two different viewpoints by Richerson and Boyd, and Lancaster, Kaplan, Hill, and Hurtado, respectively. Richerson and Boyd analyze the possible relations between climatic change in the Pleistocene and the evo lution of social learning, evaluating the boundary conditions under which social learning could increase fitness and contribute to culture. Lancaster, Kaplan, Hill, and Hurtado examine how a shift in the diet of the genus Homo toward difficult-to-acquire food could have determined (or coe volved with) unique features of the human life cycle. These two essays illus trate how techniques that range from computer modeling to comparative behavioral analysis, and that make use of a wide range of data, can be used for drawing inferences about past selection pressures. As culture evolves, it must somehow find its place within (and also affect) a complex hierarchy of behavioral and biological factors.
Evolution, biology, and society is a catch-all phrase encompassing any scholarly work that utilizes evolutionary theory and/or biological or behavioral genetic methods in the study of the human social group, and The Oxford Handbook of Evolution, Biology, and Society contains an much needed overview of research in the area by sociologists and other social scientists. The examined topics cover a wide variety of issues, including the origins of social solidarity; religious beliefs; sex differences; gender inequality; determinants of human happiness; the nature of social stratification and inequality and its effects; identity, status, and other group processes; race, ethnicity, and race discrimination; fertility and family processes; crime and deviance; and cultural and social change. The scholars whose work is presented in this volume come from a variety of disciplines in addition to sociology, including psychology, political science, and criminology. Yet, as the essays in this volume demonstrate, the potential of theory and methods from biology for illuminating social phenomena is clear, and sociologists stand to gain from learning more about them and using them in their own work. The theory focuses on evolution by natural selection, the primary paradigm of the biological sciences, while the methods include the statistical analyses sociologists are familiar with, as well as other methods that they may not be familiar with, such as behavioral genetic methods, methods for including genetic factors in statistical analyses, gene-wide association studies, candidate gene studies, and methods for testing levels of hormones and other biochemicals in blood and saliva and including these factors in analyses. This work will be of interest to any sociologist with an interest in exploring the interaction of biological and sociological processes. As an introduction to the field it is useful for teaching upper-level or graduate students in sociology or a related social science.
Author: Tim Clutton-Brock
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2016-04-20
The book aims to integrate our understanding of mammalian societies into a novel synthesis that is relevant to behavioural ecologists, ecologists, and anthropologists. It adopts a coherent structure that deals initially with the characteristics and strategies of females, before covering those of males, cooperative societies and hominid societies. It reviews our current understanding both of the structure of societies and of the strategies of individuals; it combines coverage of relevant areas of theory with coverage of interspecific comparisons, intraspecific comparisons and experiments; it explores both evolutionary causes of different traits and their ecological consequences; and it integrates research on different groups of mammals with research on primates and humans and attempts to put research on human societies into a broader perspective.
For more than a century, the study of hunting and gathering societies has been central to the development of both archaeology and anthropology as academic disciplines, and has also generated widespread public interest and debate. The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-Gatherers provides a comprehensive review of hunter-gatherer studies to date, including critical engagements with older debates, new theoretical perspectives, and renewed obligations for greater engagement between researchers and indigenous communities. Chapters provide in-depth archaeological, historical, and anthropological case-studies, and examine far-reaching questions about human social relations, attitudes to technology, ecology, and management of resources and the environment, as well as issues of diet, health, and gender relations - all central topics in hunter-gatherer research, but also themes that have great relevance for modern global society and its future challenges. The Handbook also provides a strategic vision for how the integration of new methods, approaches, and study regions can ensure that future research into the archaeology and anthropology of hunter-gatherers will continue to deliver penetrating insights into the factors that underlie all human diversity.
Author: Stephen Shennan
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2009
"Archaeological data are uniquely suited to testing models of cultural evolution. This volume provides an excellent summary of the state of the art in this new field."--Robert Boyd, coauthor of "Not By Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution"
Author: Kenneth E. Sassaman
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Release Date: 2016-10-01
Genre: Social Science
The remains of hunter-gatherer groups are the most commonly discovered archaeological resources in the world, and their study constitutes much of the archaeological research done in North America. In spite of paradigm-shifting discoveries elsewhere in the world that may indicate that hunter-gatherer societies were more complex than simple remnants of a prehistoric past, North American archaeology by and large hasn’t embraced these theories, instead maintaining its general neoevolutionary track. This book will change that. Combining the latest empirical studies of archaeological practice with the latest conceptual tools of anthropological and historical theory, this volume seeks to set a new course for hunter-gatherer archaeology by organizing the chapters around three themes. The first section offers diverse views of the role of human agency, challenging the premise that hunter-gatherer societies were bound by their interactions with the natural world. The second section considers how society and culture are constituted. Chapters in the final section take the long view of the historical process, examining how cultural diversity arises out of interaction and the continuity of ritual practices. A closing commentary by H. Martin Wobst underscores the promise of an archaeology of foragers that does not associate foraging with any particular ideology or social structure but instead invites inquiry into counterintuitive alternatives. Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology as Historical Process seeks to blur the divisions between prehistory and history, between primitive and modern, and between hunter-gatherers and people in other societies. Because it offers alternatives to the dominant discourse and contributes to the agenda of hunter-gatherer research, this book will be of interest to anyone involved in the study of foraging peoples.
Due to political pressures, prior to the 1990s little was known about the nature of human foraging adaptations in the deserts, grasslands, and mountains of north western China during the last glacial period. Even less was known about the transition to agriculture that followed. Now open to foreign visitation, there is now an increasing understanding of the foraging strategies which led both to the development of millet agriculture and to the utilization of the extreme environments of the Tibetan Plateau. This text explores the transition from the foraging societies of the Late Paleolithic to the emergence of settled farming societies and the emergent pastoralism of the middle Neolithic striving to help answer the diverse and numerous questions of this critical transitional period. * Examines the transition from foraging societies of the Late Paleolithic to the emergence of settled farming societies and the emergent pastoralism of the middle Neolithic * Explores explanatory models for the links between climate change and cultural change that may have influenced the development of millet agriculture * Reviews the relationship between climate change and population expansions and contraditions during the late Quaternary
This book is about socio-cultural developments in eastern Denmark during the 3rd millennium BC. The aurthor's aim is to advance a new and coherent understanding of cultural and social developments as evident from the late Funnel Beaker period to the emergence of incipient Bronze Age societies at the onset of the 2nd millennium BC.
Author: Michael D. Breed
Publisher: Academic Pr
Release Date: 2010-09-13
The Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior has engaged-with great success-the efforts of many of the best behavioral biologists of the 21st century. Section editors drawn from the most accomplished behavioral scientists of their generation have enrolled an international cast of highly respected thinkers and writers-all of whom have taken great care and joy in illuminating every imaginable corner of animal behavior. This comprehensive work covers not only the usual topics such as communication, learning, sexual selection, navigation, and the history of the field, but also emerging topics in cognition, animal welfare, conservation, and applications of animal behavior. The large section on animal cognition brings together many of the world's experts on the subject to provide a comprehensive overview of this rapidly developing area. Chapters relating to animal welfare give a full view of behavioral interactions of humans with companion animals, farm animals, and animals in the wild. The key role of animal behavior in conservation biology receives broad attention, including chapters on topics such as the effects of noise pollution, captive breeding, and how the behavioral effects of parasites interacts with conservation issues. Animal behavior in environmental biology is highlighted in chapters on the effects of endocrine disruptors on behavior and a large number of chapters on key species, such as wolves, chimpanzees, hyenas and sharks. Clear, accessible writing complements a wealth of information for undergraduate college students about the essential concepts of animal behavior and the application of those concepts across the field. In-depth coverage of concepts, methods, and exemplar organisms serves the needs of graduate students and professionals in the field. From the use of behavior in assessing the welfare of pigs to the social behavior of insects, from animal empathy to bat brains, this authoritative reference, with its in-depth introductory articles, rich array of illustrations, interactive cross-referenced links, and numerous suggested readings, can guide the student or the professional to an expanded appreciation of the far-flung world of animal behavior. An invaluable tool for teaching and a source of enrichment and detail for any topic covered in an animal behavior course, the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior is the definitive reference work in its field and will be for years to come. Comprehensive work covers not only the usual topics (e.g., learning, sexual selection, navigation, etc.), but also emerging areas of animal behavior (e.g., welfare, conservation, application). Contains in-depth introductions to the material that make each well-illustrated section come alive with the best the new content the discipline has to offer. Glossary includes a compendium of behavioral terms that, when taken together, form a succinct mosaic of virtually every concept and phenomenon related to animal behavior, both now and in the past. Section editors, drawn from around the world, represent the best and the brightest among today's behavioral biologists and have recruited a broad range of internationally recognized experts. Editors-in-Chief are experienced scientists and writers who between them have authored or edited eight books and teach courses in animal behavior at their respective universities.
Virtually all aspects of human behavior show enormous variation both within and between cultural groups, including material culture, social organization and language. Thousands of distinct cultural groups exist: about 6,000 languages are spoken today, and it is thought that a far greater number of languages existed in the past but became extinct. Using a Darwinian approach, this book seeks to explain this rich cultural variation. There are a number of theoretical reasons to believe that cultural diversification might be tree-like, that is phylogenetic: material and non-material culture is clearly inherited by descendants, there is descent with modification, and languages appear to be hierarchically related. There are also a number of theoretical reasons to believe that cultural evolution is not tree-like: cultural inheritance is not Mendelian and can indeed be vertical, horizontal or oblique, evidence of borrowing abounds, cultures are not necessarily biological populations and can be transient and complex. Here, for the first time, this title tackles these questions of cultural evolution empirically and quantitatively, using a range of case studies from Africa, the Pacific, Europe, Asia and America. A range of powerful theoretical tools developed in evolutionary biology is used to test detailed hypotheses about historical patterns and adaptive functions in cultural evolution. Evidence is amassed from archaeological, linguist and cultural datasets, from both recent and historical or pre-historical time periods. A unifying theme is that the phylogenetic approach is a useful and powerful framework, both for describing the evolutionary history of these traits, and also for testing adaptive hypotheses about their evolution and co-evolution. Contributors include archaeologists, anthropologists, evolutionary biologists and linguists, and this book will be of great interest to all those involved in these areas.