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Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

Niche Construction And The Study Of Culture Change In Anthropology: Challenges And Prospects, Emily Schultz Jan 2016

Niche Construction And The Study Of Culture Change In Anthropology: Challenges And Prospects, Emily Schultz

Anthropology Faculty Publications

Many North American anthropologists remain deeply suspicious of attempts to theorize the evolution of culture, given the legacy in our discipline of nineteenth-century stagist theories of cultural evolution that were shaped by scientific racism. In the late twentieth-century, some theorists tried to escape this legacy by using formal models drawn from neo-Darwinian population biology to reconceptualize cultural evolutionary processes, but these more recent approaches have been found unsatisfactory for reasons of their own. For example, gene-culture coevolution and dual inheritance theory have limited appeal to many contemporary cultural anthropologists because these theories rely on definitions of culture, and assumptions about ...


New Perspectives On Organism-Environment Interactions In Anthropology, Emily Schultz Jan 2013

New Perspectives On Organism-Environment Interactions In Anthropology, Emily Schultz

Anthropology Faculty Publications

Anthropologists contend that the organism-environment connections responsible for human evolution are indirect—mediated by culture. This chapter reviews influential twentieth-century anthropological interpretations of the cultural mediation of human adaptations to environments, arguing that ethnography and other qualitative forms of analysis reveal important phenomena overlooked by quantitative analysts committed to methodological individualism. It highlights work by post-positivist anthropologists, who describe relations among human and non-human organisms, cultural forms, and features of environments as “natural-cultural” networks, an approach reminiscent of developmental systems theory and niche construction. Evolutionary theorists have much to gain by incorporating these sophisticated, contemporary post-positivist anthropological understandings of culture ...


Resolving The Anti-Antievolutionism Dilemma: A Brief For Relational Evolutionary Thinking In Anthropology, Emily Schultz Jun 2009

Resolving The Anti-Antievolutionism Dilemma: A Brief For Relational Evolutionary Thinking In Anthropology, Emily Schultz

Anthropology Faculty Publications

Anthropologists often disagree about whether, or in what ways, anthropology is “evolutionary.” Anthropologists defending accounts of primate or human biological development and evolution that conflict with mainstream “neo-Darwinian” thinking have sometimes been called “creationists” or have been accused of being “antiscience.” As a result, many cultural anthropologists struggle with an “anti-antievolutionism” dilemma: they are more comfortable opposing the critics of evolutionary biology, broadly conceived, than they are defending mainstream evolutionary views with which they disagree. Evolutionary theory, however, comes in many forms. Relational evolutionary approaches such as Developmental Systems Theory, niche construction, and autopoiesis–natural drift augment mainstream evolutionary thinking ...