Innovation in Cultural Systems: Contributions from Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Alternative view 1 of Innovation in Cultural Systems: Contributions from Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Alternative view 2 of Innovation in Cultural Systems: Contributions from Evolutionary Anthropology

Innovation in Cultural Systems: Contributions from Evolutionary Anthropology

by Michael J. O'Brien
     
 

In recent years an interest in applying the principles of evolution to the study of culture emerged in the social sciences. Archaeologists and anthropologists reconsidered the role of innovation in particular, and have moved toward characterizing innovation in cultural systems not only as a product but also as an evolutionary process. This distinction was familiar

Overview

In recent years an interest in applying the principles of evolution to the study of culture emerged in the social sciences. Archaeologists and anthropologists reconsidered the role of innovation in particular, and have moved toward characterizing innovation in cultural systems not only as a product but also as an evolutionary process. This distinction was familiar to biology but new to the social sciences; cultural evolutionists from the nineteenth to the twentieth century had tended to see innovation as a preprogrammed change that occurred when a cultural group "needed" to overcome environmental problems. In this volume, leading researchers from a variety of disciplines--including anthropology, archaeology,
evolutionary biology, philosophy, and psychology--offer their perspectives on cultural innovation. The book provides not only a range of views but also an integrated account, with the chapters offering an orderly progression of thought.
The contributors consider innovation in biological terms, discussing epistemology,
animal studies, systematics and phylogeny, phenotypic plasticity and evolvability,
and evo-devo; they discuss modern insights into innovation, including simulation,
the random-copying model, diffusion, and demographic analysis; and they offer case studies of innovation from archaeological and ethnographic records, examining developmental, behavioral, and social patterns. ContributorsAndré Ariew, R.
Alexander Bentley, Werner Callebaut, Joseph Henrich, Anne Kandler, Kevin N. Laland,
Daniel O. Larson, Alex Mesoudi, Michael J. O'Brien, Craig T. Palmer, Adam Powell,
Simon M. Reader, Valentine Roux, Chet Savage, Michael Brian Schiffer, Jeffrey H.
Schwartz, Stephen J. Shennan, James Steele, Mark G. Thomas, Todd L.
VanPool

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262013338
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
10/23/2009
Series:
Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
7.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Archaeologists have recently emerged as some of the most sophisticated evolutionists in the human sciences. O'Brien and Shennan's book on innovation is an important contribution to a central but difficult topic. It showcases what archaeologists and their allies are accomplishing."—Peter J.

Richerson, Distinguished Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy,University of California, Davis

Meet the Author

Stephen J. Shennan is Professor of Theoretical Archaeology and Director of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >