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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Social Evolution: Alternatives and Variations (Introduction).

P. 212-250.

It has always been peculiar to evolutionists to compare social and biological evolution, the latter as visualized by Charles Darwin.[1] But it also seems possible and correct to draw an analogy with another great discovery in the field of evolutionary biology, with the homologous series of Nikolay Vavilov (1921, 1927, 1967). However, there is no complete identity between cultural parallelism and biological homologous series. Vavilov studied the morphological homology, whereas our focus within the realm of social evolution is the functional one. No doubt, the morphological homomorphism also happens in the process of social evolution (e.g., in the Hawaii Islands where a type of the sociocultural organization surprisingly similar with the ones of other highly developed parts of Polynesia had independently formed by the end of the 18th century [Sahlins 1972/1958; Goldman 1970; Earle 1978; Johnson and Earle 2000; Seaton 1978]). But this topic is beyond the present article's problematique.

 


 

[1] See e.g., Hallpike 1986; Pomper and Shaw 2002; Mesoudi et al. 2006; Aunger 2006; Barkow 2006; Blackmore 2006; Mulder et al. 2006; Borsboom 2006; Bridgeman 2006; Cronk 2006; Dennett and McKay 2006; Fuentes 2006; Kelly et al. 2006; Kincaid 2006; Knudsen and Hodgson 2006; Lyman 2006; Mende and Wermke 2006; O'Brien 2006; Pagel 2006; Read 2006; Reader 2006; Sopher 2006; Tehrani 2006; Wimsatt 2006; on such comparisons, as well as our own ideas about similarities and differences between social and biological evolution, in more details see Grinin and Korotayev 2007а, 2009b; Grinin, Markov, and Korotayev 2008: 145–152; 2009. Note, however, that in fact frequently this was essentially Spencerian vision which was implied in such cases; that is the evolution was perceived as ‘a change from an incoherent homogeneity to a coherent heterogeneity’ (Spencer 1972 [1862]: 71).

 

In book

Social Evolution: Alternatives and Variations (Introduction).
Volgograd: Uchitel, 2011.