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Ecological-Evolutionary Theory Principles and Applications

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ISBN-10: 1594511012

ISBN-13: 9781594511011

Edition: 2006

Authors: Gerhard Lenski

List price: $71.95
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Description:

For forty years, in a variety of books and articles, Gerhard Lenski has become the most influential proponent of ecological and evolutionary explanations of human societies, their development and transformations, from the Stone Age to the present. In his newest book, Lenski offers a succinct but comprehensive statement of the full body of his theory followed by demonstration of how it can be used to generate new and valuable insights when applied to a set of highly diverse issues. These include debates concerning the origin of ancient Israel and its distinctive culture, the rise of the West in the modern era, the highly varied trajectories of development of Third World nations in recent decades, and the failure of Marxist efforts to transform society in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. In the concluding chapter, Lenski discusses a number of other issues and areas where ecological-evolutionary theory may be fruitfully applied in the future.
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Book details

List price: $71.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Routledge
Publication date: 5/1/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

Gerhard Lenski, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is the author of Power and Privilege and The Religious Factor. He is a recent recipient of the ASA Distinguished Career Award.

List of Figures and Tables
Preface
Principles
Evolutionary Theory: An Introduction
The Family of Evolutionary Theories
Older and Newer Evolutionary Theories Compared
Why the Revival of Evolutionary Theory?
Aim and Plan of This Volume
Problem and Method
Epistemological Assumptions
Basic Units of Analysis
Dependent Variables: Characteristics of Individual Societies
Dependent Variables: Characteristics of Sets of Societies
Dependent Variables: Characteristics of the Global System of Societies
The Great Paradox
The Biological Foundations of Human Societies
Characteristics Humans Share with All Other Species
Characteristics Humans Share with Certain Other Species
Characteristics Unique to Humans
Evolution as the Cumulation of Information
The Nature of Human Nature
Constants and Variables: A Brief Excursus
Determinants of the Characteristics of Individual Societies: The Independent Variables
The Genetic System of Information
The Biophysical Environment
The Sociocultural Environment
The Neurological System of Information
The Cultural System of Information
Continuity and Change in Individual Societies: The Basic Dynamics of Societal Systems
Intrasocietal Selection
Human Societies as Imperfect Systems
Societal Progress, Stasis, and Regression
An Initial Model of the Determinants of the Characteristics of Individual Societies
Excursus: Toward Greater Specification of Fundamental Relationships-Four Equations
Characteristics of Sets of Societies
Mapping the Social Universe: A Taxonomy of Societies
Individual Societies and the Taxons
Hunting and Gathering Societies
Fishing Societies
Horticultural Societies
Agrarian Societies
Maritime Societies
Herding Societies
Industrial Societies
Postindustrial Societies?
Hybrid Societies
Special Theories in Retrospect
Excursus: Testing Ecological-Evolutionary Theory
Characteristics of the Global System of Societies
An Ecological-Evolutionary Model of the Global System
The Great Paradox Revisited
Historical Eras
Refining the Special Theories
The Evolution of the Evolutionary Process
Implications for Research
Ecological-Evolutionary Theory and Its Alternatives: A Comparison
Time Frame and Basic Unit(s) of Analysis
Independent Variables
Methodology and Epistemology
Parsonsian Evolutionism
Culturalism Materialism
World-System Theory
Modernization Theory
Historical Particularism
Retrospect and Prospect
Excursus: Further Notes on Technology and Ideology
Applications
Introduction to Part II
The Origins and Early Development of Ancient Israel
Early Efforts to Explain Israel's Origins
The Peasant Revolt Model
Questions Raised by Ecological-Evolutionary Theory
Biophysical Environment and Technology: Bases for a New Model of Israel's Origins
Premonarchic Israel as a Frontier Society
The Frontier Society and Peasant Revolt Models Compared
A Further Link in the Causal Chain
Ideology and the Exodus People
A Concluding Note
Excursus: A Related Development
The Rise of the West
Historical Perspective
Some Recent Explanations
"The Greatest Event Since the Creation of the World, Excluding the Incarnation and Death of Him Who Created It"
Other Treasure
Equations 3 and 4 Revisited
A Mental Experiment
Other Factors in the Rise of the West: The Larger Model
Technology's Role
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Toward an Ecological-Evolutionary Model of the Rise of the West
Policy Implications
Trajectories of Development among Societies (coauthored with Patrick D. Nolan)
Industrializing Agrarian and Industrializing Horticultural Societies Compared
Data and Methods
Initial Findings
Possible Alternative Explanations of Findings
Conclusions
Cases in the Analysis
An Experiment That Failed
Ecological-Evolutionary Theory and the Marxist Experiments
Fatal Flaws in the Marxist Program
What Have We Learned from Marxist Experiments? What Might We Learn?
Epilogue
Retrospect and Prospect
Retrospect
An Agenda for Future Research
The Arts and Technological Innovation
Science and Technological Innovation
Religion and Technological Innovation
War and Human Nature
Population Growth and Quality of Life
The Social Impact of Advances in the Technologies of Health and Sanitation
Concluding Remarks
References
Index
About the Author