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Cultural EvolutionSociety, Technology, Language, and Religion$
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Peter J. Richerson and Morton H. Christiansen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019750

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019750.001.0001

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Cultural Evolution of the Structure of Human Groups

Cultural Evolution of the Structure of Human Groups

(p.87) 6 Cultural Evolution of the Structure of Human Groups
Cultural Evolution

Fiona M. Jordan

Carel van Schaik

Pieter François

Herbert Gintis

Daniel B. M. Haun

Daniel J. Hruschka

Marco A. Janssen

James A. Kitts

Laurent Lehmann

Sarah Mathew

Peter J. Richerson

Peter Turchin

Polly Wiessner

The MIT Press

Small-scale human societies are a leap in size and complexity from those of our primate ancestors. We propose that the behavioral predispositions which allowed the evolution of small-scale societies were also those that allowed the cultural evolution of large-scale sociality, in the form of multiple transitions to large-scale societies. Although sufficient, the cultural evolutionary processes that acted on these predispositions also needed a unique set of niche parameters, including ecological factors, guiding norms, and technologies of social control and coordination. Identifying the regularities and patterns in these factors will be the empirical challenge for the future. Published in the Strungmann Forum Reports Series.

Keywords:   small-scale societies, human groups, ecological factors, guiding norms, social control, cultural evolution

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