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      Claude Lévi-Strauss as a humanist forerunner of cultural macroevolution studies

      review-article
      Evolutionary Human Sciences
      Cambridge University Press
      Anthropology, ethnography, ontology, consilience, Wilson's effect

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          Abstract

          Abstract

          Cross-cultural studies of humans using methods developed in evolutionary biology and comparative linguistics are flourishing. ‘Cultural macroevolution’ has great potential to address fundamental questions of cultural transformation and human history. However, this field is poorly integrated with core cultural anthropology, although both aim in part at addressing similar issues. Claude Lévi-Strauss established a comparative approach searching for universals and documentation of diversity to bring understanding to cultural phenomena. Recognizing the nomothetic nature of Lévi-Strauss’ work, his abstraction and modelling, provides an example within anthropology of the search for universals and the study of big data, akin to cultural macroevolution studies. The latter could benefit, beyond the sophisticated analyses of big data mined from ethnographic work, from the integration with the intellectual legacy and practice of core anthropology and thus propitiate the synergistic interaction of disciplines. Attempts at rapprochement of disciplines from the natural sciences that lack pluralism and present a narrow view are deemed examples of ‘Wilson's effect’.

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          "Economic man" in cross-cultural perspective: behavioral experiments in 15 small-scale societies.

          Researchers from across the social sciences have found consistent deviations from the predictions of the canonical model of self-interest in hundreds of experiments from around the world. This research, however, cannot determine whether the uniformity results from universal patterns of human behavior or from the limited cultural variation available among the university students used in virtually all prior experimental work. To address this, we undertook a cross-cultural study of behavior in ultimatum, public goods, and dictator games in a range of small-scale societies exhibiting a wide variety of economic and cultural conditions. We found, first, that the canonical model - based on self-interest - fails in all of the societies studied. Second, our data reveal substantially more behavioral variability across social groups than has been found in previous research. Third, group-level differences in economic organization and the structure of social interactions explain a substantial portion of the behavioral variation across societies: the higher the degree of market integration and the higher the payoffs to cooperation in everyday life, the greater the level of prosociality expressed in experimental games. Fourth, the available individual-level economic and demographic variables do not consistently explain game behavior, either within or across groups. Fifth, in many cases experimental play appears to reflect the common interactional patterns of everyday life.
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            What Is It Like to Be a Bat?

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              Does evolutionary theory need a rethink?

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Evol Hum Sci
                Evol Hum Sci
                EHS
                Evolutionary Human Sciences
                Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, UK )
                2513-843X
                2022
                12 July 2022
                : 4
                : e31
                Affiliations
                [1]Paleontological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich , Karl Schmid Strasse 4, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland
                Author notes
                *Corresponding author. E-mail: m.sanchez@ 123456pim.uzh.ch
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7587-3648
                Article
                S2513843X22000305
                10.1017/ehs.2022.30
                10426008
                11486a6e-8edc-46cc-a645-88bc21b6ef6c
                © The Author(s) 2022

                This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.

                History
                Page count
                Figures: 1, References: 107, Pages: 13
                Categories
                Perspective

                anthropology,ethnography,ontology,consilience,wilson's effect

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