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Academic & Professional Books  Evolutionary Biology  Human Evolution

Innovation in Cultural Systems Contributions from Evolutionary Anthropology

Out of Print
Edited By: Michael J O'Brien and Stephen J Shennan
288 pages, 45 illustrations
Publisher: MIT Press
Innovation in Cultural Systems
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  • Innovation in Cultural Systems ISBN: 9780262013338 Hardback Oct 2009 Out of Print #195717
About this book Contents Biography Related titles

About this book

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.


Series Foreword
Preface and Acknowledgments

1#Issues in Anthropological Studies of Innovation 3

2#Innovation and Invention from a Logical Point of View
3#Comparative Perspectives on Human Innovation
4#Organismal Innovation
5#Innovation, Replicative Behavior, and Evolvability: Contributions from Neuroscience and Human Decision-Making Theory
6#Innovation from EvoDevo to Human Culture

7#The Evolution of Innovation-Enhancing Institutions
8#Fashion versus Reason in the Creative Industries
9#Demography and Variation in the Accumulation of Culturally Inherited Skills
10#Cultural Traditions and the Evolutionary Advantages of Noninnovation
11#The Experimental Study of Cultural Innovation
12#Social Learning, Economic Inequality, and Innovation Diffusion

13#Technological Innovations and Developmental Trajectories: Social Factors as Evolutionary Forces
14#Can Archaeologists Study Processes of Invention?
15#War, Women, and Religion: The Spread of Salado Polychrome in the American Southwest

Index 269

Customer Reviews


Michael J. O'Brien is Dean of the College of Arts and Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Missouri.

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

Out of Print
Edited By: Michael J O'Brien and Stephen J Shennan
288 pages, 45 illustrations
Publisher: MIT Press
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