Monday, February 20, 2012

Evolutionism

According to Alan Barnard in Investigating Human Social Life,evolutionist anthropologists  are those interested in how cultures and societies change and develop from simple to complex.The evolutionist perspective was most prominent in the late 19th century but it gained popularity in the late 20th century.

It presupposes the following assumptions-
Humankind is basically inventive.Therefore one idea procedure or tool may be invented more than once.
Humans everywhere think in much the same way.Therefore the same things will be invented in different places across the globe.

Evolutionists can be divided in four camps:
Unilinear evolutionists (from the mid 19th century) hold that there is a precise line of evolution ,the same everywhere.For example according to Sir John Lubbock religion evolved from atheism to fetishism to nature-worship or totemism to shamanism to idolotry to theism.
Universal evolutionists (from the early 20th century) hold that only general trends are the same everywhere. V Gordon Childe traced evolution from hunting and gathering to agriculture,to the formation of states and from the urban revolution to the revolution in human knowledge since the invention of writing.
Multilinear evolutionists (from the mid 20th century) hold that there are many lines of evolution.Local history and ecological constraints create different evolutionary paths in different parts of the world.Julian Steward emphasized the role of the environment in the evolution of specific hunting and gathering societies.
Sociobiologists (from the late 20th century) hold that human social evolution is similar to that of animals.Robin Fox argues that the rudiments of human kinship can be found in primate societies.

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