Kin Selection and the Origins of Hereditary Social Inequality

A Case Study from the Northern Northwest Coast
  • Herbert D. G. Maschner
  • John Q. Patton
Chapter
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)

Abstract

Anthropologists, and archaeologists in particular, have long used concepts derived from the biological sciences. Terms like evolution, adaptation, population pressure, and carrying capacity are commonplace in the archaeological literature. Perhaps no better example of this can be found than in anthropological theories concerning the development of hereditary social inequality where most archaeologists writing on the origin of chiefdoms and states have used one or more of these terms borrowed from biology (e.g., Fried 1967; Binford 1969; Carneiro 1970; A. Johnson and Earle 1987). The recent Darwinian movement within anthropology has brought into question many of the assumptions that underlie such an approach. We will examine this challenge, and argue that a scientific study of hereditary social inequality must be modernized and brought into line with recent advances in evolutionary biology and ecology.

Keywords

Floor Area Corporate Group Northwest Coast Bryn Mawr American Antiquity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert D. G. Maschner
    • 1
  • John Q. Patton
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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