Progressive Social Evolution and Hunter-Gatherers

  • Robert L. Bettinger
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)


It is commonly held that early accounts of hunter-gatherers are primarily descriptive and that evolutionary and materialist social theories and explicitly evolutionary and materialist accounts of hunter-gatherers are uniquely mid-twentieth-century inventions. This is simply not so. Hunter-gatherer research has traditionally been undertaken within explicit theoretical frameworks and all but the most recent and doctrinaire interpretations of hunter-gatherers, evolutionary and materialist alike, are constructed out of arguments and assumptions that are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years old. The first two chapters of this book examine some of the more important of these theories and assumptions and the larger intellectual traditions in which they participated to provide a broader sense of the theoretical and historical context in which modern hunter-gatherer studies are embedded.


Natural Selection Social Evolution Evolutionary Theory Political Theory Primitive Society 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert L. Bettinger
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, DavisDavisUSA

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