neoevolutionism

neoevolutionism

      school of anthropology concerned with long-term culture change and with the similar patterns of development that may be seen in unrelated, widely separated cultures. It arose in the mid-20th century, and it addresses the relation between the long-term changes that are characteristic of human culture in general and the short-term, localized social and ecological adjustments that cause specific cultures to differ from one another as they adapt to their own unique environments. Further, neoevolutionists investigate the ways in which different cultures adapt to similar environments and examine the similarities and differences in the long-term historical trajectories of such groups. Because most neoevolutionists are interested in the environmental and technological adjustments of the groups they study, many are identified with the cultural ecological approach to ethnography, with the culture process approach to archaeology, and with the study of early and protohumans in biological anthropology.

      Neoevolutionary anthropological thought emerged in the 1940s, in the work of the American anthropologists Leslie A. White (White, Leslie A.) and Julian H. Steward (Steward, Julian) and others. White hypothesized that cultures became more advanced as they became more efficient at harnessing energy and that technology and social organization were both influential in instigating such efficiencies. Steward, inspired by classifying the native cultures of North and South America, focused on the parallel developments of unrelated groups in similar environments; he discussed evolutionary change in terms of what he called “levels of sociocultural integration” and “multilinear evolution,” terms he used to distinguish neoevolution from earlier, unilineal theories of cultural evolution.

      In the years since White's and Steward's seminal work, neoevolutionary approaches have been variously accepted, challenged, rejected, and revised, and they continue to generate a lively controversy among those interested in long-term cultural and social change.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Neoevolutionism — is a social theory that tries to explain the evolution of societies by drawing on Charles Darwin s theory of evolution and discarding some dogmas of the previous social evolutionism. Neoevolutionism is concerned with long term, directional,… …   Wikipedia

  • НЕОЭВОЛЮЦИОНИЗМ — (neoevolutionism) теоретическая школа, возникшая в середине 20 го столетия и пытавшаяся вновь оживить объяснение социального изменения в соответствии с эволюционными принципами (см. Дарвин; Эволюционная теория). Неоэволюционизм получил наиболее… …   Большой толковый социологический словарь

  • Sociocultural evolution — Cultural evolution redirects here. For gene culture coevolution, see Dual inheritance theory. Sociology …   Wikipedia

  • social change — ▪ sociology Introduction       in sociology, the alteration of mechanisms within the social structure, characterized by changes in cultural symbols, rules of behaviour, social organizations, or value systems.       Throughout the historical… …   Universalium

  • Multilineal evolution — is a 20th century social theory about the evolution of societies and cultures. It is composed of many competing theories by various sociologists and anthropologists. This theory has replaced the older 19th century set of theories of unilineal… …   Wikipedia

  • Talcott Parsons — Infobox Scientist name = Talcott Parsons caption = birth date = birth date|1902|12|13 birth place = Colorado Springs, Colorado death date = death date and age|1979|5|8|1902|12|13 death place = residence = United States citizenship = nationality …   Wikipedia

  • Marshall Sahlins — Born December 27, 1930 Chicago, Illinois, United States …   Wikipedia

  • Social theory — Social analysis redirects here. For the journal, see Social Analysis (journal). Sociology …   Wikipedia

  • List of people from Michigan — A list of notable people from the U.S. state of Michigan. Bolding indicates places in Michigan. People from Michigan are sometimes referred to as Michiganders, Michiganians, or more rarely as Michiganites. Actors, entertainers and… …   Wikipedia

  • Julian Steward — Infobox Person name = Julian Haynes Steward image size = 300px caption = Unidentified Native Man (Carrier Indian) (possibly Steward s informant, Chief Louis Billy Prince) and Julian Steward (1902 1972) Outside Wood Building, 1940 birth date =… …   Wikipedia