Yanomamö: The Sociobiology People

Authored by: Napoleon A. Chagnon , Shane J. Macfarlan

Handbook on Evolution and Society

Print publication date:  January  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781612058146
eBook ISBN: 9781315634203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317258339


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The subject of cultural anthropology underwent a number of significant changes beginning in the early 1960s. Some of these resulted from breakthroughs in the science of biology, with the development of inclusive fitness theory by William Hamilton (1964a, 1964b), the focus on individuals as the unit of selection by George Williams (1966), the development of an overall theory of life histories by Richard Alexander (1979), and others. This was coupled with the general admission by anthropologists and other social scientists that the behavior of Homo sapiens made more sense when they were viewed as just another species when scientists from different fields collaborated in explanations of their behavior. Apart from the remarkable changes in science during this period, it was a period of radical political change in the United States and Western Europe. These political changes, especially the role that the United States and its allies played in the Vietnam War, had marked negative effects on the social sciences such as anthropology, sociology, and political science in the United States.

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