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New Perspectives on Organism-Environment Interactions in Anthropology

  • Emily A. Schultz
Chapter
Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 4)

Abstract

Anthropologists contend that the organism-environment connections responsible for human evolution are indirect—mediated by culture. This chapter reviews influential twentieth-century anthropological interpretations of the cultural mediation of human adaptations to environments, arguing that ethnography and other qualitative forms of analysis reveal important phenomena overlooked by quantitative analysts committed to methodological individualism. It highlights work by post-positivist anthropologists, who describe relations among human and non-human organisms, cultural forms, and features of environments as “natural-cultural” networks, an approach reminiscent of developmental systems theory and niche construction. Evolutionary theorists have much to gain by incorporating these sophisticated, contemporary post-positivist anthropological understandings of culture into their models of human-environment connections.

Keywords

Niche Construction Theoretical Biology Political Ecology Actor Network Theory Niche Construction Theorist 
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.

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Gillian Barker, Eric Desjardins, and Trevor Pearce for inviting me to present an earlier version of this paper at the 2010 ISHPSSB Off-Year Workshop, Integrating Complexity: Environment and History, at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, October 7–10, 2010. I benefited greatly from their feedback and that of other conference participants. Robert Lavenda and Daniel Lavenda provided helpful observations as I revised the paper for publication. Final responsibility for the views expressed, however, rests solely with me.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologySt. Cloud State UniversitySt. CloudUSA

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