Saturday, April 9, 2016

Evolutionary Synthesis and Integrated Anthropology

The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, Ethnography, and the Human Niche: Toward an Integrated Anthropology

Agustin Fuentes
Agustin Fuentes is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, Indiana, 46556, U.S.A. []).
Seeing bodies and evolutionary histories as quantifiable features that can be measured separately from the human cultural experience is an erroneous approach. Seeing cultural perceptions and the human experience as disentangled from biological form and function and evolutionary history is equally misguided. An integrative anthropology moves past dichotomous perspectives and seeks to entangle the “inside” and “outside,” methodologically and theoretically, to move beyond isolationist trends in understanding the human. In this paper I illustrate the underlying rationale for some anthropological lack of engagement with neo-Darwinian approaches and review contemporary evolutionary theory discussing how, in combination with a dynamic approach to human culture, it can facilitate integration in anthropology. Finally, I offer an overview of the human niche concept and propose a heuristic framework as a set of shared assumptions about human systems to help frame a sincerely anthropological and emphatically evolutionary approach to the human experience.

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