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Sociocultural
Sociocultural evolution, sociocultural evolutionism or social evolution are theories of sociobiology and cultural evolution that describe how societies and culture change over time. Whereas sociocultural development traces processes that tend to increase the complexity of a society or culture, sociocultural evolution also considers process that can lead to decreases in complexity ( degeneration) or that can produce variation or proliferation without any seemingly significant changes in complexity (cladogenesis). Sociocultural evolution is "the process by which structural reorganization is affected through time, eventually producing a form or structure which is qualitatively different from the ancestral form". Most of the 19th-century and some 20th-century approaches to socioculture aimed to provide models for the evolution of humankind as a whole, arguing that different societies have reached different stages of social development. The most comprehensive attempt to develop a g ...
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Anthropology
Anthropology is the scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, societies, and linguistics, in both the present and past, including past human species. Social anthropology studies patterns of behavior, while cultural anthropology studies cultural meaning, including norms and values. A portmanteau term sociocultural anthropology is commonly used today. Linguistic anthropology studies how language influences social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans. Archaeological anthropology, often termed as 'anthropology of the past', studies human activity through investigation of physical evidence. It is considered a branch of anthropology in North America and Asia, while in Europe archaeology is viewed as a discipline in its own right or grouped under other related disciplines, such as history and palaeontology. Etymology The abstract noun '' anthropology'' is first attested in reference ...
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Neoevolutionism
Neoevolutionism as a social theory attempts to explain the evolution of societies by drawing on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution while discarding some dogmas of the previous theories of social evolutionism. Neoevolutionism is concerned with long-term, directional, evolutionary social change and with the regular patterns of development that may be seen in unrelated, widely separated cultures. Sociological neoevolutionism emerged in the 1930s. It developed extensively in the period after the Second World War—and was incorporated into anthropology as well as into sociology in the 1960s. Neoevolutionary theories are based on empirical evidence from fields such as archaeology, paleontology, and historiography. Proponents say neoevolutionism is objective and simply descriptive, eliminating any references to a moral or cultural system of values. While the 19th-century cultural evolutionism attempted to explain how culture develops by describing general principles of its evolut ...
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Modernization Theory
Modernization theory is used to explain the process of modernization within societies. The "classical" theories of modernization of the 1950s and 1960s drew on sociological analyses of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and a partial reading of Max Weber, and were strongly influenced by the writings of Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons. Modernization theory was a dominant paradigm in the social sciences in the 1950s and 1960s, then went into a deep eclipse. It made a comeback after 1991, when Francis Fukuyama wrote about the end of the Cold War as confirmation on modernization theory and more generally of universal history. But the theory remains a controversial model. Modernization refers to a model of a progressive transition from a "pre-modern" or "traditional" to a "modern" society. Modernization theory suggests that traditional societies will develop as they adopt more modern practices. Proponents of modernization theory claim that modern states are wealthier and more powerful and ...
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Cultural Evolution
Cultural evolution is an evolutionary theory of social change. It follows from the definition of culture as "information capable of affecting individuals' behavior that they acquire from other members of their species through teaching, imitation and other forms of social transmission". Cultural evolution is the change of this information over time. Cultural evolution, historically also known as sociocultural evolution, was originally developed in the 19th century by anthropologists stemming from Charles Darwin's research on evolution. Today, cultural evolution has become the basis for a growing field of scientific research in the social sciences, including anthropology, economics, psychology and organizational studies. Previously, it was believed that social change resulted from biological adaptations, but anthropologists now commonly accept that social changes arise in consequence of a combination of social, evolutionary and biological influences. There have been a number of dif ...
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Social Progress
Progress is the movement towards a refined, improved, or otherwise desired state. In the context of progressivism, it refers to the proposition that advancements in technology, science, and social organization have resulted, and by extension will continue to result, in an improved human condition; the latter may happen as a result of direct human action, as in social enterprise or through activism, or as a natural part of sociocultural evolution. The concept of progress was introduced in the early-19th-century social theories, especially social evolution as described by Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer. It was present in the Enlightenment's philosophies of history. As a goal, social progress has been advocated by varying realms of political ideologies with different theories on how it is to be achieved. Measuring progress Specific indicators for measuring progress can range from economic data, technical innovations, change in the political or legal system, and questio ...
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Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons (December 13, 1902 – May 8, 1979) was an American sociologist of the classical tradition, best known for his social action theory and structural functionalism. Parsons is considered one of the most influential figures in sociology in the 20th century. After earning a PhD in economics, he served on the faculty at Harvard University from 1927 to 1929. In 1930, he was among the first professors in its new sociology department. Later, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Department of Social Relations at Harvard. Based on empirical data, Parsons' social action theory was the first broad, systematic, and generalizable theory of social systems developed in the United States and Europe. Some of Parsons' largest contributions to sociology in the English-speaking world were his translations of Max Weber's work and his analyses of works by Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, and Vilfredo Pareto. Their work heavily influenced Parsons' view and was the foundation for h ...
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Sociology
Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behavior, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order and social change. While some sociologists conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes and phenomenological method. Subject matter can range from micro-level analyses of society (i.e. of individual interaction and agency) to macro-level analyses (i.e. of social systems and social structure). Traditional focuses of sociology include social stratification, social class, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, sexuality, gender, and deviance. As all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and indi ...
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Cultural Anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans. It is in contrast to social anthropology, which perceives cultural variation as a subset of a posited anthropological constant. The portmanteau term sociocultural anthropology includes both cultural and social anthropology traditions. Anthropologists have pointed out that through culture people can adapt to their environment in non-genetic ways, so people living in different environments will often have different cultures. Much of anthropological theory has originated in an appreciation of and interest in the tension between the local (particular cultures) and the global (a universal human nature, or the web of connections between people in distinct places/circumstances). Cultural anthropology has a rich methodology, including participant observation (often called fieldwork because it requires the anthropologist spending an extended period of time at the research location) ...
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Sociobiology
Sociobiology is a field of biology that aims to examine and explain social behavior in terms of evolution. It draws from disciplines including psychology, ethology, anthropology, evolution, zoology, archaeology, and population genetics. Within the study of human societies, sociobiology is closely allied to evolutionary anthropology, human behavioral ecology, evolutionary psychology, and sociology. Sociobiology investigates social behaviors such as mating patterns, territorial fights, pack hunting, and the hive society of social insects. It argues that just as selection pressure led to animals evolving useful ways of interacting with the natural environment, so also it led to the genetic evolution of advantageous social behavior. While the term "sociobiology" originated at least as early as the 1940s, the concept did not gain major recognition until the publication of E. O. Wilson's book '' Sociobiology: The New Synthesis'' in 1975. The new field quickly became the subject of ...
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Social Change
Social change is the alteration of the social order of a society which may include changes in social institutions, social behaviours or social relations. Definition Social change may not refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic structure, for instance the transition from feudalism to capitalism, or hypothetical future transition to some form of post-capitalism. Social development refers to how people develop social and emotional skills across the lifespan, with particular attention to childhood and adolescence. Healthy social development allows us to form positive relationships with family, friends, teachers, and other people in our lives. Accordingly, it may also refer to social revolution, such as the Socialist revolution presented in Marxism, or to other social movements, such as women's suffrage or the civil r ...
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Auguste Comte
Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (; 19 January 1798 – 5 September 1857) was a French philosopher and writer who formulated the doctrine of positivism. He is often regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term. Comte's ideas were also fundamental to the development of sociology; indeed, he invented the term and treated that discipline as the crowning achievement of the sciences. Influenced by Henri de Saint-Simon, Comte's work attempted to remedy the social disorder caused by the French Revolution, which he believed indicated imminent transition to a new form of society. He sought to establish a new social doctrine based on science, which he labelled 'positivism'. He had a major impact on 19th-century thought, influencing the work of social thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and George Eliot. His concept of ''Sociologie'' and social evolutionism set the tone for early social theorists and anthropologists such as Harriet Martineau and He ...
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World-systems Theory
World-systems theory (also known as world-systems analysis or the world-systems perspective)Immanuel Wallerstein, (2004), "World-systems Analysis." In ''World System History'', ed. George Modelski, in ''Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems'' (EOLSS), Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO, Eolss Publishers, Oxford, UK is a multidisciplinary approach to world history and social change which emphasizes the world-system (and not nation states) as the primary (but not exclusive) unit of social analysis. "World-system" refers to the inter-regional and transnational division of labor, which divides the world into core countries, semi-periphery countries, and the periphery countries. Core countries focus on higher-skill, capital-intensive production, and the rest of the world focuses on low-skill, labor-intensive production and extraction of raw materials. This constantly reinforces the dominance of the core countries. Nonetheless, the system has dynamic characteristics, in part ...
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