Human behavioral ecology (HBE) began as an attempt to explain human economic, reproductive, and social behavior using neodarwinian theory in concert with theory from ecology and economics, and ethnographic methods. HBE has addressed subsistence decision-making, cooperation, life history trade-offs, parental investment, mate choice, and marriage strategies among hunter-gatherers, herders, peasants, and wage earners in rural and urban settings throughout the world. Despite our rich insights into human behavior, HBE has very rarely been used as a (...) tool to help the people with whom we work. This article introduces a special issue of Human Nature which explores the application of HBE to significant world issues through the design and critique of public policy and international development projects. The articles by Tucker, Shenk, Leonetti et al., and Neil were presented at the 104th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in Washington, D.C., in December 2005, in the first organized session of the nascent Evolutionary Anthropology Section (EAS). We conclude this introduction by summarizing some theoretical challenges to applying HBE, and ways in which evolutionary anthropologists can contribute to solving tough world issues. (shrink)
Introducción: Se presenta un análisis cualitativo del acompañamiento psicosocial a jóvenes en condiciones de vulnerabilidad desde la ecología humana durante 12 meses entre 2010 a 2011; utilizando técnicas pedagógicas evaluativas participativas. Éstas, son una alternativa para crear espacios reflexivos con el propósito de potenciar la resiliencia en las relaciones comunicativas y formar en el respeto. Objetivo: Generar bienestar, prevenir la farmacodependencia y contribuir a la promoción de la salud. Material y Métodos: Se revisaron los antecedentes temáticos, fueron seleccionados 100 estudiantes (...) entre 11 y 19 años de dos instituciones educativas públicas en condiciones vulnerables;se desarrollaron cuatro talleres reflexivos y cuatro prácticas lúdicas y se realizaron tres grupos focales con estudiantes, profesores y padres de familia. Resultados y Discusión: El contexto social de la población intervenida, revela problemas de abuso sexual, violencia intrafamiliar y eventos violentos en el vecindario por grupos armados ilegales, entre otros, que constituyen factores de riesgo importantes para la farmacodependencia. Conclusión: Se infiere que lo psicosocial incide en la farmacodependencia, afectando la convivencia de la población estudiada por múltiples causas del orden psicoafectivo, sociocultural, económico y político que van desde el consumo cultural hasta la seguridad alimentaria. Introduction: A qualitative analysis of the psycho-social support to young people in situations of vulnerability from humanecology is presented for 12 months between 2010 to 2011; using participatory evaluative pedagogical techniques. These are an alternative to create reflective spaces with the purpose of enhancing resilience in communicative relationships and working in respect. Objective: to generate well-being, prevent drug abuse and contribute to the health promotion. Material aids and methods: the thematic background was reviewed, 100 students between 11 and 19 years of two public schools in vulnerable conditionswere selected; four reflective workshops and four playful practices were developed and three focus groups with students, teachers and parentswere conducted. Results and discussion: the social context of the manipulated population reveals sexual abuse problems, domestic violence and violent events in the neighborhood by illegal armed groups, among others, which constitutemajor risk factors for drug abuse. Conclusion: It can be inferred that the psychosocial factors impact on drug dependence, affecting the coexistence of the population studied by multiple causes of the psychological, socio-cultural, economic and political order, ranging from cultural consumption to food security. (shrink)
Environment is essentially in the category of culture and environmental research should be based on human value and culture. The study of the relationship between humans and their natural environment should also refer to human relations. Since the operational logic of social capital is the root of ecological crisis, the ultimate solution to this problem lies in human’s correct thinking, institutional, political and behavioral patterns in dealing with nature. Re-establishing humanecology therefore provides a cultural (...) basis for the harmony between human and nature and realistic basis for the psycho-physical harmony and spiritualization of humans. (shrink)
Bringing together some of the most eminent thinkers in the field, this book celebrates the seminal contribution of Ted Benton to such pressing themes as: realism, naturalism and the philosophy of the social sciences, the continuing relevance of Marxism, philosophical anthropology and human needs, and ecology, society and natural limits.
What sets Naess's deep ecology apart from most inquiries into environmental philosophy is that it does not seek a radical shift in fundamental values. Naess offered a utopian, life-affirming grand narrative, a new Weltanschauung that shifted the focus of inquiry to coupling values, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to behavior. The core of Naess's approach is that sustainability hinges on developing more thoroughly reasoned and consistent views, policies, and actions, which are tied back to wide-identifying ultimate norms and a rich, (...) well-informed understanding of the state of the planet. But humans can have multiple ultimate norms and these norms sometimes conflict; our neurobiology may not be well-structured for accommodating consequences that are spatially and temporally separated and uncertain; we are governed by bounded rationality; much of human learning results from the passive modeling of unsustainable activities; and our cultures can be maladaptive, creating hurdles and perverse incentives/disincentives that likely demand more than consistent reasoning from wide-identifying ultimate premises. After keenly demonstrating how problem characterization and formulation shape both solution strategies and outcomes, Naess may conceptualize the process of change too narrowly. In the end, deep ecology helps us to shine a brighter searchlight on the gap between our attitudes and our generally unsustainable actions and policies. In doing so it expands the frontier of the unknown, opening more questions. This is its allure, frustration, and promise. (shrink)
The transfer of food among group members is a ubiquitous feature of small-scale forager and forager-agricultural populations. The uniqueness of pervasive sharing among humans, especially among unrelated individuals, has led researchers to evaluate numerous hypotheses about the adaptive functions and patterns of sharing in different ecologies. This article attempts to organize available cross-cultural evidence pertaining to several contentious evolutionary models: kin selection, reciprocal altruism, tolerated scrounging, and costly signaling. Debates about the relevance of these models focus primarily on the extent (...) to which individuals exert control over the distribution of foods they acquire, and the extent to which donors receive food or other fitness-enhancing benefits in return for shares given away. Each model can explain some of the variance in sharing patterns within groups, and so generalizations that ignore or deny the importance of any one model may be misleading. Careful multivariate analyses and cross-cultural comparisons of food transfer patterns are therefore necessary tools for assessing aspects of the sexual division of labor, human life history evolution, and the evolution of the family. This article also introduces a framework for better understanding variation in sharing behavior across small-scale traditional societies. I discuss the importance of resource ecology and the degree of coordination in acquisition activities as a key feature that influences sharing behavior. Key Words: behavioral ecology; cooperation; costly signaling; food sharing; foragers; reciprocal altruism. (shrink)
I attempt to complement my earlier critiques of human sociobiology, by offering an account of how evolutionary ideas might legitimately be employed in the study of human social behavior. The main emphasis of the paper is the need to integrate studies of proximate mechanisms and their ontogenesis with functional/evolutionary research. Human psychological complexity makes it impossible to focus simply on specific types of human behavior and ask for their functional significance. For any of the kinds of (...) behavior patterns that have occupied human sociobiologists, the underlying proximate mechanisms are very likely to be linked to a broad spectrum of types of behavior, and we cannot expect that natural selection will have acted directly on any individual element from this spectrum. I illustrate this general point with a specific example, considering the traditional sociobiological account of human incest-avoidance and outlining an alternative approach to the phenomena. The example is intended to show the possibility of a more rigorous and sophisticated successor to human sociobiology, which I call "human behavioral ecology". (shrink)
Our civilization is changing and so is our science. Human beings in endeavors from education to economics need a framework for understanding which integrates the maelstrom of insights into a useable form. That, in essence, is what the study of Dynamic Evolution provides. Dynamic Evolution (also called Cosmic or General Evolution) is a synthesis of insights, ancient and cutting edge, which radically revamps our understanding of how organizations arise and how change takes place as a result of intertwined forces (...) in a co?evolving whole. What has become clear in recent years is that the two key elements in this evolutionary march are energy flow and interdependent dynamics. New understandings of how these two key features work have mushroomed in the last 30 years. Popularized under such names as chaos, complexity, self?organization theory, Gaia and the new biology, these new insights provide an increasingly clear new understanding of the world and an increasingly coherent path through the confusion of our times. This article provides a brief overview of how rules of energy?driven organization can change our picture of what we must do to build a resilient, sustainable civilization. (shrink)
Nowadays the real threat has appeared: "thinking man" will disappear from the planet, and his place will be taken by "information consuming man." The rapidly evolving spiritually dependent consumer will turn into a completely controlled human being. A value orientation that we did not create will entirely determine all our choices and dominate our attention. Both the values and the products of mass culture are being spread among consumers as extensively as possible by mechanisms of culture manufacture, in accord (...) with the technological opportunities of the modern culture industry, connected in many ways with the mass media, and are being consumed on the same level as other products offered in the modern market. It becomes clear that the ecology of consciousness, along with the ecology of human life, is the most urgent and the most current problem of contemporary society.The main tasks of a global ecology of consciousness are to understand the conditional character of the external system of values and the radical reorientation that is appropriate to it; to create a culture of life as the realization of the original boundlessly disclosing free spirit, manifested in the encounter of man and world; and to return from captivity to imaginary things to life as dialogue with the world. First of all it is necessary to advance to a deep ecological understanding of the world—an understanding of nature, completed in the "noosphere," as the unique and perfect home of human consciousness. When a human being recognizes "the internal eco-crisis" and discovers the chaos and senselessness behind the imaginary clarity, he inevitably realizes the necessity for radical changes. His activity is initiated by the deepest satisfaction accompanying the expansion of the bounds of perception. We are speaking about the integral human being, personifying in himself both nature and civilization at the point of their intersection, removing the contradictions between the physical and the spiritual, between naturalness and technological progress. (shrink)
Governments and non-govermental organizations (NGOs) that plan projects to conserve the environment and alleviate poverty often attempt to modify rural livelihoods by halting activities they judge to be destructive or inefficient and encouraging alternatives. Project planners typically do so without understanding how rural people themselves judge the value of their activities. When the alternatives planners recommend do not replace the value of banned activities, alternatives are unlikely to be adopted, and local people will refuse to participate. Human behavioral (...) class='Hi'>ecology and behavioral economics may provide useful tools for generating and evaluating hypotheses for how people value economic activities in their portfolios and potential alternatives. This is demonstrated with a case example from southwestern Madagascar, where plans to create a Mikea Forest National Park began with the elimination of slash-and-burn maize agriculture and the encouragement to plant labor-intensive manioc instead. Future park plans could restrict access to wild tuber patches, hunting small game, and fishing. The value of these activities is considered using observational data informed by optimal foraging theory, and experimental data describing people’s time preference and covariation perception. Analyses suggest that manioc is not a suitable replacement for maize for many Mikea because the two crops differ in terms of labor requirements, delay-to-reward, and covariation with rainfall. Park planners should promote wild tuber foraging and stewardship of tuber patches and the anthropogenic landscapes in which they are found. To conserve small game, planners must provide alternative sources of protein and cash. Little effort should be spent protecting lemurs, as they are rarely eaten and never sold. (shrink)
The concept of sustainable development is here revised in the light of a brief historical analysis, followed by a semantic analysis of the expressions development and sustainability. The authors criticize the common use of this concept in a loose way or in wide generalizations, to conclude, based on the principles of humanecology, that it is only possible to make it operational in limited spans of time and in limited spatial units.
Although Darwinian concepts have largely been banned from the social sciences of the last century, they have recently seen a revival in several disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, or economics. Most of the current proponents of evolutionary theorizing in the social sciences avoid references to the older literature on social evolution. On that background, this article presents a contribution to Darwinist thinking in early American sociology that has mainly been overlooked in the literature. As the leading figure of the (...) class='Hi'>HumanEcology Approach, which was established during the 1920s and 1930s, Robert Ezra Park drew heavily on evolutionary concepts to explain human evolution. A systematic presentation of these concepts in the light of the modern discussion on sociocultural evolution is given, followed by a conclusion about what can be learned from Park today. (shrink)
Presents a provocatively anthropocentric analysis of the way forward for green politics and environmental movements, exposing the deficiencies and contradictions of green approaches to post-modern politics and deep ecology. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
This essay examines and compares two paradigms of technology, nature, and social life, and their associated environmental impacts. I explore moving from technocratic paradigms to the emerging ecological paradigms of planetary person ecosophies. The dominant technocratic philosophy's guiding policy and technological power is mechanistic. It conceptualizes nature as a resource to be controlled for human ends. Its global practices are drastically altering the integrity of the planet's ecosystems. In contrast, the organic, planetary person approaches respect the intrinsic values of (...) all beings. Deep ecology movement principles give priority to community and ecosystem integrity. These deep ecology movement principles guide the design and applications of technology by principles following from ecological understanding. I describe this shift in philosophical paradigms and how it affects our perceptions, values, and actions. (shrink)
Between the body and the breathing earth : on the phenomenology of depth perception -- To praise again : phenomenology and the project of ecopsychology -- Postphenomenology and the lifeworld : interconnections, relationships, and environmental wholes : a phenomenological ecology of natural and built worlds.
A Jewish introduction to the human sciences -- Responsive thinking: cultural studies and Jewish historiography -- Seasons and lifetimes -- Toward an anthropology of the twentieth century -- Tropes of home -- A moment of danger, a taste of death -- Extinction and difference.
How far do cultures affect the future of the planet? Can the debate on the environment and global warming be influenced by the cultures of East and West understanding each other better? In this consistently provocative dialogue, two of the most influential thinkers of recent times propose that only a 'human revolution' - a shift in the hearts and minds of individuals - can stimulate a revolution in humanity's relationship with the planet. Such a planetary revolution first requires a (...) transformation of moral and political leadership, and an orientation towards the future rather than a preoccupation with the short-termist policies of the present. Responding to humanity's ills from the Buddhist perspective, and with all the accumulated wisdom of the eastern philosophical tradition, Daisaku Ikeda calls for politicians to take as their mainstays a respect for the dignity of life and an eloquence to inspire in people a sense of community and courage. Correspondingly, renowned western economist and scholar of education Ricardo Diez-Hochleitner stresses the importance of proper educational planning and development in addressing the challenges posed by poverty, inequality and climate change. While acknowledging the scale of the task that lies ahead, both men offer an inspiring and hopeful vision for the future. (shrink)
- How can anthropology improve our understanding of the interrelationship between nature and culture? - What can anthropology contribute to practical debates which depend on particular definitions of nature, such as that concerning sustainable development? Humankind has evolved over several million years by living in and utilizing 'nature' and by assimilating it into 'culture'. Indeed, the technological and cultural advancement of the species has been widely acknowledged to rest upon human domination and control of nature. Yet, by the 1960s, (...) the idea of culture in confrontation with nature was being challenged by science, philosophy and the environmental movement. Anthropology is increasingly concerned with such issues as they become more urgent for humankind as a whole. This important book reviews the current state of the concepts of 'nature' we use, both as scientific devices and ideological constructs, and is organised around three themes: - nature as a cultural construction; - the cultural management of the environment; and - relations between plants, animals and humans. (shrink)
Ecology, Community and Lifestyle is a revised and expanded translation of Naess' book Okologi, Samfunn og Livsstil, which sets out the author's thinking on the relevance of philosophy to the problems of environmental degradation and the rethinking of the relationship between mankind and nature. The text has been thoroughly updated by Naess and revised and translated by David Rothenberg.
Here we attempt to define a specifically humanecology within which male reproductive strategies are formulated. By treating the domestic and public spheres of social life as "ecological niches" that men have been forced to compete within or to avoid as best they can, we generate a typology of four "social modes" of human male behavior. We then attempt to explain the broad distribution of social modes within and between human groups based on the relative intensity (...) of scramble and contest competition. (shrink)
A radical approach to the environment which argues that by harnessing the power of science for human benefit, we can have a healthier planet As a prizewinning theoretical physicist and an outspoken advocate for scientific literacy, James Trefil has long been the public's guide to a better understanding of the world. In this provocative book, Trefil looks squarely at our environmental future and finds-contrary to popular wisdom-reason to celebrate. For too long, Trefil argues, humans have treated nature as something (...) separate from themselves-pristine wilderness to be saved or material resources to be exploited. What we need instead is a scientific approach to the environment that embraces the human transformation of nature for our benefit. In Human Nature , Trefil exposes the benefits of genetically modified species, uncovers vital facts about droughts and global warming, and points to examples of environmental management where catering to humans reaps greater rewards than sheltering other species. By taking advantage of explosive advances in the sciences, we can fruitfully manage the planet, if we rise to the challenge. Like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Paul Ehrlich's Population Bomb, Human Nature promises to fundamentally alter the way we perceive our relationship to the Earth-but with optimism rather than alarm. (shrink)
The force of things -- The agency of assemblages -- Edible matter -- A life of metal -- Neither vitalism nor mechanism -- Stem cells and the culture of life -- Political ecologies -- Vitality and self-interest.
Are the robots coming? Is the singularity near? Will we be dominated by technology? The usual response to ethical issues raised by pervasive and ubiquitous technologies assumes a philosophical anthropology centered on existential autonomy and agency, a dualistic ontology separating humans from technology and the natural from the artificial, and a post-monotheistic dualist and creational spirituality. This paper explores an alternative, less modern vision of the “technological” future based on different assumptions: a “deep relational” view of human being and (...) self, an ecological view of human–technology relations, and “ubiquitous” spirituality. Moving beyond an ethics of fear and control, it is argued that technology is part of a lived and active whole that is at the same time human, technological, social, and spiritual. Influenced by ecological and Eastern thinking, it is concluded that an ethics of technology understood as a relational ethics of life asks us to adapt and grow within this multi-faced ecology, which is currently—but not necessarily—pervaded by hyper-individualist modernity and its ego-boosting technologies of the self. This growth is only possible by relating to, and learning from, other cultures and from their specific way of pervading and being pervaded. (shrink)
The existence of superstition and religious beliefs in most, if not all, human societies is puzzling for behavioral ecology. These phenomena bring about various fitness costs ranging from burial objects to celibacy, and these costs are not outweighed by any obvious benefits. In an attempt to resolve this problem, we present a verbal model describing how humans and other organisms learn from the observation of coincidence (associative learning). As in statistical analysis, learning organisms need rules to distinguish between (...) real patterns and randomness. These rules, which we argue are equivalent to setting the level of α for rejection of the null hypothesis in statistics, are governed by risk management as well as by comparison to previous experiences. Risk management means that the cost of a possible type I error (superstition) has to be traded off against the cost of a possible type II error (ignorance). This trade-off implies that the occurrence of superstitious beliefs is an inevitable consequence of an organism’s ability to learn from observation of coincidence. Comparison with previous experiences (as in Bayesian statistics) improves the chances of making the right decision. While this Bayesian approach is found in most learning organisms, humans have evolved a unique ability to judge from experiences whether a candidate subject has the power to mechanistically cause the observed effect. Such “strong” causal thinking evolved because it allowed humans to understand and manipulate their environment. Strong causal thinking, however, involves the generation of hypotheses about underlying mechanisms (i.e., beliefs). Assuming that natural selection has favored individuals that learn quicker and more successfully than others owing to (1) active search to detect patterns and (2) the desire to explain these patterns mechanistically, we suggest that superstition has evolved as a by-product of the first, and that belief has evolved as a by-product of the second. (shrink)
Children’s play is widely believed by educators and social scientists to have a training function that contributes to psychosocial development as well as the acquisition of skills related to adult competency in task performance. In this paper we examine these assumptions from the perspective of life-history theory using behavioral observation and household economic data collected among children in a community in the Okavango Delta of Botswana where people engage in mixed subsistence regimes of dry farming, foraging, and herding.We hypothesize that (...) if play contributes to adult competency then time allocation to play will decrease as children approach adult levels of competence. This hypothesis generates the following predictions: (1) time allocated to play activities that develop specific productive skills should decline in relation to the proportion of adult competency achieved; (2) children will spend more time in forms of play that are related to skill development in tasks specific to the subsistence ecology in which that child participates or expects to participate; and (3) children will spend more time in forms of play that are related to skill development in tasks clearly related to the gender-specific productive role in the subsistence ecology in which that child participates or expects to participate.We contrast these expectations with the alternative hypothesis that if play is not preparatory for adult competence then time allocated to each play activity should diminish at the same rate. This latter hypothesis generates the following two predictions: (1) time allocation to play should be unaffected by subsistence regime and (2) patterns of time allocation to play should track patterns of growth and energy balance.Results from multiple regression analysis support earlier research in this community showing that trade-offs between immediate productivity and future returns were a primary determinant of children’s activity patterns. Children whose labor was in greater demand spent significantly less time playing. In addition, controlling for age and gender, children spent significantly more time in play activities related to tasks specific to their household subsistence economy. These results are consistent with the assertion that play is an important factor in the development of adult competency and highlight the important contributions of an evolutionary ecological perspective in understanding children’s developmental trajectories. (shrink)
Agriculture has been recently viewed as the primary destructive force of biodiversity, but the places that produce our food and fiber may also hold the key to saving the richness of life on earth. This argument is based on three fundamental positions. First, it is argued that to value and thereby preserve and restore biodiversity we must begin by employing anthropocentric ethics. While changing our understanding of intrinsic values (i.e., the unconditional values of biodiversity as a state and process in-and-of-itself, (...) without reference to human interests) is often advocated as the means by which our behavior will reflect the importance of biodiversity, a change in how we perceive and conditionally value biodiversity is proposed as a more effective and compelling approach. Second, I suggest that anthropocentric values can be linked to a sense of “Place,” with agriculture playing a vital role in this context. Agriculture forms a powerful basis for personal, experiential development of a profound meaning and connection to a setting or landscape. The agricultural setting has tremendous potential for arational (emotional, aesthetic, and spiritual) values that ultimately compel our actions. The constancy of relationship and mutuality of dependency between humans and agricultural lands, particularly extensive agroecosystems, fosters an intensity of association that transcends our recent affinity to wildlands. Third, a mature understanding of places and their biodiversity must include those organisms that account for many of the ecological processes and the majority of the species richness -- the insects. The importance of these insects in structuring the landscape and the effects of habitat destruction on these organisms both suggest a vital, intimate, and reciprocal link between insects and Places. Finally, it is argued that the most important avenue for future efforts to protect and restore biodiversity on the part of agricultural and other scientists is educational -- the presentation of our research to the public in terms that provoke emotional, aesthetic, and spiritual meaning which lies at the core of human values and actions. (shrink)
Manifesto: reoccupying the collective imagination -- Green cultural citizenship -- Negotiating green cultural citizenship -- Media as ideological ecosystems -- Evolving media ecosystems -- Gardening media ecosystems -- Towards mediating an earth democracy.
Niklas Luhmann is widely recognized as one of the most original thinkers in the social sciences today. This major new work further develops the theories of the author by offering a challenging analysis of the relationship between society and the environment. Luhmann extends the concept of "ecology" to refer to any analysis that looks at connections between social systems and the surrounding environment. He traces the development of the notion of "environment" from the medieval idea--which encompasses both human (...) and natural systems--to our modern definition, which separates social systems from the external environment. In Luhmann's thought, human beings form part of the environment, while social systems consist only of communications. Utilizing this distinctive theoretical perspective, Luhmann presents a comprehensive catalog of society's reactions to environmental problems. He investigates the spheres of the economy, law, science, politics, religion, and education to show how these areas relate to environmental issues. Ecological Communication is an important work that critically examines claims central to our society--claims to modernity and rationality. It will be of great importance to scholars and students in sociology, political science, philosophy, anthropology, and law. (shrink)