The Development of Sociobiology in Relation to Animal Behavior Studies, 1946–1975

Journal of the History of Biology 51 (3):419-444 (2018)
Abstract
This paper aims at bridging a gap between the history of American animal behavior studies and the history of sociobiology. In the post-war period, ecology, comparative psychology and ethology were all investigating animal societies, using different approaches ranging from fieldwork to laboratory studies. We argue that this disunity in “practices of place” explains the attempts of dialogue between those three fields and early calls for unity through “sociobiology” by J. Paul Scott. In turn, tensions between the naturalist tradition and the rising reductionist approach in biology provide an original background for a history of Edward Wilson’s own version of sociobiology, much beyond the William Hamilton’s papers usually considered as its key antecedent. Naturalists were in a defensive position in the geography of the fields studying animal behavior, and in reaction were a driving force behind the various projects of synthesis called “sociobiology”.
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DOI 10.1007/s10739-017-9491-x
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Sociobiology: The New Synthesis.Edward O. Wilson - 2000 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):577-584.

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