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Human Evolution beyond Biology and Culture
Evolutionary Social, Environmental and Policy Sciences


  • Date Published: October 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108470971

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About the Authors
  • Both natural and cultural selection played an important role in shaping human evolution. Since cultural change can itself be regarded as evolutionary, a process of gene-culture coevolution is operative. The study of human evolution - in past, present and future - is therefore not restricted to biology. An inclusive comprehension of human evolution relies on integrating insights about cultural, economic and technological evolution with relevant elements of evolutionary biology. In addition, proximate causes and effects of cultures need to be added to the picture - issues which are at the forefront of social sciences like anthropology, economics, geography and innovation studies. This book highlights discussions on the many topics to which such generalised evolutionary thought has been applied: the arts, the brain, climate change, cooking, criminality, environmental problems, futurism, gender issues, group processes, humour, industrial dynamics, institutions, languages, medicine, music, psychology, public policy, religion, sex, sociality and sports.

    • Addresses the concerns of the sceptics and critics of evolutionary social-science approaches and clarifies that genetic and non-genetic evolution share many similarities - justifying the term evolution - while they also differ in important ways
    • Presents the material in an accessible, not overly technical way, using a 'box format' to address specific topics and allow detailed explanations
    • Offers concise accounts of generalised evolutionary thinking and evolutionary biology, including non-technical treatments of advanced topics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a timely book, helping us to move out of equilibrium-based approaches that served well in the twentieth century towards a view of the contemporary world as complex, dynamic, emergent and evolutionary. Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh invites the reader into an exciting adventure applying an evolutionary approach to social, environmental and policy sciences. In an impressive manner, the book collects theoretical and empirical insights from diverse fields on the role of evolutionary thinking in understanding and acting on all kinds of real-world complex systems and their dynamics. But the book is more than a comprehensive synthesis, it is visionary and talks about evolutionary policies and transitions towards sustainability, innovations to curb climate change, reconnecting to the biosphere, as well as possible evolutionary futures for the human population. Human Evolution Beyond Biology and Culture is exciting, inspiring and forward looking. Highly recommended!' Carl Folke, Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden

    'Van den Bergh's book is an outstanding, long-missing synthesis of current strands of evolutionary theorizing in the natural, social and cultural sciences. It fascinates the reader by its thought-provoking claim of a unity of the evolutionary approach across disciplinary boundaries and by the practical implications derived for better understanding environmental problems, climate change, economic development, technology evolution and many more present day topics.' Ulrich Witt, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Germany

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108470971
    • length: 564 pages
    • dimensions: 252 x 179 x 29 mm
    • weight: 1.28kg
    • contains: 33 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Prevue:
    1. Making the improbable probable
    2. The world according to evolution
    Part II. Evolutionary Biology:
    3. Pre-Darwinism, Darwinism and neo-Darwinism
    4. Advanced ideas in evolutionary biology and genetics
    Part III. Bridging Natural and Social Sciences:
    5. Evolution of social behaviour in animals and humans
    6. Group selection in biology and the social sciences
    Part IV. Evolutionary Social Sciences:
    7. Evolutionary theories of human culture
    8. Evolutionary economics
    9. Evolution of organisations and institutions
    10. Technological evolution
    Part V. Evolutionary Cultural History:
    11. Pre-history until the rise of agriculture
    12. Industrialisation and technological history
    Part VI. Evolutionary Environmental and Policy Sciences:
    13. Survival of the greenest
    14. Evolving solutions for climate change
    15. Evolutionary policy and politics
    16. Evolutionary futures.

  • Author

    Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
    Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh is ICREA Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2007-present), and full Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (1997-present). He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions and served on the Netherlands' Energy Council. He is cited more than 17,000 times in Google Scholar, and received the Royal/Shell Prize 2002, IEC's Sant Jordi Environmental Prize 2011 and an ERC Advanced Grant.

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