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Mixed MessagesCultural and Genetic Inheritance in the Constitution of Human Society$
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Robert A. Paul

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226240725

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226241050.001.0001

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Sources of Human Sociality

Sources of Human Sociality

(p.255) Ten Sources of Human Sociality
Mixed Messages

Robert A. Paul

University of Chicago Press

While this book has followed Richerson and Boyd in positing an evolved tribal social instinct, it is argued that societies require further symbolic means to instillprosociality in the course of development. The muting of sexual reproduction and the creation of symbolic kinship through shared culture helps achieve this. The origin of prosociality in individuals is traced to attachments formed during the lengthy mother-infant bond, leading to affect hunger that persists through life. This is redirected to wider social groups in the course of development; illustrative cases offered are the Kaingang and the Ache. The prevalence of childbirth symbolism in initiation rituals, and the role of genital surgery is discussed. The symbolism of Nuer ox sacrifice is discussed and analyzed in some detail.

Keywords:   prosociality, affect hunger, attachment theory, initiation rituals, birth symbolism, Kaingang, Ache, Nuer

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