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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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Two Kinds of Sociality

Two Kinds of Sociality

Chapter:
(p.87) Four Two Kinds of Sociality
Source:
Mixed Messages
Author(s):

Robert A. Paul

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226241050.003.0004

Richerson and Boyd propose that humans evolved two different kinds of social instinct, one that obeys the Darwinian agenda of inclusive genetic reproductive fitness and favors close biological relatives, and another “tribal” instinct that enables wider social affiliation. Building on this insight, this chapter correlates the former with the genetic channel of information transmission and the latter with the cultural channel. While some theorists, exemplified by Sahlins and Lee Cronk, emphasize one or the other side of this dichotomy in explaining human socio-cultural life, this chapter argues that both coexist and must accommodate to each other. The site of sexual reproduction is isolated from the wider society formed by shared cultural information; the ethnographic example of the Culina Indians of Amazonia is described and analyzed to illustrate how this separation can be achieved in one very clear case.

Keywords:   human social instincts, inclusive fitness, tribal instincts, Marshall Sahlins, Lee Cronk, Culina

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