Midterm Exam Notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Sandra Bamford

MID TERM REVIEW CONCEPTS evolutionary biology that is concerned with social Social evolution is a subdiscipline of behaviors that have fitness consequences for individuals other than the actor Social behaviors can be categorized according to the fitness consequences they entail for the actor and recipient y Mutually beneficiala behavior that increases the direct fitness of both the actor and the recipienty Selfisha behavior that increases the direct fitness of the actor but the recipient suffers a lossy Altruistica behavior that increases the direct fitness of the recipient but the actor suffers a lossy Spitefula behavior that decreases the direct fitness of both the actor and the recipientcitation neededThis classification was proposed byHe proposes that natural W D Hamiltonkin selection favors mutually beneficial or selfish behaviors Hamiltons insight was to show how selection could explain altruism and spite anthropology cultural phenomena that outlive the set of conditions under which survivals in they developed The term was first employed by the British anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor in his Primitive Culture 1871 Tylor believed that seemingly irrational customs and beliefs such as peasant superstitions were vestiges of earlier rational practices He distinguished between continuing customs that maintained their function or meaning and those that had both lost their utility and were poorly integrated with the rest of culture The latter he termed survivals Tylor later expanded the notion of survivals to include material culture Among other examples he invoked mens formal wear specifically the styling of the tailcoat as an example in which vestiges of a past itemin this case the greatcoat with its waistlength front and split tail for ease in riding horseshad survived into the present The Scottish evolutionist John Fergusson McLennan used the term to denote symbolic forms of earlier customs For instance mock battles in nuptial rituals were said to be survivals of an earlier stage when marriage putatively involved the capture or kidnapping of women Other writers emphasized concrete functionality rather than symbolic meaning they held that an item or behaviour could change in function and thereby remain integrated with the rest of Bronisaw culture The strongest adherent to this view PolishBritish anthropologist Malinowski entirely rejected the suggestion that any part of culture could have no function or could be disconnected from the rest of the cultural system The term survivals continues to be used in discussions of cultural change cultural stability and the reconstruction of historical sequences McLennan1865 Primitive Marriage McLennan saw contemporary primitive peoples as representing various stages of arrested social development he believed that historical reconstruction consists in noting trait survivals and discovering functional explanations for them Thus when customs appeared to be nonfunctional he attempted to deduce the earlier context in which they had arisen and in which they had been functional When for example the leviratewherein a man inherits his brothers widowwas found to coexist with polyandry in any society one could conclude that polyandry was a necessary precondition for the levirate McLennan developed his entire scheme of social evolution on this principle McLennan is chiefly remembered for his invention of the terms exogamy and endogamy and for his analysis of totemism These concepts emerged from his general scheme of evolution which ran as follows Originally tribes were promiscuous children being affiliated with the social group rather than with their biological parents Harsh conditions of existence led to female infanticide Because of the resulting sex imbalance and alsobecause these early tribes were always warring capture came to be the prevailing method of obtaining wives The corollary of bride capture was exogamy which obliged men to seek marriage partners outside of their own social group Such marriages were of the archaic polyandrous type where no regulated relationship existed among the male partners of one woman Since paternity could not be biologically determined kinship was traced through females only According to McLennans scheme the capture of foreign women and matrilineal kinship furthered the recognition of subtribal divisions Thesenew social units continued to be exogamous while for the larger tribal group endogamy became possible It should be noted that McLennan never clarified the identity of the social units involved Morgan in rebuttal of McLennan insisted that the subtribal units were clans Nevertheless McLennans conception of this early stage of polyandry did take cognizance of what later ethnologists have called local exogamy and the rules of residence attending upon marriage As the archaic form of polyandry was transformed into fraternal polyandry the levirate became common practice Kinship could then be established through males and the way was paved for monogamy and polygyny The thread of functional reasoning runs through all of this deductive reconstruction but the ethnographic information on which McLennan based his evolutionaryscheme was inadequate and resulted therefore in incorrect deductions Moreover the assumption of universal stages of social evolution based on no crteria other than kinship rendered his arguments circular It is fair to say that McLennan was not unique in his faults which stemmed not so much from his own inadequacies as from the currently accepted mode of evolutionary analysis His critics were guilty of the same errors McLennans ideas concerning totemism were also part of his parallelist emphasis He saw the totemic symbols attached to kinship groups as survivals of an earlier localized worship of fetishes and the worship of animals plants and eventually of anthropomorphic gods was seen in terms of survivals derived from totemism Exogamy caused totemic identifications to be dispersed because they were transmitted through the female line According to McLennan totems became godsoften associated with a particular localitywhen patrilineal descent groups were formed His idea of totemism as the most primitive form of religion had wide influence 1865 he published Primitive Marriage in which arguing from the prevalence of the symbolical form of capture in the marriage ceremonies of primitive races he developed an intelligible kinship according to natural laws picture of the growth of the marriage relation and of systems of
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