Social Darwinism: Linking Evolutionary Thought to Social Theory

Front Cover
Open University Press, Jan 1, 2000 - Social Science - 135 pages
0 Reviews
Social Darwinism is the extension of Darwin's evolutionary ideas to human society. Over the past two centuries it has been argued that the 'fittest' in terms of physical and mental prowess are most likely to survive and reproduce. It has also been suggested that the increasingly complex structure of human society mirrors the increasingly complexity of nature. This highly original text examines whether these extensions from nature to society are justified, and considers how dangerous they may be in implying the systematic neglect -- or even destruction -- of the least 'fit'. It asks what, in any case, is 'fitness' as applied to human beings? It also questions whether human nature in constrained by modern society and whether people evolved as essentially competitive or collaborative. Written in a clear and accessible style with text boxes to explain key ideas and little or no biological knowledge required of the reader, this book suggests a new way in which evolutionary thought and social theory can be combined. Dickens argues that the difficulties and prejudices associated with the field can be avoided by combining historical materialism with aspects of contemporary biology to create a 'Social Darwinism' for the twenty-first century.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Problems of Direction Purpose
7
Evolutionary Thought in Contemporary Sociology
31
NatureCulture Dualism and Beyond
48
Copyright

5 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2000)

Peter Dickens is Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge and Fellow and Director of Studies in Social and Political Sciences, Fitzwilliam College. He is also visiting Professor of Sociology, University of Essex.

Bibliographic information