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Darwinian evolutionary theory and the social sciences

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This is an edited transcript of a symposium held by the Academy of Social Sciences and the ESRC and hosted by the University of Bath on 14 March 2007. The question addressed was 'whether the theory of natural selection has anything to offer present-day studies of culture and society'. Four leading scholars contributed from different disciplinary backgrounds. All focused on the Darwinian evolutionary paradigm of variation, replication and selection and agreed on its powerful contribution to understanding cultural and social entities and change. However, their contributions revealed the wide variety of concepts, frameworks and empirical studies which come under the general evolutionary heading. The seminar also illustrated the important contribution that such ideas can make to overcoming disciplinary boundaries in the social sciences

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