Neo-Evolutionism with special emphasis on Steward and White

Contents Background:1 Revivals:1 Julian Steward:3 Leslie White:4

Background:The "golden age" of social evolutionism had basically ended by the 1890s, and after that time a sharp reaction against evolutionary theories emerged. In anthropology this reaction was led by Franz Boas and his students and disciples and lasted into the 1940s and 1950s. The Boasian school objected to evolutionary theories on four basic counts: the use of an illegitimate methodological device, the Comparative Method; the development of rigid schemes of unilinear evolution in which all societies were assumed to progress in lockstep fashion through the same set of stages; inadequate recognition of the process of diffusion; and the illegitimate equation of evolution with progress (see Sanderson 1990). Nonetheless, by the 1930s the extreme historical particularism espoused by the Boasian school of anthropology began to be challenged, and an "evolutionary revival" was underway. Revivals:The first to lea…

Social Stratification

Stratification. 1
Functionalist perspectives:2
Talcott Parsons. 2
Kinsley Davis and Wilbert E. Moore. 2
Marxist perspective:2
Weberian perspective:3
Stratification in contemporary usage. 3

"Social stratification" is the most general term used to describe the hierarchical division of a society whereby its members are ranked according to their relative power, wealth, or prestige. Although it is often used as a generic term applicable to all ranked societies, including caste societies and those based on social class, "stratification" is more generally used when the theoretical focus is upon individual action, so that the overall patterns of social stratification are regarded as the outcome of individuals' efforts to achieve social mobility. Stratification theorists can thus compare societies according to the nature and extent of vertical mobility within them, and can arrange them along a scale from the supposed rigidities of caste to the hypothe…

Social Fact

Social Fact
In Durkheim’s sociology, a social fact is a social phenomenon that has a coercive effect upon the individual. Thus, although, social facts may originally be the product of human action, they have developed an autonomy from their creators (i.e. human beings) to confront humans as something externalto them. They have an objectivity close to that of natural objects and physical laws. For Durkheim (1895) the goal sociology is the study of social facts. Durkheimian sociology considers social fact both as an object and approach of studying society.
Therefore, social fact may be defined as any way of acting, whether fixed or not, capable of exerting over the individual an external constraint.
The concept of social fact has intricate connection with Auguste Comte’s ‘positive philosophy.’ For him there is a hierarchy of sciences (see the figure).

 He was confident enough to argue that scientific knowledge of society is possible. It could be accumulated and used to improve …

Community - a basic anthropological concept


Society - a basic anthropological concept

Society:1 Approaches:1 Society in essentialist approach:2 Society in Constructivist approach:2 Singular and Plural senses: In classical sense society refers to a group of people who share a common ‘culture’, occupy a particular territorial area and feel themselves to constitute a unified and distinct entity (Frisby and Sayer 1986). For Zinsberg “a society is a collection of individuals united by certain relation or modes of behaviour which marks them from others who do not enter into these relations or who differs from them in behaviour.” W Green has defined the society as “a largest group to which any individual belongs. A society is made up of a population, organisation, time, place and interest.” McIver defines society as “a system of usage and proedurs, of authority and mutual aid of many groupings and divisions, of control over human behaviour and of liberties. This ever changing and complex system is society. It is a web of social relationships. In its classical sense, Society entails a…