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Evolutionism in the Social Sciences

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Evolutionism in the Social Sciences The definition of Social Anthropology has evolved over the course of the last 200 years, even before so when Social Anthropology wasn't even a science but rather individuals such as travellers and missionaries took notes on the various people they encountered on their travels. The earliest definition of Social Anthropology, was more inclined to study the physical attributes of other cultures, as man the animal. It later, in the mid to late nineteenth centaury, progressed to "the study of primitive cultures". Now today it is more generally known as "the study of other cultures", although today the term "Social Anthropology" still means the study of primitive cultures to many. Evolutionism can be put into two categories: Biological and Social. Social Evolutionism was thought of early and the general public could easily accept the idea of cultures evolving through technology and advancements in ideas. As long as the Western world was considered to be the most advanced and evolved. ...read more.


It was Spencer who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest", the application of the same principles to social conditions. He used Darwin's ideas of biochange and applied them to culture, he further used Darwin's work to reimburse his own ideas and theories Social Darwism was quickly used to advance Western thoughts of status, imperialism and racism, a law that the strongest rase or society would soon replace the weaker. In this case, the Western culture through imperialism. "Thus would civilisation progress." This, although, was neither Darwin's nor Spencer's intention The goal of Anthropology, in the early nineteenth centaury, was to study primitive man and in those days fossils were in very limited numbers, but still put forth the idea of superior and inferior humans. It was only later that the independent discipline of Sociology and Anthropology were put into one group. Social Anthropology was intended to be a natural science, to study human society. ...read more.


Morgan studied the North American Indians and published the book Ancient Society in 1877 and developed upon the original idea of classification of the evolution of man earlier developed by the French philosopher Montesquieu: Savagery, Barbarism and Civilized. He added layers to these in the form of Lower, Middle and Upper. He used no typical groups in defining these but was clear on what each meant such as lower savagery included the beginning of man and the discovery of fire, as well as language and the concept of property. Civilisation is a total contrast and includes a phonetic alphabet, monogamy and intensive agricultural production. Civilisation is not only modern Europe, but also the ancient Egyptians and Romans. His proofs are not recognisable today as he sometimes forced data to fit with his theory and ignored other findings, such as those of Capt. Cook. Regardless, his work laid way for many of today's Social Anthropologists. P.S. If I wrote more than necessary, accept my apologies. Several sources claim to have heard that we were to write 2 pages, using pages 20-32. ...read more.

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