Evolution and Culture

Marshall D. Sahlins and Elman R. Service, Editors
Foreword by Leslie A. White
A unified interpretation of the evolution of species, humanity, and society


This book overhauls our concept of man---his past and future. No tool in the arsenal of science can match the clarifying power of the concept of evolution when properly understood. The authors, with the help of this concept, provide a new and unified interpretation of the evolution of species, of man, and of human society. What is more, in the light of this knowledge they offer a striking reinterpretation of what the role of the United States may be in the conflict among the societies of East and West.

The evolution of life is closely paralleled by the evolution of man's culture. Scientists have too long ignored this lesson. To see man from the perspective of evolutionary theory is to see him and his culture as an organic whole---a living creation struggling for growth. This approach goes beyond the sterile cultural relativism that has troubled science; in its place the authors discover evolutionary laws that have not hitherto been formulated.

Look Inside


Introduction     1
Evolution Specific and General     12
Adaptation and Stability     45
The Law of Cultural Dominance     69
The Law of Evolutionary Potential     93
Note     123
Bibliography     125

Product Details

  • 5 x 8.
  • 152pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1960
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08776-1

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  • $25.95 U.S.



  • anthropology, evolution, culture, cultural studies, social science, popular culture, evolution of species, adaptation, cultural dominance, radiation, cultural anthropology, evolutionism