Contemporary articles citing Lenski G (1999) Human Soc Intro Macr
societies, lenski's, advanced, ecological-evolutionary, agrarian, gerhard, stratification, general, technology, human
- Turner, JH. 2004. "Toward a General Sociological Theory of the Economy." Sociological Theory. 22:2 229-246.
- In the spirit of Gerhard Lenski's macro-level analysis of stratification and societal evolution, a theory of the economy is presented. Like Lenski's work, this theory emphasizes population and power as they interact with production and distribution dynamics. Macro-level social organization in general, and economic processes in particular, are viewed as driven by the forces of population, power, production, and distribution. For each force, a theoretical proposition is presented. Forces are all implicated in each other; the resulting set of principles provides a view of how production and distribution, as the core of an economy, are embedded in population and power processes, and vice versa. The end result is a more general macro-level theory that captures the spirit and substance of Lenski's models of societal organization.
- Blumberg, RL. 2004. "Extending Lenski's Schema to Hold Up Both Halves of the Sky - a Theory-guided Way of Conceptualizing Agrarian Societies That Illuminates a Puzzle About Gender Stratification." Sociological Theory. 22:2 278-291.
- This paper suggests that Lenski's classification of agrarian societies into simple versus advanced, based on the use of iron in the latter, obscures important variations in the gender division of labor and the level of gender stratification. In particular, his categories lump the gender egalitarian irrigated rice societies of Southeast Asia with the great majority of agrarian societies, which are strongly patriarchal. Based on my general theory of gender stratification and experience coding and analyzing gender stratification in the ethnographic databases and fieldwork in 39 countries worldwide, I propose a three-category alternative. First, agrarian societies are divided according to the technological criterion of irrigation into dry (rain-fed) and wet (irrigated rice) categories. This distinguishes two gender divisions of labor: a male farming system in dry agrarian and an ``everybody works'' system in labor-intensive rice cultivation, in which women are important in production. Second, irrigated rice societies are divided into patri-oriented-male advantage and those neutral to positive for women, based on the nature of the kinship system. This distinguishes the gender egalitarian Southeast Asian wet rice societies from the highly gender stratified majority of irrigated rice societies. Furthermore, these distinctions in gender equality are predicted by my gender stratification theory.
- Nielsen, F. 2004. "The Ecological-evolutionary Typology of Human Societies and the Evolution of Social Inequality." Sociological Theory. 22:2 292-314.
- Gerhard Lenski's ecological-evolutionary typology of human societies, based on the level of technology of a society and the nature of its physical environment, is a powerful predictor of various dimensions of social inequality. Analysis of comparative data shows that while some dimensions of the stratification system (such as measures of social complexity) exhibit a monotonic trend of increasing inequality with level of technology from the hunting-and-gathering to the agrarian type, others (such as measures of freedom and sexual inequality among males) exhibit a pattern of ``agrarian reversal'' in which inequality increases from the hunting-and-gathering to the advanced horticultural type but then declines with the agrarian type. Theoretical and empirical implications of the agrarian reversal pattern for the study of social inequality are discussed.
- Nolan, PD. 2004. "Ecological-evolutionary Theory: a Reanalysis and Reassessment of Lenski's Theory for the 21st Century." Sociological Theory. 22:2 328-337.
- Gerhard Lenski's ecological-evolutionary theory of human societies, originally presented and tested in Power and Privilege (1966) and Human Societies (1970), makes a number of general and specific predictions about the impact of subsistence technology on the fundamental features of societies, as well as identifying constraints that the techno-economic heritage of currently industrializing societies continue to exercise on their development trajectories. This paper reviews the strategies adopted for presenting and for testing the theory, critically analyzes and extends some important results of its empirical tests, and explores issues confronting the future development and presentation of the theory.
- Nolan, PD. 2003. "Toward an Ecological-evolutionary Theory of the Incidence of Warfare in Preindustrial Societies." Sociological Theory. 21:1 18-30.
- Prompted by the lack of attention by sociologists and the challenge of materialist explanations of warfare in ``precivilized'' societies posed by Keeley (1996), this paper tests and finds support for two materialist hypotheses concerning the likelihood of warfare in preindustrial societies: specifically, that, as argued by ecological-evolutionary theory, dominant mode of subsistence is systematically related to rates of warfare; and that, within some levels of technological development, higher levels of ``population pressure'' are associated with a greater likelihood of warfare. Using warfare measures developed by Ember and Ember (1995), measures of subsistence technology originally developed by Lenski (1966, 1970), and the standard sample of societies developed by Murdock and White (1969), this study finds evidence that warfare is more likely in advanced horticultural and agrarian societies than it is in hunting-and-gathering and simple horticultural societies, and that it is also more likely in hunting-and-gathering and agrarian societies that have above-average population densities. These findings offer substantial support for ecological-evolutionary theory and qualified but intriguing support for ``population pressure'' as explanations of cross-cultural variation in the likelihood of warfare.