Contemporary articles citing Lenski G (1970) Human Soc Macrolevel
human, societies, technology, ecological-evolutionary, gerhard, subsistence, issues, had, materialist, cultural
- York, Richard & Philip Mancus. 2013. "The Invisible Animal: Anthrozoology and Macrosociology." Sociological Theory. 31:1 75-91.
- Animals have had a profound influence on human societies, playing a major role in the course of human history. However, their presence and theoretical significance has been overlooked in sociological theory, while being the central concern of the growing field of anthrozoology (the study of the interaction between humans and other animals). To illustrate how a focus on other animal species can improve our understanding of sociocultural evolution, we assess the influential work of Gerhard Lenski and Patrick Nolan and their materialist approach to macrosociology. Animals are largely invisible in Lenski and Nolan's Ecological-Evolutionary Theory, yet they underlie the key subsistence technologies identified by Lenski and Nolan as crucial for explaining uneven development. By considering the history of domestication, the role animals played in the development of agricultural technology, and the translocation of Eurasian livestock during the colonial era, we show how sociocultural evolution is situated within a larger nexus of socioecological and historical conditions that reciprocally determine technological development and cultural heritage. Our analysis illustrates that anthrozoology, far from being an esoteric field of study, has the potential to contribute to a refined understanding of a wide array of social phenomena.
- York, Richard & Philip Mancus. 2009. "Critical Human Ecology: Historical Materialism and Natural Laws." Sociological Theory. 27:2 122-149.
- We lay the foundations for a critical human ecology (CHE) that combines the strengths of the biophysical human ecology tradition in environmental sociology with those of historical materialism. We show the strengths of a critically informed human ecology by addressing four key meta-theoretical issues: materialist versus idealist approaches in the social sciences, dialectical versus reductionist analyses, the respective importance of historical and ahistorical causal explanations, and the difference between structural and functional interpretations of phenomena. CHE breaks with the idealism of Western Marxism, which dominated academic neo-Marxist thought in the latter half of the 20th century, and advocates instead the pursuit of a materialist, scientific methodology in dialectical perspective for the explanation of social and ecological change. In turn, this project also involves a critique of the ahistorical and functionalist tendencies of traditional human ecology, while sharing human ecology's basic starting point: the ecological embeddedness of human societies.
- Huber, J. 2004. "Lenski Effects on Sex Stratification Theory." Sociological Theory. 22:2 258-268.
- This paper tries to explain why the Lenski (1970) theory of stratification based on ecology and subsistence technology had relatively little effect on theories of sex inequality. In cultural anthropology, generalization was held to be impossible. Feminist explanation in sociology was social-psychological. Moreover, by the 1980s, the bias against biology in feminist theory came to include all of science. Exceptions to these trends include the work of Blumberg, Chafetz, Collins, Coltrane, and Turner. Whether feminist sociologists will follow their lead remains to be seen.
- 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.