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As part of the SFI series, this book presents the most up-to-date research in the study of human and primate societies, presenting recent advances in software and algorithms for modeling societies. It also addresses case studies that have applied agent-based modeling approaches in archaeology, cultural anthropology, primatology, and sociology. Many things set this book apart from any other on modeling in the social sciences, including the emphasis on small-scale societies and the attempts to maximize realism in the modeling efforts applied to social problems and questions. It is an ideal book for professionals in archaeology or cultural anthropology as well as a valuable tool for those studying primatology or computer science.
Agent-based modelling on a computer appears to have a special role to play in the development of social science. It offers a means of discovering general and applicable social theory, and grounding it in precise assumptions and derivations, whilst addressing those elements of individual cognition that are central to human society. However, there are important questions to be asked and difficulties to overcome in achieving this potential. What differentiates agent-based modelling from traditional computer modelling? Which model types should be used under which circumstances? If it is appropriate to use a complex model, how can it be validated? Is social simulation research to adopt a realist epistemology, or can it operate within a social constructionist framework? What are the sociological concepts of norms and norm processing that could either be used for planned implementation or for identifying equivalents of social norms among co-operative agents? Can sustainability be achieved more easily in a hierarchical agent society than in a society of isolated agents? What examples are there of hybrid forms of interaction between humans and artificial agents? These are some of the sociological questions that are addressed.
What separates modern humans from our primate cousins—are we a mere blink in the march of evolution, or does human culture represent the definitive evolutionary turn? Dwight Read explores the dilemma in this engaging, thought-provoking book, taking readers through an evolutionary odyssey from our primate beginnings through the development of culture and social organization. He assesses the two major trends in this field: one that sees us as a logical culmination of primate evolution, arguing that the rudiments of culture exist in primates and even magpies, and another that views the human transition as so radical that the primate model provides no foundation for understanding human dynamics. Expertly synthesizing a wide body of evidence from the anthropological and life sciences in accessible prose, Read’s book will interest a broad readership from experts to undergraduate students and the general public.
The book provides an up-to-date overview of the structure, organization and evolution of the pharaonic administration from its origins to the middle of the first millennium BCE. General descriptions are supplemented by specific analysis of key archives, practices and institutions.
The first edition of Frans de Waal's Chimpanzee Politics was acclaimed not only by primatologists for its scientific achievement but also by politicians, business leaders, and social psychologists for its remarkable insights into the most basic human needs and behaviors. Twenty-five years later, this book is considered a classic. Featuring a new preface that includes recent insights from the author, this anniversary edition is a detailed and thoroughly engrossing account of rivalries and coalitions—actions governed by intelligence rather than instinct. As we watch the chimpanzees of Arnhem behave in ways we recognize from Machiavelli (and from the nightly news), de Waal reminds us again that the roots of politics are older than humanity.
The authors assert that traditional sociological theories of human nature and society do not pay sufficient attention to the evolution of "big-brained hominoids," resulting in assumptions about humans' propensity for "groupness" that go against the record of primate evolution. When this record is analyzed in detail, and is supplemented by a review of the social structures of contemporary apes and the basic types of human societies (hunter-gathering, horticultural, agrarian, and industrial), commonplace criticisms about the de-humanizing effects of industrial society appear overdrawn, if not downright incorrect. The book concludes that the mistakes in contemporary social theory - as well as much of general social commentary - stem from a failure to analyze humans as "big-brained" apes with certain phylogenetic tendencies. This failure is usually coupled with a willingness to romanticize societies of the past, notably horticultural and agrarian systems

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